‘Pretty special’: Elkford celebrates its belated 50th anniversary

From left: Sharon Keeler, Clive Keeler, Stu Henschel, Bill Dortman, Maxine Wilder, Barry Wilder, Marg Henschel. The group was present on July 1 for the beginning of Elkford’s 2022 Wildcat Days and belated 50th anniversary celebrations. (Joshua Fischlin/The Free Press)From left: Sharon Keeler, Clive Keeler, Stu Henschel, Bill Dortman, Maxine Wilder, Barry Wilder, Marg Henschel. The group was present on July 1 for the beginning of Elkford’s 2022 Wildcat Days and belated 50th anniversary celebrations. (Joshua Fischlin/The Free Press)
Bill Dortman has been in Elkford since 1971, and said he loves the town. (Joshua Fischlin/The Free Press)Bill Dortman has been in Elkford since 1971, and said he loves the town. (Joshua Fischlin/The Free Press)
Elkford’s mayor Dean McKerracher giving a short speech on some of the town’s history at the beginning of the 2022 Wildcat Days and belated 50th anniversary celebrations. (Joshua Fischlin/The Free Press)Elkford’s mayor Dean McKerracher giving a short speech on some of the town’s history at the beginning of the 2022 Wildcat Days and belated 50th anniversary celebrations. (Joshua Fischlin/The Free Press)
Members of the Karwandy family. From left: Brodie, Kenzie, and Locklyn Karwandy. (Joshua Fischlin/The Free Press)Members of the Karwandy family. From left: Brodie, Kenzie, and Locklyn Karwandy. (Joshua Fischlin/The Free Press)
A few residents who have been living in Elkford for 50 years at the Wildcat Days parade in 2022. (Joshua Fischlin/The Free Press)A few residents who have been living in Elkford for 50 years at the Wildcat Days parade in 2022. (Joshua Fischlin/The Free Press)
Elkford mayor Dean McKerracher and his wife were on a truck waving and throwing sweets to kids at the Wildcat Days parade in 2022. They have both been in Elkford for 50 years. (Joshua Fischlin/The Free Press)Elkford mayor Dean McKerracher and his wife were on a truck waving and throwing sweets to kids at the Wildcat Days parade in 2022. They have both been in Elkford for 50 years. (Joshua Fischlin/The Free Press)
A float at the Wildcat Days parade in Elkford in 2022 reads wishing the town a happy 50th anniversary. (Joshua Fischlin/The Free Press)A float at the Wildcat Days parade in Elkford in 2022 reads wishing the town a happy 50th anniversary. (Joshua Fischlin/The Free Press)

It was a weekend of festivities in Elkford, when the town celebrated its belated 50th anniversary in conjunction with Wildcat Days.

Technically, it was the town’s 51st birthday, but celebrations for the 50th were delayed due to the pandemic.

Festivities ran through the weekend from July 1 to 3.

On the first day of celebrations, Elkford mayor Dean McKerracher gave a short speech about the weekend’s events and the town’s history.

“This is a very exciting weekend. It’s not only our annual Wildcat Days, it’s also our Elkford’s 50th celebration,” McKerracher said.

The town turned 50 years old last July 16, he said.

“It’s been a few years since we were able to gather, and it’s so nice to be here,” he said.

“It’s nice to see our community together again.”

One of the features of the parade on Saturday (July 2) was a bus for residents who have been in Elkford for 50 years.

Bill Dortman is one of the residents who has been living in Elkford since the beginning.

He moved to town in 1971 to work in the mine pits, and Dortman said that he “loved it”, living in Elkford for so long.

“(There’s) good hiking, good fishing, anything you want to do, you come here.”

He recalled when he first moved to the town, which was more of a mining camp at the time, that he lived in a bunkhouse.

A few years later, at 27, he built his own log home, and has lived there ever since. He also raised a family in Elkford.

“It developed into a nice town, lots of different people here, nationalities… and everybody gets along,” he said.

Kenzie Karwandy has raised a family in Elkford, and praised the family-friendly nature of the town.

“I have to say, it’s the best place to raise a family. I couldn’t ask for a better place to be raising my girls,” she said.

“We have a sense of community unlike any other community I’ve ever been to.”

READ MORE: ‘Great party’: Elkford to hold belated 50th anniversary and Wildcat Days celebrations in July


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josh.fischlin@thefreepress.ca

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