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Drums, lion dancers and dragon entertain Elk Point crowd on Canada Day

ELK POINT – A very special addition to the Canada Day lineup in Elk Point brought a huge crowd to the Alberta Centennial Stage immediately after the parade, quickly overflowing the bleachers and forming a huge semicircle of lawn chairs and grass sitters before a pair of jets from CFB Cold Lake swept over the scene in a fly past and mistress of ceremonies and Canada Day Committee chair Wanda Cochrane took the microphone to introduce some very special guests.

A pair of Hong De Lion Dancers led the grand entry as Cochrane introduced Dr. Donald Yu, president of the Edmonton Chapter of the National Congress of Chinese Canadians (NCCC), Frog Lake First Nations Chief Gregory Desjarlais, Rhonda Jackson of Saddle Lake Cree Nation #125, Bonnyville-Cold Lake-St. Paul MLA Scott Cyr and Dr. Paul Gareau, Associate Dean of Native Studies at the University of Alberta.

Scarlet-coated RCMP officers stood at attention as the Canada flag was slowly hoisted up the pole by Brielle Collins and Ethan Lorenson as Rhonda Jackson and the Edmonton Chinese Choir sang ‘O Canada.’

Mayor Parrish Tung, Dr. Yu, Dr. Gareau, MLA Cyr and Chief Desjarlais all brought greetings before the Hong De Cultural and Athletic Association Warrior Drummers led the entire assembly, the dignitaries with their own commemorative drums and the audience all provided with miniature handheld drums inscribed, “Drum together for Canada and world harmony” in Elk Point’s six-minute part of the Canada Day Drumming 2024 National Simultaneous Drumming.

The Warrior Drummers accompanied a group of the Hong De athletes in their beautiful and complicated Dragon Dance before the Wellness Sports Club demonstrated their peaceful and rhythmic Tai Chi moves. Then it was time for three huge and energetic Hong De lions - two gold and one scarlet - to burst on the scene with their exciting and crowd-pleasing dance, coming close to the crowd to wiggle their eyebrows, wag their tails and toss tiny souvenirs.

Sessions of drumming by the Warrior Drums and folk songs by the Edmonton Chinese Choir wrapped up the performance, with the visitors staying around much of the afternoon to enjoy the food, entertainment and mini market before heading back to Edmonton.


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