That's exactly what the Mile 0 Parks Society did by organizing an American Independence Day celebration at the Pioneer Village on July 4. Stacy Scriven, events coordinator with the society, said they felt it was a great way to acknowledge those visitors who might not otherwise have a chance to celebrate their nation's birthday.
“They are so far away from home, I thought it would be nice to give them a chance to celebrate a day that's so important to them,” she said.
The event included a barbeque, games and activities for children, live music and entertainment, and even a chili cook-off. More than a few Canadians were on hand to welcome and celebrate our neighbours to the south.
“We were hoping to have a Canadian versus American tug-of-war here, but I think we're going to have to slim down the Canadians, we'll have to lend a few of them to the American side!” said Scriven.
She said they hope to build the event each year going forward, anchored by the chili cook-off competition.
David and Donna Rumrill from Davenport, Florida, just arrived that day at the Northern Lights Campground as hosts of a caravan company heading to Alaska, and were fortunate that the campground manager came around to tell visitors about the celebration.
“It's a nice way to reach out and make people feel welcome. It was a nice surprise,” said Donna.
“I know that in the States I've never seen anybody put on anything for Canadians, so you guys are really reaching out, and we appreciate that,” added her husband.
David said anywhere you go in the United States, people celebrate Independence Day in different ways. He said, for example, they are originally from Boston and remember going to see the Boston Symphony Orchestra play, accompanied by a huge fireworks show at the end of the performance.
However, he said they were delighted and grateful for the celebration so far from home.
Donna said with this trip, which took them through Manitoba and Saskatchewan, they have now been to all ten Canadian provinces.
“We've always found Canadians to be very friendly, we love to come to Canada,” she said.
Alex and Trish Alexander, who live just outside of Austin, Texas, were another couple who had stopped into Dawson Creek on their way up to an Alaskan adventure.
“This little village here is just fantastic,” said Alex, adding that he is a vintage vehicle enthusiast and really enjoyed checking out some of the trucks and tractors on site at Pioneer Village.
Trish said the celebration was very reminiscent of how they would celebrate back home, just with a lot of fireworks as well.
“It's very typical of what we have, with the entertainment and the cook-off and barbeque,” she said.
“The kids have been wonderful,” she added, referring to the young performers who provided some of the entertainment for the evening.