Iron Springs an­nual pa­rade and bar­be­cue a go

Prairie Post (West Edition) - - Iron Springs - BY HEATHER CAMERON

It is time for some fun for the ham­let of Iron Springs.

The com­mu­nity which is along High­way 25 be­tween Pic­ture Butte and Turin, will hold their an­nual pa­rade and bar­be­cue on Septem­ber 8.

“We al­ways have it the first Satur­day af­ter La­bor Day,” John Heersink, founder and leader of the Iron Springs Pa­rade com­mit­tee said.

“When we first started out, we thought about hav­ing it in the sum­mer, but you know ev­ery week­end there's so much go­ing on.”

Cel­e­bra­tions be­gin at 6 p.m. with the pa­rade and the bar­be­cue starts at 7 p.m. Due to the re­cent fire ban, there will be no fire­works this year.

How­ever, there will be a bouncy cas­tle, horse­shoes, a tug-of-war, and a home­made pie bak­ing con­test with prizes.

The bar­be­cue costs $5 per per­son, but ev­ery­thing else is free.

The pa­rade came to life in 2012 when Heersink saw a man and his two daugh­ters and the girls were both rid­ing their bikes.

Heersink said he started to chat with them and they were talk­ing about dec­o­rat­ing their bikes, so he jok­ingly said that they should have a pa­rade. With the girl and her sis­ter be­ing in­ter­ested, Heersink and the two girls put on the first pa­rade in Iron Springs.

“We had a very short pa­rade; we didn't have any­thing other than the pa­rade,” Heersink said. “We didn't know what to ex­pect. It was short, but we had about 60 peo­ple watch­ing. And then for the fun of it we de­cided to go around the block again. One of our trade­marks is to take the pa­rade around the block twice.”

The cel­e­bra­tions used to in­clude lawn­mower rac­ing, but the fu­ture of that ac­tiv­ity be­ing part of the cel­e­bra­tions is now in ques­tion be­cause there is cur­rently no place to hold the races.

“The first year we did it was pretty suc­cess­ful, but then the next year we didn't get any pre-reg­is­tra­tions,” Heersink said of the rac­ing.

“We thought we weren't go­ing to have it, but they all showed up the day of. The land we had it on was county land and they al­ways al­lowed the races.”

Un­for­tu­nately, Heersink said that the county sold the land to a pri­vate per­son and that per­son wanted the land to stay pri­vate.

The new owner was also wor­ried about pos­si­ble li­a­bil­i­ties of hav­ing lawn­mower races on their land.

A com­mit­tee con­sist­ing of lo­cals plans the pa­rade and Heersink says that the pa­rade, bar­be­cue, and other ac­tiv­i­ties have no spe­cific bud­get, but they have had food do­na­tions and mon­e­tary do­na­tions from peo­ple.

The cur­rent Iron Springs Pa­rade com­mit­tee con­sists of Tony Anker­mann, Bryan and Han­neke Vande Munt, Larry and Barb Mal­jaars, and Heersink.

“Once you start plan­ning, you find out about how much work it is and how much time it’s go­ing to take.” Heersink said.

Heersink ex­plains one of the new ideas that the pa­rade com­mit­tee is ex­per­i­ment­ing with this year is invit­ing lo­cal busi­nesses to put forth money and they’ll get a sign to put what­ever in­for­ma­tion they want about their busi­ness on it.

The signs will then go on floats in the pa­rade.

“If you have any ideas let us know; if you want to be on a com­mit­tee come and join us,” Heersink said.

“I think peo­ple prob­a­bly have some good ideas but they never think past com­ing to the pa­rade and a cou­ple of weeks later, no­body thinks about it again un­til July.”

Heersink says that the area is very ru­ral and he thinks prob­a­bly half the crowd from the pre­vi­ous year will show up to this year’s pa­rade, but there will also new peo­ple.

“Be­fore com­put­ers and need­ing to run to Leth­bridge for ev­ery­thing, peo­ple would not travel very far and the com­mu­nity prob­a­bly meant a lot more to them in terms of so­cial events than it does now,” Heersink said.

“I would per­son­ally like to see two or three events here but it would take a lot of work and I don't want to be sad­dled with that. I don't think the com­mit­tee wants to be sad­dled with that ei­ther, but peo­ple who might be in­ter­ested in or­ga­niz­ing those things would be great at do­ing that.”

Heersink doesn’t see the pa­rade ex­pand­ing from its cur­rent for­mat or size or change in any way from the sta­tus quo. Heersink would def­i­nitely like to see more of the com­mu­nity tak­ing an ac­tive hand in or­ga­niz­ing the pa­rade and other events.

How­ever, this will not stop him from try­ing to get more in­volved in the pa­rade as the years go on.

“We, the com­mit­tee, want peo­ple to be­come in­volved in the pa­rade,” Heersink said. “We'd love for them to be in­volved in any way pos­si­ble, but the pa­rade is some­thing that we would ap­pre­ci­ate more par­tic­i­pa­tion in. We en­cour­age fam­i­lies to in­volve them­selves rather than just sit and watch.”

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