With only 14 months remaining before the start of Swift Current's Centennial year, the Swift Current Centennial Committee has unveiled a series of plans for the city's celebrations in 2014.
A preliminary schedule of 2014 headline events was announced at a press conference on Wednesday, and a website was launched to begin sharing details of the year-long celebration.
"The Centennial celebrations will enable our residents, both past and present, to look back with pride at the history of the City, to celebrate 2014, and to look to the future and take time to think about the possibilities for the future of our City and the prosperity and growth we hope to enjoy," Committee co-chairperson Pat Friesen said during the unveiling.
Travis Cuthbert, Events Coordinator on the Centennial committee, unveiled the committee has settled on a trio of showcase events to celebrate the centennial. These three cornerstone events are being designed to give people a reason to come back to Swift Current to share in the celebrations.
Swift Current will celebrate their Centennial Day on January 15, 2014, as the date marks the anniversary of the exact date Swift Current was incorporated as a city back in 1914. This event is intended to honour the city's past, and the celebration will boast a pageant to showcase the arts and culture of the community decade by decade. Hosted at the Credit Union iPlex, the entertaining start to the year will also feature an evening cabaret, adding a party atmosphere for people to enjoy.
"It's going to be designed to tell a story, entertain, and there's going to be dancing and music and story telling. We really encourage people to keep that date on their calendar."
Swift Current's Homecoming Day will be hosted on June 30. With the 2014 Frontier Days scheduled for June 26 to 29, and with Canada Day in 2014 falling on a Tuesday, the committee felt a Homecoming Day fit best on the Monday which falls after Frontier Days and the day before July 1 celebrations.
"As much as we want everybody in Swift Current to be there, we also really wanted to create an event that was going to make people from further away want to come home for this weekend. And we really thought that by tying it in with the weekend of Frontier Days, because there's a lot of people that will come home for Frontier Days anyway, we thought this would be a really good strategic fit."
This showcase celebration will be a full day event at the iPlex, with organizers scheduling the use of the parking lot and surrounding sports grounds in order to host a major sun up to sun down event. The committee envisions the a series of pavilions set up to share the best of Swift Current. A day full of entertainment is planned, with the Committee looking at hiring a headline performer for the Homecoming, but they also want to showcase local groups and individuals.
"We're really looking to provide enough venues there to really drive a lot of traffic to that area for that day."
In addition to these foundational events, the entire community is invited to host an event in celebration of the centennial.
"We're encouraging groups and organizations to plan their activities, whether that's around those foundational events or it's at other times during the year," explained co-chairperson Dave Spencer.
While the committee is still developing their volunteer program, a centennial website is now active for individuals to express an interest they wish to be involved. The committee will contact these individuals to share ways they can be involved in 2014.
"Certainly community organizations and individuals are going to be key to the success of this year, and it's a great way for people to actually feel connected by becoming actively involved," Spencer pointed out.
The committee also unveiled their centennial branding, with the 2014 logo incorporating design elements of the existing city brand and logo. The theme of the celebration is Honouring the Past, Celebrating the Present, and Welcoming the Future.
"I think it's fun. Again, it's got kind of a specific theme in terms of welcoming people back to the community," Elden Moberg, Communications Coordinator for the Centennial Committee.
"We went through quite a few different options to get to where we are at. But in the end we really wanted it to be something that was fun, had some colour to it, and we thought that we definitely wanted to incorporate the city logo into it."
As Wednesday's press conference began the centennial website was launched. The site www.citysc100.ca will be the centralized hub for events and celebrations which will be organized throughout 2014. The communications strategy also includes utilizing social media tools Twitter and Facebook to reach out to former residents.
"Really it's only a year and a quarter basically and we're there. And so it seems like 2014's a long ways away, but it's not. It's just around the corner and we have to be prepared."
"We're not just dealing with trying to attract people from our community to this event," Moberg said. "We're trying to attract Swift Current residents and former residents from all over the world...we want to get them back and the easiest way I think is to really access social media and get people using that to invite their friends and family members back to the community, so we will be very active in that area."
"We know from a communications network, we had to have a hub," he added. "We want people to be able to access what are the events? When are they? What are you actually doing with those events? We wanted to make sure that they could go there if they wanted to participate. How do I participate? How do I get involved?"
"We want to promote anybody that's doing anything centennial related in 2014. Obviously there'll be a highlight of our own events on there, but we want to make sure we're promoting any event that's going on out there, whether it's a community group or a local business that decides they want to have an event."