Okotoks celebrates local culture
By: Tammy Rollie
| Posted: Wednesday, Sep 25, 2013 10:18 am
Foothills residents will be up to their elbows in art as they immerse themselves into Okotoks’ cultural scene this weekend.
In addition to watching artists and musicians put their talent on display, those taking part in this weekend’s Alberta Culture Days have the opportunity to try their hand at playing an instrument, painting a canvas and a variety of other activities from Sept. 27 to 29.
The celebration begins with lessons in watercolour, acrylic and drawing by local artists at the Okotoks Art Gallery on Sept. 27 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
“We had some art exhibits the last couple of years and one of the comments that came in from some people was let’s do something hands-on,” said Town of Okotoks Cultural and Historical Team Leader Allan Boss. “Some of the people who are going to be teaching it are high level artists who work with beginners and kids. It will be a great opportunity to come and maybe do something that you’ve never done before.”
Those with an appreciation for acting can check out a theatrical reading of George Orwell’s “Animal Farm” by the Dewdney Players Group Theatre from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the Rotary Performing Art Centre.
“Lots of times that’s really freeing for the actors because you don’t have to remember your lines,” Boss said of theatre readings. “There is a lot of freedom to work with emotion.”
The majority of activities take place on Sept. 28 starting with an art program at the Okotoks Art Gallery from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
A tour will be given of the exhibit “Immuto” in the small gallery featuring genetically modified plants painted in watercolour by Jennifer Wanner. Participants can then create their own genetically modified paintings, Boss said.
History enthusiasts can head to the Okotoks Museum and Archives from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. to learn about the history of toys including the first toy advertised on television. Youth can make a homemade toy to take home.
This weekend is also a chance to celebrate Okotoks’ rural roots with the second annual Okotoks Harvest Festival at Ethel Tucker Park from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. featuring antique farm equipment, historical displays, harvest exhibit, a farmers’ market, heritage games and live music.
Town of Okotoks Events Coordinator Mark Doherty said the event is a great fit with Alberta Culture Days.
“Culture is basically our history and where we come from,” he said.
“In many western provinces or farming communities the harvest was a huge part of that. This is just a celebration of the harvest and a historical look at how we did things.”
A movie and pie tasting will follow at the Rotary Performing Arts Centre.
Submissions for the pie-baking contest must be brought to the centre by 4 p.m. where the public will be invited to sample and vote on their favourite.
Those interested in registering in the pie baking contest can contact Christina Walker at firstname.lastname@example.org or 403-938-3204.
The film “Chicken Run” begins at 4:30 p.m. with crafts in the basement during intermission.
“We wanted to stick to something that had that harvesty, farmy feel and ‘Chicken Run’ makes a lot of sense,” said Boss, adding Charlotte’s Webb was last year’s film.
Saturday’s celebrations end with an Okotoks talent festival with contestants judged in age groups including 12 and under, 13 to 19 and 20 and over from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. by local celebrities.
The weekend will come to a close on Sept. 29 with a Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra string quartet performance and musical petting zoo from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., said Boss.
“We haven’t ever had a string quartet,” he said. “This is just going to be fabulous.”
The petting zoo allows the public to get a close look at the instruments, touch them and even play them.
Throughout the weekend, the public can check out Jose Luis Torres’ exhibit “Que nos rodea-Around Us” and Wanner’s “Immuto” at the art gallery.
The Okotoks Museum and Archives will have its “Our Sheep River” exhibit on display as well. It’s new exhibit “Fabulous Fashions” runs in conjunction with the Archives Society of Alberta’s Archive Week.
Museum specialist Kathy Coutts said the exhibit will highlight fabulous fashions as well as those that weren’t as popular. On display will be a 1907 two-piece women’s outfit, a flower girl dress from the 1950s, a pearl jacket from England and a hockey uniform from the 1920s.
Historical information and photographs of fashions from the turn of the century through the decades that followed will accompany the exhibits, said Coutts.
“They will enjoy looking at how fashions have changed over the years,” she said. “What I find interesting in early fashion is when people went out in public they dressed nicely, women wore long skirts, men were often in suits and white shirts. They always seemed to dress to impress.”
The “Fabulous Fashions” display will be on until Oct. 30.
All events will be free to the public thanks to funding from Alberta Culture. For more information about Alberta Culture Days in Okotoks go to www.okotoksculture.ca.