The Slave Lake Legion has re-opened, with physical distancing and other health precautions. Starting Tuesday, September 22, weekly and monthly events, except crib, are up and running. All events are open to members and guests.
“Anyone can drop in,” says Legion president, Beth McDonald. A member will be willing to sign the newcomer in as a guest. The only requirement is that guests leave before or at the same time as their host.
Weekly and monthly events are the Legions main sources of income for upkeep.
“The community has supported us hugely,” says McDonald. “We need to get back to normal operations to keep the doors open.” So far, the Slave Lake Legion has been able to pay its bills. Some other Legions aren’t as lucky.
Any Canadian citizen can be a member of the Legion. There are different levels of membership. The biggest difference is only veterans and their families can receive Poppy Fund and other support.
The Slave Lake Legion has two weekly events: bingo and ‘comradeship.’
Bingo started on Tuesday, September 22. One of the biggest changes is that the doors do not open until it begins at 6 p.m. Bingo players are encouraged to wait in their cars as the weather is getting cooler.
Each Friday there is ‘comradeship’, which includes darts, shuffleboard and 8-ball pool. Normally, the card game crib is also played, but card games are not allowed under the current health regulations. This starts at 6:30 p.m.
“They’re (Legion members) really missing their crib,” says McDonald. During the pandemic, not having bingo and crib have been the biggest complaints she received.
“Once the casinos can do their full card games, we can do crib,” she says. The problem is four people sitting at one table and switching up groups often.
Traditionally, the last Friday of the month is steak night at the Legion. The first one since March will be next Friday, September 25.
With increased food costs, the Legion had to raised the price by a dollar a plate to $18, says McDonald. The meal will be served instead of buffet style. It includes steak, baked potato, fixings, Caesar salad, coleslaw, dessert, coffee and tea. The bar is open for ‘comradeship’ and the steak night.
Ever since the Mayerthorpe shooting on March 3, 2005, the Slave Lake Legion has had a peace officer appreciation supper in October. They invite the RCMP, DOT, bylaw officers, and Fish and Wildlife. This year, there won’t be a supper, but will be some type of recognition.
Remembrance Day is the highlight of the Legion calendar. Usually, this includes a vigil by the Slave Lake Air Cadets at the memorial in front of the legion, a graveside service, a public service, and a chili supper.
The Legion members are in the midst of figuring out how to hold a Remembrance Day event within the health guidelines and will announce the plan later. This will also include how people can purchase poppies.