Ardrossan Recreational and Agricultural Society Announces 75th Parade and Picnic

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The neighboring community of Ardrossan celebrates its 75th annual parade and picnic.

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The Ardrossan Parade and Picnic will take place on Saturday June 18, starting early with an 8am pancake breakfast at the fire station. The parade will begin at 11 a.m., followed by a full day of activities for all ages at Memorial Hall and the Ardrossan Recreation Complex: a live stage, vendors, food trucks, children’s entertainment and a cafe outdoors open until 10 p.m.

The Ardrossan Recreation and Agricultural Society (ARAS) has announced that Diana Balbar has accepted the position of Parade Marshal for the occasion. The celebration will also commemorate the 75th anniversary of Memorial Hall.

“Diana is an active community volunteer and has improved rural life through her efforts. ARAS has also named a scholarship in honor of Diana: a $1,000 award given annually to a deserving young person who exemplifies volunteerism,” ARAS announced in a press release.

“Balbar moved to Strathcona County in 1977. She began moving into the Ministik area in 1980, acquiring a 40-acre parcel of land and establishing a small outdoor stable to teach beginners to ride. Joining the local community league was a great way to meet people, and in no time she was a contributing member of all three local venues – South Cooking Lake, Ministik and Hastings Lake.

During his time in the community, Balbar drove school buses and public transportation in Sherwood Park and most recently ran the bookmobile service in rural Strathcona County with the Strathcona County Library.

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ARAS said the rural community of Strathcona relies on bookmobile service, alongside the use of community halls, as a “bricks and mortar” library service. Through her work with the library, Diana has “been able to advocate for the needs of the rural area”.

“One of his dreams was to acquire a truly accessible low-floor bookmobile, which became a reality in 2010. Thanks to this, everyone – those with wheelchairs and walkers, children and people seniors – could enter easily, and mobile services could be provided to senior centers and kindergartens,” the ARAS statement explained.

The program received a generous sponsorship of $300,000 from Shell Canada, which has enabled the library to dramatically improve rural service. Equipment was purchased to improve attendance at rural events, new collections and services were added, and additional shelving and movable seating made the bookmobile even more flexible, functional and enjoyable.

The funds were also used to improve electricity access and establish free 24/7 hotspots in seven halls in areas where high-speed internet access was limited. This initiative gained momentum when the library partnered with the county on the Rural High Speed ​​Internet Improvement Project – free Internet access is now available in every room and center for Strathcona County seniors.

Diana and her team of Bell Bar Ranch volunteers provided musical ride performances during South Cooking Lake Trail Days, as well as free pony rides at local events. Diana also encouraged young volunteers to participate in library community activities.

She continues to volunteer primarily for ARAS, the South Cooking Lake Community League and the Los Villas/Patricia Glen community. She says the best thing about volunteering is “the lasting friendships that develop along the way.”

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Amalia H. Mercado