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Back to Basics at the Cheyenne Summer Fest

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The Cheyenne Summer Festival 2019 parade. David Robin

Photo Caption:

Photo Credit: David Robin


By Sara Beth Dacombe

On July 15–16, Ste. Agathe will welcome people back to the Cheyenne Summer Festival. Like most other events, the festival suffered back-to-back cancellations for the past two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but organizers are excited to once again offer family fun and local entertainment.

When bringing back the well-loved event, the organizing team knew the community would want to see some of their favourite activities.

“This year our program will largely consist of activities that we are known for: our Cheyenne Parade, our déjeuner aux crêpes, our baseball tournament, family and children activities, the Saturday night social, and so on,” says Eric Gagnon, chair of the Cheyenne Summer Festival organizing committee.

But Gagnon says they have updated the festival to bring it into a new era and says residents should check out some of the new additions to the festival line-up, especially the Cheyenne Feud.

“We have decided to retire our annual Pioneer Games as the main event on the Friday night,” he says. “Instead we will be inviting families to enter teams in our new event, inspired by the trivia show Family Feud. Ours is the Cheyenne Feud! We encourage folks to follow our social media pages on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for more updates on the Cheyenne Feud and all of the other exciting events we will be offering this year.”

Ste. Agathe hasn’t been able to host a full-fledged Cheyenne Summer Fest since the thirtieth anniversary edition of the festival back in 2019, and Gagnon says there are many new faces among the organizers. Along with many new committee members comes a lot of new ideas, but ultimately the team decided their goal was to keep things simple.

“With this new team of dedicated community volunteers, our focus was to go back to basics and stick to the core of what makes the Cheyenne Summer Fest so special,” says Gagnon.

When the committee started thinking about the 2022 Cheyenne Summer Fest in January, organizers weren’t sure what the public health measures would be like. They wanted to make sure they would be able to safely run an in-person event.

“As the public health measures surrounding gathering sizes began to ease up,” he says, “we, too, began to feel more assured that we would be able to meet this obligation towards our attendees.”

Gagnon says his team received help from the Building Communities Through Arts and Heritage program, the Community Festivals and Events program, Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries, as well as the RM of Ritchot.

“It was because of this assistance that we are able to return safely to an in-person format for this year’s edition of the Cheyenne Summer Festival,” says Gagnon.

With music, fireworks, amateur sports tournaments, a parade, a pancake breakfast, and the new Cheyenne Feud game all in the works, there is sure to be something for everyone at this year’s festival.

“For us, this festival is about providing an opportunity for both the people of Ste. Agathe as well as our friends and families from neighbouring communities to come together, enjoy each other’s company, and form new friendships with their fellow neighbours—something that we’ve largely taken for granted in the past, and something that the pandemic has taught us to appreciate and treasure,” says Gagnon. “After all, at the end of the day it isn’t the fireworks show, the baseball tournament, or any of our other program highlights that make the Cheyenne Summer Fest what it is: it’s the people.”

And they just need a few more volunteers to help make the event a success.

“We are currently seeking volunteers to assist with admission at the gate, as well as to assist in supervising the family and children activities,” says Gagnon.

For more information

Those interested in volunteering for the Cheyenne Summer Festival may contact Jonelle Donnelly, volunteer coordinator, at 204-612-4111 (text or call) or email at jonelle.donnelly@gmail.com.

For the full event line-up and festival information, please visit www.cheyennefest.weebly.com.

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