Swift Current Centennial celebrated today

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A celebration 100 years in the making has arrived, with the turning of the calendar to 2014 signalling the start of Swift Current Centennial year.

Dave Spencer, Co chair of the Swift Current Centennial Committee, is excited for the arrival of the much anticipated Centennial and a chance to celebrate the past, present and future.

"Over the year we're hoping family members will come home and reflect on what it was like to be a part of Swift Current and helping renew those memories," Spencer said during an interview in late December. "So January 15 is that beginning. We think it's going to be an exciting evening, with the singing, dancing, performing, that celebrates the decades leading up to our 100th year."

January 15 is the exact date Swift Current was incorporated as a City in 1914, so the committee has chosen Wed., Jan. 15 2014 as the date for the Centennial Day Extravaganza to launch a year of centennial events.

"Certainly there has been a lot of background work that has gone into it, and that was enjoyable. All the members of our committee, and other members of the community that we've interacted with in doing the planning towards this Centennial, thats been a great experience. So now we're looking forward to January 15," he said.

"We want it to be a really special event in this community. Clearly it's a once in a lifetime opportunity, and you want it to be something that's meaningful for the residents of our community and people in the Southwest. We know very well that we are a part of the Southwest, we are dependent on the Southwest, so we want it to be meaningful for everyone in the region."

"It's really something that we hope the community will engage in and really gain something from. And then excite everybody about what it to come in the rest of 2014."

The Honouring the Past Extravaganza is being hosted by the Swift Current Arts Community and Swift Current Museum, and the event will serve as a reflection of the major events in Swift Current over the past 100 years.

Kim Houghtaling, Director and Curator at the Art Gallery of Swift Current, said the extravaganza at the Credit Union iPlex boasts some special highlights.

"It's kind of a survey of the history of the community, some high points and special occasions, as well as the way we were. What the strengths of certain periods were, when we were in building booms, when we were at war, when we were raising kids and having happy days. It sort of tells a little bit of all the great stories of our community."

Attending public will have a chance to learn about Swift Current history through information on the event program plus decade by decade informational displays. Doors open at the iPlex at 4:30 p.m., and people can walk though a history timeline exhibition. This series of booths dates back to the turn of the century in 1900, with the timeline leading up to becoming a city in 1914, and details through the decades.

The evening will feature a Showcase Performance at 6:30 p.m. which combines music, drama and dancing to help bring Swift Current's history alive.

"The performance will kind of serve up the history of Swift Current, but we'll also talk about some slightly different stories than what the history booths were referencing, but also expand on and give a little more entertainment and personality to them in live performance."

"We've got actors and dancers and musicians and a really excellent media production that's also occurring," Houghtaling added. "It involves lots of artists and youths from our community involved in the project."

"I think people are going to be pretty intrigued with how that show comes together."

Spencer noted that Swift Current's history was build by a melting pot of cultures, and this presentation is hopefully a meaningful way to reflect on the experience of those that came before us.

"What we have now is a wonderful City, but there were the builders. There were the individuals who took a risk to come to the West and decided this was the place where they were going to develop their business, their livelihood, raise their families."

Organizations: Swift Current Centennial Committee

Geographic location: Swift Current, Southwest Saskatchewan

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