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Posted: July 26, 2017

It takes a village to raise a festival

Cranbrook, take a bow.

Our city, it’s citizens, organizations and businesses, for the fourth year in a row has excelled at hosting the largest and best community festival in the Kootenays – Sam Steele Days!

e-KNOW file photos

Attendance at 58 registered events and activities totalled approximately 23,423 and most of hoteliers were 80% full or sold out.

We celebrated Canada 150 through the arts showcasing 149 local performing artists and more than 500 emerging and seasoned artists who contributed to a giant community mosaic along with many more adding painted tiles at the central fairgrounds.

The Sam Steele Society sincerely thanks the Government of Canada, Canada 150 fund for supporting this Canada 150 Project as well as the Building Communities Through Arts and Heritage fund for supporting the festival’s efforts to highlight local arts and heritage. Visitors and residents of Cranbrook and the surrounding area have benefitted immensely from this year’s generous federal contribution, which has also boosted the value of the annual event.

It is without a doubt the local contribution that remains the driving force behind this festival. Both cash and in-kind support poured in directly or indirectly from more than 220 local businesses, clubs and organizations. It truly takes a village to raise a festival.

Some of the Bocce Pit beer garden volunteers. They worked hard!

New events like the skate board demonstration and the equipment rodeo were welcome additions to the wide variety of returning favourites and it was wonderful to see a more visible presence of the Ktunaxa Nation in the parade. There were eight types of sports events that received 2,227 participants at all athletic levels plus an additional 16 enthusiastic wiener dogs.

The Sam Steele Society Directors wish to extend an enormous ‘THANK YOU’ to the hundreds of festival sponsors and volunteers; to those who donated products or services in kind; to our Canada 150 project partners: the City of Cranbrook, Cranbrook Community Theatre, Cranbrook Arts, Fisher Peak Performing Artists Society and Genex Marketing; to those who volunteered their time to organize or run an event or (booth) activity; to those who performed and strutted their stuff in the parade; to those who demonstrated and competed and to all those who attended with their families and friends.

The festival has come a long, long way from its humble beginnings in 1965 while maintaining it’s objective to promote the city and provide opportunities for leadership and skills development through volunteer involvement. The volunteer organizing committee is a registered non-profit that has embraced direction from 30 presidents, starting with Gib Wood and currently with Christy Wheeldon. Cranbrook’s largest civic event is always seeking passionate people who wish to get involved and it remains one of the best ways for programs and businesses to directly engage with the public.

See you next year June 14-17, 2018!

Above archive photo: Cranbrook’s first ‘Sam Steele Committee.’ Left to right: Colin Anderson, Gib Wood, Cornel Sawchuk (CKEK), Hank Mayberry, Mervyn Fedorchuk , Ken Kjenstad, Bill Benson, Jim Jackson. The photo is out of the files of the Sam Steele Society photo vault most likely from the Townsman but not verified.

Sam Steele Society

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