Summer is over and it’s back to school for students across Alberta.
As a news reporter, the summer of 2022 was busier than the two years when the COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions were still hanging over like a cloud.
Community events are a major part of the life of any community and local newspaper.
When restrictions were in place – off and on – from March 2020 to spring of 2022, that was all wiped out as restrictions banned large gatherings.
Even before the past summer started, after restrictions were lifted, organizations started to resurrect their events.
People were happy to be able to get back together and attend those popular events.
Many people hadn’t seen each other in two years when restrictions urged people to social distance and stay at home.
People were created to be in community, doing life together, and not being separated, isolated or alone.
It’s unhealthy to be alone. We need each other – and in person is the best.
I really felt extra busy in the last three weeks in August when South Peace News editor Chris Clegg was on holidays and I was covering the news and events. Although I have done it for many years, it seemed to be a heavier load. I don’t know whether it was because the workload was not as busy when many events and activities we covered we not held the past two years and then the events returned.
It was great to see those events, many that have been part of the local culture and calendar for decades. It was wonderful to watch people smile and laugh and hug each other as they gathered with family and friends, something that was banned during most of the pandemic.
Even some new and special events were added to the summer schedule. High Prairie hosted the Canadian Horseshoe Pitching Championships from Aug. 17-20 after the Western Classic Horseshoe Tournament from Aug. 13-14. Both events got top marks from organizers and visitors from across Canada.
High Prairie also hosted a summer football camp July 23-24 led by players of the Edmonton Elks of the Canadian Football League at got top ratings.
As well, the second annual Inter.Sect Art and Music Festival was held Aug. 11-14 in High Prairie.
Even with high inflation and tough economic times, it proves that small rural communities in northern Alberta can host new events and benefit from new or repeat visitors. All it takes is commitment, community support, volunteers and a warm and hospitable welcome.
Now that summer is behind, community life will only get busier for the rest of the year.
September to December is the busiest time of the year for activities and events under normal circumstances.
Students are back in classes with no restrictions.
Schools traditionally have special events and activities where parents and the community are invited.
Those activities will return.
School Christmas concerts are always the big highlight of the year.
After two years without the concerts, schools will likely start to prepare in the coming weeks.
Full-scale indoor Remembrance Day services may very well be back after being limited to small gatherings inside or held outside.
Local Legions are eager to return to the special services that draw large crowds.
Attend a local event and read about it the local newspaper.