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Centennial celebration exceeds expectations

Posted on July 9, 2014 by Maple Creek

Consul threw a party and 1,000 people came! That’s how many people organizers estimate gathered at Consul last weekend to celebrate the village’s 100th birthday. Not bad for a community with a population of 75.

According to Centennial Committee member Yvonne Leismeister, 870 people registered for the weekend events, but more people came that only attended part of the celebration, causing the population to swell by more than tenfold.

When the weekend ended organizers were tired, but thrilled with how well the event unfolded.

“It was good. Everything went over wonderfully. We’ve had so many comments on Facebook that people really enjoyed it,” said Cheryl Eremenko, a member of the Centennial Committee. “Initially we thought 500, or maybe up to 800 (would attend), but we surpassed that.”

Planning for the “party of a century” began in January 2013 with nine committee members who then recruited others to help in the organization of the various events.

A full line-up of activities took place during the three-day celebration offering something for everyone.

The rink was filled with people Friday evening for the musical entertainment. The band Elektrik Mayhem, which features Consul native Casey Jones along with Maple Creek musicians Sheldon Frank and Nelson Lacson, got things rolling. Fans whistled and applauded when local singer Palmer Wenzel took to the stage with his Elvis impersonation. Later he was joined by Bevin Funk, and the duo performed a variety of numbers from Neil Diamond to the Mamas and Papas. More musicians performed before the night was over.

Saturday morning began with a pancake breakfast served to 560 people. There was lots of visiting and renewing acquaintances as they waited in line.

“The breakfast was supposed to end at 10, but people just kept coming,” said Mayor Linda Brown.

After breakfast, the new sign welcoming visitors to Consul was officially unveiled. The sign was designed by Jamie Brost and constructed by her husband Darryl.

The centennial parade began at 11 a.m., and what a parade it was! Lisa Olson helped organize the parade and said there were about 60 entries in it. Consul’s oldest resident, 90-year-old Cliff Smith, was the parade marshal. Sgt. Jeremy Allard of the Maple Creek RCMP detachment led the parade on foot, with retired Sgt Gerald Bomersine, who was formerly posted at Consul, following on horseback. Other parade entries ranged from a unicyclist to horse-drawn wagons and vintage tractors. Dave Manley provided commentary as each entry made its way down Centre Street.Many people commented on how beautiful Consul looked. Former resident Marj Gilchrist spearheaded the beautification project, bringing in tandem loads of topsoil for landscaping in front of key locations such as the post office, village office and bakery. Sixteen large tires were placed around town and filled with soil and flowers, adding more colour to the community.

Brown could hardly find words enough to express how well the weekend went, and appreciation for the many people who pitched in to help bring it all together.

“It was wonderful! Better than we could have imagined. It was amazing, we’ve had nothing but positive comments,” she said. “You can’t have a celebration like this without people pitching in.”

Activities throughout Saturday included a show and shine car show sponsored by the Reno Rodders, and a slo-pitch tournament. Forty-three vehicles were entered in the car show, coming from Consul, Maple Creek, Swift Current, Medicine Hat and Prelate. “I was really pleased,” said Larry McMillan, a Reno Rodder member, noting that the roads in the area aren’t the best for driving vintage vehicles.

At the Seniors’ Hall there was a rolling slideshow of historical photos, as well as a display of all the Century Family Farm awards. A quilt display featuring 85 quilts was held at the school.

The highlight for youngsters was the Cornelius Copperpot Magic Show featuring former Consul resident David Wilson and the Fairy Godmama – Janice Shoults. The community hall was packed with a crowd of enthusiastic young and not-so-young fans eagerly anticipating the show. They were not disappointed as Cornelius recruited helpers from the audience to assist him with his magic tricks.

“Janice commented to me how much she enjoyed the whole weekend because Dave is from Consul,” said Mayor Brown.

A roast beef supper was served to approximately 1,000 guests on Saturday evening. After the tables were cleared, The Unforgettables dance band had the rink rocking with their wide variety of music.

A fireworks display fit for a big birthday bash lit up the night sky at 11 p.m. Set to music, the display was described as “amazing” by many people.

Sunday morning began with breakfast served to 530 people. An inter-denominational church service led by Pastor Dave Manley brought the weekend festivities to a close.

Everyone went home, perhaps tired, but with many memories from a once-in-a-lifetime party.

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