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Blast from the past: Coal Miner Days goes retro

Coal Miner Days brought back the 1980s nostalgia with bright colours and retro music

Sparwood turned the clock back forty years at Coal Miner Days, June 1 to 9. 

The theme of the week was Rocking the Valley 80s Style, and events were filled with disco-era nostalgia, with people dressed in brightly coloured costumes and retro top 40 pop hits played on repeat.

A mullet competition ran throughout the week with prizes being awarded for best hair on Friday June 8, with both real and faux categories. Patrick Ganci's lengthy blonde locks won him a case of beer.

Ganci has rocked a mullet for the last five years, re-creating the hair he had in high school. He said he really enjoys 80s culture, particularly the music and the fashion, and he even drives a red '87 Camaro.

"I'm just doing me, having fun. I'm not the same person without it," he said.

Colourfully decorated parade floats wound their way around town on Saturday, June 8, adorned with sparkly tinsel and props referencing classic 80s entertainment like MTV, pac man, cassettes, roller skates and rubik's cubes. Iconic songs like Bruce Springsteen's Dancing the Dark and Rockwell's Somebody's Watching Me helped set the mood.

After the parade, families gathered outside the Recreation Centre to have lunch and enjoy a local artisan market, and games of soccer and baseball. Local music group The Banned, entertained the crowd with tracks from the Eagles and Metallica.

Sparwood Secondary School's graduating class of 1974 was celebrating their 50th reunion at the event. They made an appearance in the parade, enjoyed a barbecue at the Senior's Centre and celebrated at the cabaret on June 8. They wore matching t-shirts in maroon, the school's official colour.

Group organizer Wendy Rybachuk said there were 21 grads who showed up, with half coming from out of town, from Crowsnest Pass, Elkford, Lethbridge and Calgary.

Rybachuk said it was nice reconnecting with people she hadn't seen in decades, reminiscing about old parties.

"It's like we never left. We're back in '74 enjoying each other's company," she said.







About the Author: Gillian Francis

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