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Editorial: Small town Saskatchewan

Editor Joan Ritchie writes about events in small-town Saskatchewan
Editorial by Joan Ritchie

Sad but true, many small towns in Saskatchewan have morphed into uninhabited ghost towns, as people continue to make the move to larger centres. Despite the reasons, whether there is no longer infrastructure or amenities available, or maybe individuals need to locate to a larger centre for senior living or a relocation because of work, or whatever the reason…it’s a sad sign of the times.  

We all drive by or through them on journey’s way, seeing today’s dilapidation but envisioning yesterday’s fertile environment.  It tears at your heartstrings because you remember the days memories were made there.

One thing I noticed while I was compiling the articles for this week’s edition, not all of small-town Saskatchewan is dead. Towns all over the province are celebrating their history and attractions.  

Just a little over a week ago, Mortlach held their annual Berry Festival featuring Saskatoon Berry Pie…purples smiles all around.  The festival serves up big-city clout with small-town charm and everyone from the region can’t wait to return again next year. 

Even though Claybank Brick Plant is no longer in operation, the provincial and national heritage site was glad to see 1,500 individuals come through during their Heritage Day held at the end of June. Sadly, times are tough and the coffers tight for the society, as they try to keep the plant open for the summer season. Last year, all provincial funding was lost and now the society has to brainstorm for fundraising to maintain the summer’s program operation. This one was a resounding success and will have a significant positive impact on keeping the site open.   

Old Wives Lake Festival in Mossbank will be celebrating the weekend of July 19th-21st with numerous activities:  a golf tournament, the Justinsane Barbie Car Club Show n’ Shine, a Farmer’s Market featuring 40 vendors and kidstuff, birdwatching, historical tours, a street dance, and much more.    

Bengough’s 15th annual Gateway Music Festival featuring a mix of country and rock, held July 26th to 28th will be a time to enjoy bands – Trooper, Charlie Major, Kim Mitchell, and Michelle Wright, as well as many others. Campsites are located next to the festival grounds.  

Manitou Beach is celebrating their centennial as a tourist hotspot with a number of events throughout the summer. One of the upcoming centennial events will be the inaugural Big Float event on July 13th, with the hope that a record will be set for the most people floating on Little Manitou Lake. The official group float will commence at 2 p.m. 

You can read all about it in this week’s Moose Jaw Express, and at online daily.   

My hope is renewed to see that not-all is lost, many small-towns continue to thrive and built on their past looking toward the future.    

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