Creston had a lot more going on than a spectacular fireworks show on July 1.

Two events honored both Canada and the people who call the Great White North home.

Organizer from the Canyon Community Association Deborah Nelius says it was the 80th year Canyon Park hosted the popular July 1  event.

“Years ago, the families who lived in Canyon, because it wasn’t as easy to get to town, would get together the night before and sometimes the whole weekend to celebrate the whole Canada day weekend. They would sleep over here at the park, it would be a whole camp-out.”

Both the Canadian and American anthem was sung preceding the cowboy games. (Jensen Shields, Staff)

This year the crowd of over 200 had plenty to see.  A softball tournament drew cheers and children went for a splash in the dunk tank. Equestrians performed complex routines and cowboys and cowgirls rode and shot balloon targets with no bullets, only black powder. Some of the spectators came up from the United States.

“There been horse events going on for about [80 years].” Says Nelius.  “There’s people that come from out of town, maybe not every year, but often because they know they’ll have a great time here.”

Before the long weekend kicked off to celebrate Canada’s 152 years, multiculturalism and the efforts made by the Creston refugee Committee took centre stage at the Creston Musuem on June 27.

Families from Sierra Leone, Burma, South Vietnam and most recently, Kurdistan who have all traveled great distances to escape violence gave their stories. Lower Kootenay Band Elder Chris Luke welcomed them, not only to Canada and Creston, but to his ancestral lands.

Lower Kootenay Band Chris Luke addresses a crowd of roughly 50. (Jensen Shields, Staff)

“On behalf of my community, I’d like to welcome all the new refugees that are living here in Creston. I hope you enjoy your stay in Creston and enjoy the Ktunaxa territory.”

One of the Speakers, Georgina Samai, brought much of the crowd to tears.

“I’m so thankful and I’m still here in Creston because Creston people make me feel at home. Really, make me feel at home.” The crowd applauded as Samai accentuated the word home. “I’m so thankful for what you have done for us. Let’s pray that Canada will never have what other countries are having.”

Samai is no stranger to conflict, having lost her fiancé to violence, she also served as a translator for the UN Refugee Agency. The Creston Refugee committee is gearing up to find a new family to bring into the Valley. Meanwhile, the Creston Museum unveiled their new exhibit, the Faces Of Creston.