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The Elk Valley celebrates Canada Day

Creative socially distant Canada Day festivities were held in both Fernie and Sparwood this week
A Canada Day parade hit the streets on July 1 in Fernie for Canada Day. Soranne Floarea/ The Free Press

The District of Sparwood celebrated Canada Day in pandemic style this year by hosting a virtual Canada Day contest and celebration.

Prizes were awarded for best dressed, best decorated residential windows, best decorated residential yard, best decorated business windows, and best sidewalk chalk.

Each entrant was eligible to win a delicious cake from Crumbs Cakery and Cafe, with winners chosen by draw. On the day of the celebration, the district also encouraged residents to tune into Heritage Canada’s virtual Canada Day celebration.

Fernie also devised a number of creative ways to celebrate a socially distant Canada Day on July 1.

Dubbed Canada Day from Home, festivities began earlier in the week as homes decorated their lawns, patios, balconies and storefronts. Judged on June 29, contest winners received a $100 gift card to a local business of choice.

To maintain celebrations despite COVID-19 regulations, Canada Day kits were available for purchase and pickup, full of supplies to make Fog Lemonade from Fernie Distillers, gift cards to local restaurants, Fernie pint glasses, an assortment of tasty treats, stickers, and exciting Canada Day swag.

The Fernie Heritage Library also got in on festivities this year, offering free art kits for children to create their own Canada Day ribbon twirler sticks, followed by a how-to video posted to their Facebook page.

The Arts Station also gave out free chalk kits, encouraging children to create Canada Day chalk art on driveways. They also put together hat art kits, giving kids the chance to design their own Canada Day trucker hats to wear during the Canada Day from Home celebration.

Encouraging residents to come outside despite the rain, the City of Fernie organized a mobile celebration on July 1, where a parade of decorated vehicles mozied throughout town. Cheering from inside one of the vehicles was the infamous Griz, who waved a Canadian flag out the window as the parade spread Canada Day cheer for hours.

“Canada Day is a favourite annual event in Fernie and we felt that despite the challenges of COVID-19 it was still really important for our community to be able to come together and celebrate,” said Liz Rhodes, communications coordinator for the City of Fernie. “We are grateful to all our community partners who worked with us to put on a great event, and to the community for braving the rain to take part in the mobile celebration and for tuning into the evening concert to support our local talent. We can’t wait to see the legacy video that was created during the Canada Day festivities.”

Later in the evening, a virtual concert was held via Zoom and Facebook, where local artists Shred Kelly, The Runs, Red Girl, and Wild Honey played lively music for the residents of Fernie. Prizes for best dressed and best dance moves were given out to participants of the family friendly event.

Freshies also got in on the Canada Day fun by hosting a Great Fernie Bake Off, where a creative Fernie local won $50 to Freshies for making a cake covered with Canadian icons. Photos of the winning cake can be found on their Instagram @freshiesfernie.

The Fernie Museum also contributed to celebrations with a Fernie Scavenger Hunt. Encouraging the discovery of local heritage treasures, the museum provided a list of clues, later awarding prizes to contest winners.

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A Canada Day parade hit the streets on July 1. Soranne Floarea/ The Free Press
The Green family won Most Creative Home in the Canada Day from Home decorating contest. Photo Submitted
Odyssey won Most Canadian Business in the Canada Day from Home decorating contest. Photo Submitted
Old Nurses Residence Bed and Breakfast won Most Creative Business in the Canada Day from Home decorating contest. Photo Submitted
The Farkas family won Most Canadian Home in the Canada Day from Home decorating contest. Photo Submitted