Our Town

Sam Steele Days turns half a century old

Courtesy Maureen Frank The Faces of Sam Steele Photo Collage is a six-foot-high by three-by 32 inch upright bi-fold panel display, caked with more than a 1,000 faces of all the people who contributed  to the success of the Sam Steele Days festival through volunteering, sponsorship or participation. Chelsea Paul, MBSS grad student and former Sam Steele Sweetheart, has volunteered her time to sort and arrange the many photos on the project panels.  - For the Townsman
Courtesy Maureen Frank The Faces of Sam Steele Photo Collage is a six-foot-high by three-by 32 inch upright bi-fold panel display, caked with more than a 1,000 faces of all the people who contributed to the success of the Sam Steele Days festival through volunteering, sponsorship or participation. Chelsea Paul, MBSS grad student and former Sam Steele Sweetheart, has volunteered her time to sort and arrange the many photos on the project panels.
— image credit: For the Townsman

This year is a special one for Sam Steele Days as the fences are coming down around the beer gardens just in time for the 50th anniversary.

There are also many other special events for this year's festival, which is June 19-22.

Provincial liquor laws are changing and will have implications for events like Sam Steele Days.

The updated laws relax regulations that govern how and where liquor can be sold at public festivals and spiriting events.

“I don’t think that it will make a huge difference this year, because our venue is held inside,” Maureen Frank, from the Sam Steele Society said. “The only one that I’m aware of that will make any difference is the fencing.”

The area around beer gardens will no longer need to be fenced off.

The rules are changing in favour of what the province calls “family-friendly festivals”.

The new laws will allow people to carry a beverage around festival grounds rather than having to remain in the fenced-off beer garden area.

Special occasion licenses will still need to be applied for, the sale of mixed spirits can also be added to beer and wine sales. Sporting events will no longer require designated seating areas in arenas or stadiums for beer sales.

Sam Steele Days was started in 1964 by the Junior Chamber International (JCI).

“This came about as a result of the re-creation of Fort Steele as a tourist attraction,” Frank said. “They decided the most fun way to do that would be with a festival and named it after (Major General) Sir Samuel Benfield Steele.”

She said this year organizers wanted to set this festival apart from all the others than came before.

New for this year is the Steele Scouts Commemorative Militia Cavalry. The riders re-enact the original marches of 1885, and have been appeared 35 times at the Calgary Stampede.

“They’re going to do a demonstration and then they will line up for the inspection of the guard,” she said.

The Sam Steele Society has invited all of the past chairs to this event. So far 10 are coming.

Mount Baker students are also involved in a project to create displays of archive photos from past Sam Steele Days in the Face of Sam Steele legacy collage. There will be six panels, that measure almost two metres high, each with a different theme.

The project also correlates with the photo contest, as the winner will have their photo displayed on the panel as part of the prize for winning the contest.

There will also be a Time Capsule for this year. There will be a space of about one metre square to put in anything that people and businesses feel will be of interest to Cranbrookians in 2039.

“So that a future population can see how we celebrated the 50th anniversary and what life was like in Cranbrook at that time,” she said.

The Heid-Out Restaurant and Brew Pub its partner Fisher Peak Brewing will also be creating a traditional honey lager. The lager is from a recipe found in the Fort Steele archives.

“It’s made with fire weed and wild flower honey,” she said.

That will be launched later in May.

For more info on the events of Sam Steele Days, head to www.samsteeledays.org.

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