The Town of Ponoka has made the decision to forgo their traditional Canada Day celebrations due to ongoing COVID-19 considerations, but is partnering with the Ponoka Stampede Association (PSA) to host a joint fireworks display on July 1.
It will be the second year in a row the town and the PSA hosted the fireworks, after the Stampede and Canada Day celebrations were cancelled in 2020.
“With July 1 being the first day of provincial health restrictions being removed, the town felt it was best to proceed slowly and with some caution, especially given that there are still citizens booking vaccination appointments and waiting for second shots,” said town communications manager Sandra Smith.
“As well, children under 12 are not yet able to get vaccinated. That is why the town chose to limit its Canada Day events to fireworks only again this year.
“With respect to the discovery of unmarked graves at residential school sites, these are heart-breaking events. The Town of Ponoka encourages citizens to take time for reflection on Canada Day to reflect on these tragic discoveries and our country’s painful legacy as we work toward reconciliation.”
The province recently announced that most of the COVID-19 restrictions will lift in Alberta on July 1.
“This year’s fireworks show will be even bigger and better than last year as it celebrates both Canada Day and the launch of Stage 3 in Alberta’s Open for Summer Plan,” said Andrew Jones, town manager of Parks, Recreation and Facilities in a press release.
“We plan to put on a spectacular fireworks show to celebrate Canada Day and thank citizens for all their efforts and commitment in following provincial health orders over the past year and helping to reach vaccination targets so we can reopen,” said Jones.
Jones went on to say the fireworks are the town’s and the PSA’s way of thanking the citizens of Ponoka by “providing them with an opportunity to celebrate Canada Day with a bang.”
The fireworks will be staged at the Stampede grounds.
Parking and viewing will also be available at the Stampede grounds and at the Ponoka Arena Complex. Citizens are asked to remain in their vehicles while viewing the fireworks from the Stampede grounds and the arena.
The Stampede grounds will be open to vehicles at 9:30 p.m. on July 1. The fireworks will begin at 10:45 p.m.
Hamilton’s IGA is also celebrating the end of restrictions and Canada Day on July 1 with their 38th annual Canada Day barbecue.
Smokies, burgers and ice cream treats will be on sale and drinks will be provided for free.
The barbecue will be held in the IGA parking lot from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.