Canada Day long weekend full of activities

June 17, 2024, 10:18 am
Ryan Kiedrowski, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

The Blu Beach Band performing at Moosomin Regional Park.

With so many options of how to kick off this first long weekend of summer, we decided to feature a few places in and around Moosomin to help readers figure out which celebration best suits their needs.

Or perhaps create further confusion!

Whatever the case, and wherever you land this Canada Day long weekend, you won’t be bored.

First off, the Moosomin & District Regional Park is “Waving in Canada Day” with a full slate of events on June 29 and 30. For the Entertainment Committee hosting the event, it’s a shift from traditional festivities usually held over the August long weekend, and they’re seeing the move as filling a gap.

“Honestly, people were always looking for something to do on Canada Day, there's been nothing going on,” said Kyle Jeannot. “This year, we thought we'd give it a bit of a change and try it; try this time of year and see how it goes over with everybody.”

Some of the activities featured on Saturday include a kids’ sandcastle building competition, pontoon boat rides, and a kids three-on-three road hockey tournament. The Blu Beach Band will bring live entertainment in the evening, taking the stage at 8 p.m. As for Sunday’s line up, there’s a pair of scavenger hunts for kids and adults, a beach volleyball tournament, and even more pontoon boat rides. Odd Man Out will be the live band for the evening with Archangel Fireworks lighting up the skies at 10:30 pm.

Jeannot says they’re preparing for anywhere between 1,600 and 2,000 people to make their way through the gates of Moosomin Regional Park, and the event is a fundraiser that helps keep the recreation area beautiful.

There’s about 20 volunteers onboard to ensure the event’s success, and more are always welcome to join the fun.

“We're still looking for people—whether it's helping with the hockey, or the sandcastle, or the volleyball, we're still looking for people to come,” Jeannot said.

After last winter’s work on the Moosomin Dam, it seems as though the fish are even biting more frequently—another added bonus.

“Fishing has been great—I've heard a lot of good compliments about that,” said Jeannot, confirming from personal experience after a recent outing getting the lines wet. “I don't think we caught as many fish as fast as we have during the weekend!”

Slowpitch action in Kipling
If your adventures take you in a westerly direction, consider stopping in Kipling for the infamous Bobby Vargo Memorial Slowpitch Tournament running June 28-30. Now in it’s twelfth year, the tournament has become an institution in Kipling, growing to be the prime event of the summer circled on calendars near and far.

“It's turned into something that we really didn't know it would when we started,” said Glen Vargo, father of the late Bobby Vargo. “It was just our family and few of Bobby's friends that got together and we had a little bit of a slowpitch tournament, and it's just kind of grown since then to be a three-day deal.”

Has it ever grown.

Vargo confirmed 17 teams have signed up, which is generally about average for the event.

“We use four diamonds,” he explained. “We'll start off on Friday night with four games at 6 p.m., then we'll have a couple of later games, one under the lights. On Saturday, our last game starts at 4:30 p.m., and then on Saturday evening, we have our opening ceremonies and our home run derby.”

There’s a tremendous outpouring of support for the weekend tournament with sponsorhips coming from Kipling and beyond.

“The people that walk through the gate, everybody contributes,” explained a grateful Vargo. “Some of these folks whose parents live here, and they moved away after graduating high school, it's a reason for them to come home every year and get together with friends and family. That's what we had hoped it would turn into—a family reunion every year.”

Local groups also participate, such as the Lion’s Club operating the food booth; the daycare in charge of the cabaret; and the local firefighters serving up the pancake breakfast. Money raised from those services also stays with the individual groups.

“The tournament itself, we profit from entry fees, the beer gardens, the homerun derby and calcutta,” explained Vargo. We also have a silent auction as well on the Saturday and Sunday. In 11 years, we've raised about a little over $250,000 for the community.”

Funds raised from the tournament go back to maintain and improve the town’s ball diamonds.

“We've had tremendous sponsorship support from basically from Redvers to Rocanville to Regina,” Vargo said. “I mean, it's amazing—I can't tell you how much we do appreciate it all. It's very humbling.”

With a laugh, Vargo explained how many people have grown up with the tournament as a big part of their lives.

“When we started this tournament, those were the kids that were playing in the sand pile and watching their parents play,” he said. “Now, they're coming to play because they've grown up with this tournament.”

Small town charm in Elkhorn
Now should your travels take you east, meander over to the Manitoba Antique Automobile Museum in Elkhorn on July 1.

“We're really curious to see what this year will bring with it being on a Monday after at the end of the long weekend,” said Tawna McLean, LUD of Elkhorn manager.

Visitor numbers tend to fluctuate each year for Canada Day activities, but a decent amount do spend the day in the centre just across the border.

“It just depends on the event,” Mclean said. “The pancake breakfast, some years we have 200; some years we have 300. Then we have the parade through Main Street, and then we go up to the fairgrounds and we have a barbecue there. Two years ago, we had 400 people come through the gate, so it just depends.”

The pancake breakfast runs from 8 to 10:30 a.m. with the parade at noon. Over at the museum, visitors can enjoy a barbecue from 1-3 p.m. and take in kids activities, a threshing display, museum tours, and a sawmill display. Enjoy the melodies of the Old Bones Buffalo Band starting at 1:30 p.m., and be sure to take in the marshmallow roast in the evening.

“We have over 100 cars dating back to the early 1900s,” McLean said when asked about some of the features at the museum. “There's also a schoolhouse and a pioneer home and restored church. There's farming equipment, tractors.”

Oh, and Kliever Katering will be cooking up supper starting at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are available at the Elkhorn RM office with a deadline of June 26 for purchase. Capping off the festivities will be a spark show and fireworks at dusk.

Wherever you find yourself celebrating Canada’s 157th birthday, don’t forget to take some pictures of the fun—and plenty of sunscreen!

Free swimming and activities at Moosomin Pool
The town of Moosomin is planning a fun day for Canada Day at the Borderland Co-op Aquaplex. The day will consist of a barbecue, free swimming, kids games and more! Watch for more details in the coming week!