July 14th, 2024

Raymond continues tradition of Heritage Days festivities

By Al Beeber - Lethbridge Herald on July 2, 2022.

Herald photo by Al Beeber Members of the Raymond High School bands perform during the Rotary Parade Friday morning. Town streets were packed with throngs of people for the annual event which kicked off the weekend Heritage Days.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDabeeber@lethbridgeherald.com

A long line of vehicles heading south from Lethbridge Friday morning was the first indication Canada Day was going to be something special in Raymond.
And residents in the home of Canada’s first rodeo made it clear they were ready to celebrate. Streets and sidewalks were packed solid on the route of the annual Rotary Club parade.
Large Canadian flags waved in front of many homes in the town of more than 4,000 as Raymond welcomed home family and friends for Heritage Days 2022.
In addition to the parade, July 1 celebrations included the first day of the Stampede Rodeo that kicked off at 2 p.m. on the Stampede grounds. The day also featured a Canada Day market at the arena and a fair at Victoria Sports Park. Fireworks were scheduled to be let off at 11 p.m.
Today’s events include the annual Harlan Taylor Road Race – named after the late town doctor – starting at 7:30 a.m. following by an 8 a.m. pancake breakfast at the seniors centre hosted by the Chamber of Commerce.
An antique car show and shine runs at noon while the rodeo finals kick off at 2 p.m.
A sports day features a beach volleyball tournament and a three-on-three basketball tourney.
Anyone hoping to get tickets to the town’s first professional rodeo since the late 1970s is most likely out of luck.
Val Boehme of the Rotary Club said virtually all available 9,999 tickets for the Stampede are sold out.
For Raymond residents, Canada Day is not just a national holiday – it’s a time for family reunions.
One former Raymondite, Jason Christensen now of Sparwood whose graduating class just celebrated its 45th anniversary, found a place to sit for the parade with family including his dad in front of the Raymond post office right in the heart of downtown on Broadway Avenue. Classes from 1992 and ’72 had floats – a Raymond High School tradition – in the parade.
The parade had something for everyone with music provided by several bands including the legendary Raymond Canadians which had long-time member Ethel Hicken on the keyboards at the front of the float.
Dozens of children scrambled onto the parade route for the candy being thrown with abandon through the air by parade participants.
With the U. S. border open again, the town was filled with American family who could finally cross the border with COVID restrictions lifted, said one local businessman who didn’t want his name used.
Boehme said at the start of the parade people are still cautious about COVID-19 but there was a “feeling of freedom and engagement” in the town where people of all ages sat on lawn chairs or in truck boxes to watch the hour-long parade that started in the town’s west end and wound its way to the south end of Broadway before heading north along the wide street.

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