© Southwest Booster photo by Jason Kerr.
Swift Current Mayor Jerrod Schafer speaks at the 2014 Homecoming Address.
There are a lot of great things about Swift Current, but the greatest thing is the people.
That was the resounding message from organizers and dignitaries alike at Swift Current's 2014 Welcome Home Address on Friday. Mayor Jerrod Schafer and Premier Brad Wall joined members of the organizing committee reflecting on how important the people were to the community.
“While Swift Current has grown in size and spirit, what hasn’t changed is the safe and caring community that offers an exceptional quality of life, built upon our greatest strength: our people,” the mayor said in his opening remarks.
“Our people, through the last 100 years, have willed this community to be what it is,” echoed the premier.
There has been plenty to reflect on too, as organizations and businesses around Swift Current offered their own contributions to the celebration. From art exhibits to plays and songs, to reunions, it was a busy weekend.
“I think it’s important for us to recognize Swift Current for the city that it is,” Centennial Committee co-chair Pat Friesen said shortly after the Welcome Home Address. “It’s a great little city and people comment on that all the time.”
For Friesen, and fellow co-chair Dave Spencer, it’s been a long road since they first started dreaming about a centennial celebration. Event planning originally began all the way back in 2011, and Friesen said it’s been satisfying to see the end result.
“It’s just great to see this event finally taking place,” she said. “I’m really happy to see all the people out enjoying themselves.”
Joining the dignitaries and organizers at the address was local poet Arthea Loran, who read “Song for Swift Current,” a poem she wrote a few years ago in tribute to the city.
“Our city is not large, except in heart and soul,” she said. “Swift Current welcomed all newcomers who cared and joined our goal.”
Swift Current’s role in welcoming visitors was appropriate on such a weekend, and so were the city’s contributions to the province and the world.
“We’ve had a lot of exports all over Canada and the world who’ve gone on to great things in arts and culture and business,” said Wall, while also touting the city’s role in the development of medicare.
“It’s just great to be able to celebrate Swift Current… but also to look to the future a little bit too,” he continued.
As for the rest of the weekend, weather was a constant distraction, forcing the relocation of the Hunter Brothers and Emerson Drive concert, while making things interesting for the rodeo and equine contestants. In the end, however, the weather was only a minor distraction.
“I’ve been watching the weather almost on an hourly basis,” Friesen admitted shortly after the address.
She laughed nervously as she said it, but overall was happy with how things went. She also had a bit of advice for whoever organizes Swift Current’s next major celebration.
“I would say start early. Make sure you have a good plan. Make sure you have great sponsors,” she said. “We had all of those things and none of (the centennial celebrations) would have been possible without that.”