Spirit of Okotoks brings out 'friendly big town'

Okotoks: Parade, Children's Festival kick off summer season this weekend

By: Roxanne Blackwell

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Jun 18, 2014 05:33 pm

The annual Spirit of Okotoks will make its way through the Olde Towne Okotoks area this weekend, starting on Poplar Avenue at 11a.m.
The annual Spirit of Okotoks will make its way through the Olde Towne Okotoks area this weekend, starting on Poplar Avenue at 11a.m.
Wheel File Photo

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The streets will be filled with excited faces on Saturday, June 21 as thousands of Okotokians, young and old, will flock to the streets to see the Spirit of Okotoks parade.

This year the parade will begin on Poplar Avenue led by parade marshal Jim ‘Bearcat’ Murray. Okotoks community events coordinator Mark Doherty estimates there will be over 100 floats paraded through the streets beginning at 11a.m.

“It’s an annual event that everybody attends and as the town grows it’s a great way to way to entertain your kids and everybody loves a parade,” he said. “Our community seems to embrace it, every yea our crowds get bigger and bigger.”

Last year there were over 12,000 people in attendance, which was a contributing factor in this year’s theme, “Friendly Big Town” which Doherty said is a reflection of what Okotoks has become.

“There was a lot of focus around everybody's support in the flood last year. There was so many people involved in the efforts to help out with that,” he said. “I thought you know what, we're wide open to help people, we're friendly and we aren’t a small town anymore, so that encompassed the efforts of everybody helping out. Certainly whenever there’s a need, there’s no shortage of support and help.”

Following the parade, at noon the Spirit of Okotoks annual Children’s Festival will be celebrated in Ethel Tucker Park. Andrea Spiers with Okotoks visitor services said they’ve got a great day of activities and entertainment planned for kids.

“We have all the crafts every year and we have bouncy castles and obstacle courses and mazes, facepainting, and balloon creationists,” she said.

Musical guests include children’s performer Will Streets and acappella group Hoja. There will also be a zumba activity for everyone to get up and dance, and there will be a ten minute sneak preview at 1:30 p.m. of the Mandragora Circo – a world travelling circus act put on by an Argentinean couple, happening on Sunday at the RPAC at 3p.m. and 7p.m.

The Sunday performance is the first step in expanding the children’s festival, as Spiers said they’re hoping to make the festival a multi-day event in the future.

“We are planning for the festival to be longer, 2-3 days, so doing something on the Sunday is the start of the expansion,” she said. “I think people look forward to it every year. Its been going on for more than 20 years in the community and nobody wants to miss it, it's just such a fun day for the family and for everyone to come to after the parade.”

There is no admission fee for the parade or children’s festival, and tickets to Sunday’s Mandragora Circo performances are $10 for adults and $5 for children. Tickets can be purchased online at www.okotoks.ca/culture or at the door provided that the even doesn’t sell out beforehand.


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