It might come as a bit of a surprise to learn that the Riverboat Daze parade will not be going through the heart of downtown Slave Lake this year. That makes two big changes in two years for the parade – last year’s switch from Saturday morning to Friday evening perhaps being the bigger of the two.
Slave Lake & District Chamber of Commerce President Francesca Giroux told Chamber members at the May meeting she had taken some flak for the change of days last year. But despite that, it’s going to be on Friday evening again this year. Not only that, it’s not going to take its usual route through downtown along Main St. Instead, it uses 2nd St. NE to cover those two blocks between 4th Ave and 1A Ave. (the old town office to the post office), entering Main St. opposite Citizen’s Park and heading south from there.
The Chamber will probably take some flak for that as well, but if the ‘Rock the Block’ block party that follows the parade is even half as good as last year’s was, the complaints probably won’t amount to much. One thing is clear to most people: Riverboat Daze was in need of a shot in the arm. With the block party, it got one and now in Year 2 it’s a matter of making it even better. One way to do that, Giroux says, is to improve safety. With part of downtown already blocked off for the block party, big equipment had to move the barriers for the parade to come through and then put them back. With kids running around, this was deemed worth avoiding. The other consideration had to do with horse manure. Vendors set up in the downtown area didn’t like having to clean it up after the parade. This year, they won’t. Somebody else will have to clean it up, obviously, but it won’t be the vendors.
Last week the Chamber released its official activities schedule for Riverboat Daze.
Another tweak this year is that the regular Friday farmers’ market is going to be held downtown, moving over from its regular location at the multi rec centre. The plan is to have it wrapped up by 2:00 p.m. and out of there in time for the block party vendors to start setting up. A live band has also been booked for the block party, Chamber manager Laurie Hodge tells us. She also tells us much of the above is pending permits from the town.