June 22nd, 2024

Raymond marks Canada Day with celebration and respect

By Al Beeber on July 2, 2021.

Herald photo by Al Beeber - Floats filled the streets of Raymond Thursday morning for the Rotary Club parade as organizers attempted to balance celebration and respect, acknowledging the pain being felt with the recent discoveries of unmarked graves at residential schools.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDabeeber@lethbridgeherald.com

It was the first day without social distancing or mask requirements and Raymond was ready to let loose.
Throngs of residents and visitors lined the town’s streets Thursday for the Rotary Club Parade that kicked off promptly at 10 a.m.
Many sitting on the sunny side of streets sheltered under large colourful umbrellas while others sat on the ground or in lawn chairs along shaded parts of the parade route. The parade started at the west end of town and headed north down a crowded, sun-drenched Broadway Avenue.
The hour-long event was packed with floats and several musical acts including the Raymond Canadians, a stalwart in town for decades.
With the recent discovery of graves at residential schools, some residents said there was a need to balance celebration with respect.
Val Boehme, a Rotary Club member who traversed the parade route on a bicycle, said the parade represents the Rotarian belief of peace through understanding.
“We’re celebrating but remembering there is pain in the country,” he said.
Several parade-goers said they were glad the parade could be held once again under normal circumstances. Last year’s event was a reverse parade with floats lined up on Broadway while people drove past them in vehicles.
The parade was part of four days of festivities being celebrated in the town’s annual Heritage Days. Those festivities, however, are a bit more low-key than usual with the continued closure of the Canada-U.S. border to land travel preventing families from reuniting in town.
The celebrations started Wednesday with the slack for Thursday’s rodeo followed by the Smith Family fireworks.
The famous Raymond Stampede kicked off at 2 p.m. with more fireworks planned Thursday night at Victoria Sports Park.
Today’s events include various competitions in sports such as disc golf, softball, beach volleyball, three-on-three basketball and spike ball.
On Saturday, the annual Harlan Taylor five-kilometre and 10-km road races will be staged at 7:30 a.m. with a Chamber of Commerce pancake breakfast running from 8 until 10 a.m.
A drive-in movie will air Saturday night at 10:30 at 500N and Broadway Avenue.

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