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Ste. Agathe to Host Late Summer Parade and Fireworks

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September may have arrived, but residents of Ste. Agathe still have one burst of summer fun to look forward to.

Like so many other local events, the town’s annual Cheyenne Summer Festival, originally scheduled to be held in July, had to be cancelled this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Although having been initially disappointed, the festival’s organizers are now hard at work putting together a late-summer consolation prize for the community.

The annual parade is back on, set to wind its way through town on Friday, September 18. The fun is expected to get underway at 6:30 p.m., starting at the north end of Ste. Agathe and working its way south along Pembina Trail.

“The parade was always an event that the Cheyenne team thought could be done while ensuring that social distancing measures are being respected,” says Eric Gagnon, one of the organizers.

There will be some changes from previous years. For one thing, the floats have been asked not to hand anything out to kids along the parade route, such as candy.

“We figured we can still have that incentive for the kids to come out, because a big part of the Cheyenne Summer Fest is youth involvement,” says Gagnon. “Hey, they’re kids! They want the candy and all that stuff, and we’ll still be able to provide that. But now, it’s all coming from one source: our team will be in charge of it. We know where the goody bags have been, and we can take proper measures to ensure that everything is being done safely. Members of the Cheyenne team will be handing out the goody bags during the parade, and we’re planning on masking up to do that.”

Being able to still offer a bit of family fun will come as a relief to many, since the annual Cheyenne Summer Festival has been an important part of the fabric of this community for a long time. In fact, the festival marked its 30-year anniversary just last summer.

The parade isn’t the only celebration being cooked up. In conjunction with the RM office, the organizers are also working on a way to bring back one of the most popular aspects of the festival—fireworks.

Although a few details still need to be worked out, the plan is to launch the fireworks at 8:00 p.m. Residents can check for updates on the Cheyenne Summer Fest and Ritchot social media pages for further details as September 18 gets closer.

Finally, Gagnon hints that there’s one more side project in the works.

“Another idea that came up was the idea of doing a town directory,” he says. “This is something that was last done ten years ago, and we’re going to do it again… some people would describe it as a yearbook for Ste. Agathe.”

The last directory, produced in 2010, included a listing of every family in town, along with their pictures. The book allowed local residents to flip through, spot familiar faces, and get to know their neighbours a little better.

A big part of the inspiration for doing a new town directory was the work of local photographer Jae Kusnick this past spring. While everyone was self-isolating in March and early April, Kusnick began a project wherein he went around town and held impromptu family photo shoots of people out on their front porches.

“The whole thing was really popular,” says Gagnon. “So when the Cheyenne team got together to brainstorm about what can be done in lieu of the festival, the idea of an updated directory came up pretty naturally. We were all inspired by the way Jae’s project was able to bring the town together despite us all being quarantined. And thankfully, Jae is now on our directory team!”

The town directory project will be tackled by a team of volunteers this fall, with the goal of having it available in the new year.

“We also want to do the update because our town has changed a lot in the past ten years. There are new families that live here, there’s people who are no longer living here.”

Ultimately, although the parade, fireworks, and town directory are only a small part of the larger celebration the organizers had planned to bring to Ste. Agathe this year, at least it provides a taste of community spirit at a time when it’s sorely needed.

“The Cheyenne Summer Fest is something that everyone in Ste. Agathe really looks forward to,” Gagnon says. “It’s the one time every year when we can all come together and celebrate our community, and what makes our town really special. And since we weren’t able to physically do that this year, we have decided to go for the next best thing.”

For more information

https://www.facebook.com/Cheye...

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