Canada Day 2018 is looking to be a great one, with the Cochrane & Area Events Society assembling a schedule of events for the Mitford Park celebration that even rivals last year’s Canada 150 event.
That being said, having such an action-packed itinerary comes with a challenge: the society needs plenty of volunteers to keep the party going.
"We need about 110 to run the event, and we have about twenty-five right now,” said events society president Marina Chabbert. "We're a little bit worried, but we know that Cochrane has great residents who do step up at the last minute and help us out. We just need to be a little more vocal about it."
Volunteering on Canada Day isn’t an extreme commitment, she added.
“It's just a three hour shift, some are four but most are three. It's not huge involvement, and it's low in the level of difficulty,” the society president said. “It's easy to do, it's fun to be around and participate and help, and we just really need people to stand up and give us a hand."
The shift isn’t without its perks.
“We will provide vouchers for the volunteers to have lunch,” said Chabbert. “Those vouchers will come in the form of a ticket that they can use at any one of the food trucks.”
Another way the events society has made volunteering easier is the range of positions and times of day for Cochranites volunteering on Canada Day. Positions and times can be signed up for through the event society’s website, cochraneevents.ca.
"We're encouraging everyone to sign up early. That way, you can have the activity that they wish, and also the time that they would prefer,” explained Chabbert. “Once that timeframe is up, other times may or may not work for them."
Much of the volunteer need stems from the wide range of children’s activities over the course of the big day, including bouncy castles and face painting.
“Because we are so hands-on and have so many activities planned for the kids, it also requires a lot of volunteers to monitor the activities and to assist the children,” said Chabbert. “Making sure there are no injuries and that there's fair play and all that comes along with that."
She continued, "We need runners, for when people get tired. We need volunteers at the gate as well to welcome people in and hand out little Canada flags. We need people at the stage area, and we need people to help the face painter. There are a lot of different opportunities."
Cochrane residents will be happy to hear about two new logistical additions for this year’s celebration.
“Parking is limited at Mitford Park, so we do need to shuttle people in,” Chabbert said. "We also have shuttle arrangements this year, the same as previous years but with one addition: we'll have a stop in Heritage Hills. It's the shopping mall where Freshii is. Heritage Hills and Heartland can both take advantage of that stop.”
The second Canada Day addition is geared toward residents from all over town.
"Half Hitch is going to be coming in and doing a beer garden in the afternoon,” said the society president. “It's a new event for Cochrane's Canada Day. The purpose of it is just to have an area where adults can assemble, maybe have a local beer or drink of some kind, and I think it's going to be a very welcome addition to Canada Day."
The festivities kick off at Mitford Park on July 1 at noon, and wrap up with the fireworks display at 11 p.m.