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Blast from the past

Chuck Smith walked onto the open field and the world of Haying in the 30s, and a rush of memories came back to him – the smell of fresh cut hay and homemade bread and the noise of threshing machines and children laughing as they played in the barn.
With blue Alberta skies overhead, the annual Haying in the 30s event drew thousands of people to Mallaig July 31 and Aug. 1.
With blue Alberta skies overhead, the annual Haying in the 30s event drew thousands of people to Mallaig July 31 and Aug. 1.

Chuck Smith walked onto the open field and the world of Haying in the 30s, and a rush of memories came back to him – the smell of fresh cut hay and homemade bread and the noise of threshing machines and children laughing as they played in the barn.

“It brings you back to your childhood,” said the 62-year-old Smith, who hails from Red Deer. “It was just such a great experience all around.”

Although he didn't grow up on a farm, he can recall visiting his Baba and Guido's farm near Myrnam, as a child. That life came back to him when, on the suggestion of relatives, he came out to Mallaig's Haying in the 30's event for the first time ever this year. At the July 31 and Aug. 1 event that depicts farm life for the pioneers of the 1930s-era, Smith watched a blacksmith at work, wood-splitting, farm demonstrations, shingle-making and more.

“We had a very fantastic weekend,” said Edgar Corbiere, the founder of the event who continues to serve the organizing committee. “The Good Lord was good to us.” With clouds looking a bit threatening on Friday, Corbiere said he prayed for good weather “and raised hell a bit,” and received clear sailing weather-wise for the most part. “We appreciated that.”

From its inception in 1999 where it raised $3,500, the event has grown in size to this year's event. It saw more than 3,000 people pass through the gates, donating a total of $177,000 to the cause of supporting cancer victims and their families.

For the volunteers, it warms the heart to help people in need, Corbiere says.

“I owe a great big thank you to all our volunteers and supporting help from our sponsors. Without them we could not achieve what we did.”

The result of their work is a great help to those with cancer, said Smith, who said he knows a few people who have benefited from the funds Haying in the 30's doles out. One 23-year-old man Smith knew couldn't work because of his cancer diagnosis, but the money he received from Haying in the 30's helped with basic needs such as his rent and groceries.

“This is their vision,” said Smith of Edgar and wife Cecile Corbiere. “It's wonderful what they're carrying on.”

His first time to the event won't be his last either, he says, adding, “It's one of those things we've already got marked on the calendar for next year.”