July 23rd, 2024

Rainy weather doesn’t dampen Canada Day enthusiasm

By Lethbridge Herald on July 1, 2024.

Blair Roth had the eggs cracking under the rain for the Interfaith Food Bank’s charity breakfast Monday morning at Galt Gardens. Herald photo by Al Beeber

Al Beeber – LETHBRIDGE HERALD – abeeber@lethbridgeherald.com

A year ago southern Albertans celebrated Canada Day under sunny skies with sweltering temperatures hitting the mid 30s.

Fast forward a year and Canada Day made a literal splash with rain falling from dawn until early afternoon when the skies began clearing.

While the moisture would have been welcome a year ago when the mercury hit 34C in Lethbridge and even in early spring when area reservoirs were low, the rain on Monday managed to put a bit of a damper on Canada Day festivities.

A fundraising breakfast staged by the Interfaith Food Bank on Monday morning got off to a slow start at Galt Gardens with rainfall starting just as the event began. And while organizers had budgeted for about 1,000 people, they expected a smaller crowd due to the weather which also impacted the turnout for the LeBarons Car Club show ’n shine.

However, a hardy crew of revellers, some with kids in tow and umbrellas overhead, still turned out for the festivities which were attracting a larger crowd by mid-afternoon to the downtown park.

Henderson Lake, the site of the main Canada Day celebrations in Lethbridge, was wet and muddy as the festivities started at 11 a.m. but Mother Nature was no match for the enthusiasm of residents who turned out in droves.

Whether waiting in line for cotton candy at MP Rachael Thomas’ tent or playing impromptu games of soccer or dancing at the main stage, visitors kept busy.

With umbrellas and ponchos  popular choice of attire on Monday, residents didn’t let the rain dampen their spirits even when it began pounding the park.

One dad told The Herald that the day might be shorter than usual but the family was still going to enjoy the bouncy castle and other attractions for the kids.

One couple, who said they were regulars at Henderson Lake on Canada Day, said they come rain or shine and the wet weather wasn’t going to keep them away.

A small group huddled under trees said they came for the food as they munched down on offerings from the numerous food trucks a near the main stage where various performers entertained audiences under the gloomy skies.

Janessa Brown, co-chair of the Canada Day organizing committee who works in Community Services with the City of Lethbridge, told The Herald during a downpour that the turnout was good considering the wet conditions.

Brown said early in the day “I think we’re actually really impressed and happy with the turnout. The weather has been pretty much all over the place. Everyone’s coming out still and still having a good time. Kids are laughing and yelling and the music is going on so I’m actually happy with the turnout for how wet it is.”

Brown expected said a few main stage performers cancelled but organizers were planning to find fillers.

Brown said sometimes when the weather is hot and the sun is scorching, that can be overwhelming as well.

UCP MLA for Lethbridge East Nathan Neudorf said celebrating Canada Day is important.

“We love our country and what it means to the world to be able to invite people to come and get a fresh start.”

Neudorf said he wasn’t surprised how strong the turnout was.

“I’ve been here enough that I know how hardy Albertans are. It takes a more than a little drizzle to keep them away,” added Neudorf.

When asked if he had a message for Albertans, he said “the Alberta advantage is back. And we’re a growing province with tons of opportunity. We’ve still got things to do but we’re at work doing it just like Albertans.”

One visitor told The Herald “it’s just rain. Rain won’t stop us” while listening to the music.

“It’s a good turnout.”

One mom said her kids were having fun despite the weather and getting stuck in the bouncy castle.

Her family, which tries to come to Henderson Lake every July 1, wasn’t planning to stay as long as they normally do because of the rain, but noted usually it’s too hot on Canada Day to stay long anyway.

Festivities started at Henderson at 11 a.m. By mid-afternoon, skies had cleared and more people began pouring into the park, many of them walking and others using transit.

Both Henderson and Galt Gardens had an emphasis on multi-culturalism.

The main stage at Henderson was supposed to kick off with an 11 a.m. performance by the Lethbridge Community Band which was cancelled because of the rain. 

However, shortly after noon, The Band Formerly Known as Karen, Lewis and Pam  had parents and little ones dancing to some popular tunes.

They were followed by the Southern Alberta Chinese Association and a range of other acts that were scheduled to play throughout the day.

Share this story:

Notify of
1 Comment
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

[…] In conclusion, Canada Day 2024 in Lethbridge may have been marked by rain and wet conditions, but it was also a testament to the strength and spirit of the community. As we look forward to future celebrations, let us carry forward the lessons learned from this day and continue to stand together through all challenges, rain or shine.” Reference […]

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x