In just a couple weeks, volunteers and attendees will be celebrating the two-decade milestone for one of the area's largest non-profit organizations. But, the 2018 edition of Haying in the 30's will also offer a chance to remember the face behind the cause.
Haying in the 30's founder Edgar Corbiere passed away this spring, and this year's August long weekend event will include a number of acts that will honour Corbiere.
During the Saturday opening ceremonies, a tree will be planted in memory of Corbiere. The County of St. Paul is also expected to be on hand to offer a tribute and present a plaque, explains Haying in the 30's president Martin Naundorf.
"We also have a tract that Edgar built," says Naundorf. And while the tractor doesn't actually run, it will be put on display in his honour.
Overall, the Aug. 4 and 5 weekend will run along the same schedule as it has in past years, with two full days of events taking place at the Haying in the 30's site near Mallaig.
A few new features will be on display, including an archives building that will house 20 years worth of Haying in the 30's history. The building is brand new and has been made possible thanks to the hard work of volunteers.
A new dressing room is also being made available for the saloon girls, and a new blacksmith shop will be complete. An expansion to the Hudson's Bay Trading Post was also done.
When speaking of the many volunteers who make the event possible, Naundorf says the society is always looking for more volunteers to help out. Right now, they are hoping to find someone to run the Hudson's Bay Trading Post throughout the long weekend.
While a lot of work has been done at the site lately, with grass being cut weekly, there is still a lot that needs to be done before the long weekend arrives.
"We still have all the buildings to clean, wash windows . . . and stuff like that," says Naundorf, adding, "We're always looking for volunteers."
Organizers hold work bees every Wednesday night. This week, the Co-op will be on hand at the work bee offering volunteers a barbecue supper, says Naundorf.
Support for Haying in the 30's comes in from across the province. Whether it is through the donation of items, such as the cream can washing machine from the cheese plant in Camrose, or the donation of funds raised through various means, everything will come together as thousands of people gather on site in just a couple of weeks.
Organizers anticipate a large donation will be made by a group from Vermilion on Saturday; while a young man also recently fundraised over $600 at the Ponoka Stampede.
Stories such as 11-year-old Dustin Ellingson Christiensen 's are not unique, but they are heartwarming every time they are told. The young boy, who was born in the St. Paul area, raised $646 selling hot dogs at the Panoka Stampede.
"While most kids were on the amusement rides, he was raising money," said Marylynn Ellingson, Dustin's mom, who adds that Dustin's grandparents are from Mallaig.
A basketball team from Racette Junior High School also donated funds to the cause, says Naundorf, as he speaks about the support shown.
Right now, Haying in the 30's is lead by a core group of 13 board members, and 300 volunteers who set aside time over the August long weekend to make sure everything runs smoothly.
Demonstrations will begin Saturday morning after the opening ceremonies, which are set to begin at about 9:45 a.m. This year's demonstrations will include many old favourites, such as the cowboys cooks who come in from Hanna, Alta., a variety of farming techniques in the fields, knife making, blacksmith demonstrations, kids games, and many more things.
New this year will be a water pumping system that will show how water was pumped in the "old days," says Naundorf. A moonshine still will also be added to the list of displays.
Local artist Herman Poulin will also be on hand at this year's event, creating a painting while on site, says Naundorf.
“There’s always something new coming up.”
While organizers never know what to expect when it comes to fundraising totals, last year's weekend event raised $262,000, which was the most ever raised. Donations are also accepted throughout the year.
Right now, the cancer support society pays out 40 cancer victims every month. Each recipient gets $1,000 to help cover any costs associated with undergoing cancer treatment. Out-of-province recipients receive $500 each.
And although Haying in the 30's culminates with the annual event on August long weekend, the organization is busy year-round, planning, and supporting those in need of their efforts.
"It's a never-ending process," says Naundorf, adding, plans are already in motion to have a new donation centre built for the 2019 event. To access a schedule of events for this year's Haying in the 30's, visit http://www.hayinginthe30s.com/weekend-program