Some Canada Day activities will go ahead in Ponoka, despite COVID-19 and all the public health restrictions it involves.
The Ponoka arena complex is opening up for public use on July 1, just in time for the Farmers Market to have a Canada Day grand opening. The market will be set up in the curling rink from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
There will also be a pancake breakfast at the Ponoka Legion from 8 to 11 a.m. The cost for adults will be $10, and children are $5.
A plate will include pancakes, sausages, scrambled eggs, and hash browns, with one drink included: water, juice, or coffee.
Physical distancing measures will be in effect, with a maximum of six people allowed per table. The Legion asks that breakfast goers wait at their tables to be served as per Alberta health guidelines. Counter service is not permitted.
Hand sanitizing stations will be available to customers.
Unfortunately, for the first time in 39 years, Hamilton’s IGA will not be hosting a public Canada Day barbecue. Owner Jim Hamilton says with the amount of people who usually come to the breakfast, it just isn’t practical to bring every person their plate at their table, as it would take too much time to serve everyone.
“God willing and COVID being gone,” the barbecue will return in 2021, said Hamilton.
The ‘bright spot’ of the day, will be the fireworks, of course.
The Town of Ponoka is partnering with the Ponoka Stampede Association to host a joint fireworks show, which will start at 11 p.m. at the Stampede Grounds.
“We plan to put on a spectacular fireworks display to thank the citizens of Ponoka for all their efforts and commitment over the past few months … (to) prevent the spread of COVID-19,”said Mayor Rick Bonnett.
“We saw this as an ideal opportunity to get together with the town and say thank you to the citizens of Ponoka by providing them with an opportunity to safely celebrate Canada Day in style,” said PSA president Bruce Harbin.
The Stampede Grounds will not be open for public viewing due to COVID-19 restrictions, and residents are asked to physically distance from others who don’t live in their household and follow all public health orders (PHO) while watching the fireworks. PHO prohibit the gathering of more than 100 people outdoors.
The town is asking residents to watch the fireworks from home, if possible. As the Stampede Grounds is one of the highest points in town, and the fireworks used will have a higher propulsion charge, the PSA and the town are hoping they will be seen from almost anywhere in the community.