Parade set for milestone
The Clan MacNaughton Pipes and Drums of Edmonton play during the Big Valley Jamboree Kick’n Country Parade in Camrose in 2017. They will be back again this year for the Aug. 2 parade through downtown. File photo/Camrose Canadian
Jackie Rae Greening has seen just about everything over the last 19 years at the Kick'N Country Parade that signals the beginning of Big Valley Jamboree.
This includes one gentleman who entered the parade with a "For Sale Sign" on his car.
"I said 'you're just in the parade to sell your car?' And he nodded his head up and down," said the programming director for CFCW who has provided commentary for every parade. "In the old days, you wanted in the parade, it was 'sure come on in the parade.' Now there are so many entries, it's such a great parade and we've been through it all … you name it we've had every type of weather but the people still come out."
The parade celebrates 20 years on Aug. 2 but has come to represent more than just a kick off for a music festival. For organizers it is about bringing the entire community out, and if the weather is nice they can usually expect between 10,000 and 12,000 Camrosians to line Main Street.
"It's something that our community looks forward to so we do it for our community," said Camrose Chamber of Commerce president Sharon Anderson. "It probably gets the most participation of anything that the Chamber does that is outside of the downtown area, we get a lot of participation from other businesses."
For Greening the annual march through downtown has meant a meandering conversation with the community.
"If someone in the Camrose area has never attended the parade, what are you doing?" she said. "It's such a wonderful community event. It's great to see all the families and it’s a great way to spend a couple of hours to kick off Big Valley Jamboree."
She has had several partners in the booth over the years including Pete Hicks Danny Hooper, but this year she will be breaking in a new voice as she will be joined by New Country 96.1 FM morning host Ethan VanVaals. It will be the first time the two have done a broadcast before, but Greening is counting on a fast chemistry to form.
At the very least she is hoping VanVaals will be able to carry the show on his own, just in case there is a repeat of an incident from a few years ago.
"My favourite memory is probably being kidnapped while I was doing the parade by the Burro Stampede and they threw me on one of their mules and I had ride the mule the rest of the parade," said Greening.
One thing organizers are hoping to attract more of is marching bands. The timing of the parade falls during a period of the summer when most bands have already disbanded for the summer and for those that haven't travel is becoming even more expensive.
The do have one lined up with the bag pipers of Clan McNaught out of Edmonton.
"They make up their band out of a number of members from other Edmonton pipe bands, whether it's the police band or the fire department band or the big rock band, they glean members from other bands and bring as many as they can," said Anderson.
Organizers are still accepting entries and will do so right up until Aug. 1, as long as proof of liability insurance can be shown at the time of entry. Anderson says this is so they can be properly slotted into the parade and the information for the broadcast team's program can be updated accordingly.
"The sooner it is people get their entry forms in, the easier it is for us to do our logistical planning and get it all prepared," said Anderson.
There are usually around 100 entrants every year and they are asked to enter by UFA on 39 Street and drive up to 55 Avenue by 8:30 a.m. if they want to be part of the judging performed by the Camrose Rotary Club. If they just want to be in the parade, they must be onsite by 9:30 a.m.
People are asked to not let their kids run out into the road, candy will be handed out. It is also requested that dogs be left at home for the parade.