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June 25th, 2014 ~ Vol. 84 No. 25
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Looking Back - John Kinnear
Hillcrest 100 - A Rip Roaring Success
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
John Kinnear Photo
Candle tribute at Coleman Seniors Hall
It is hard to put into words just how proud and impressed I was at the events that unfolded last Wednesday through Saturday as four years of serious planning unfolded like clockwork for the Hillcrest Mine Disaster Memorial Committee. I can’t say enough about the unwavering commitment of hundreds of volunteers who made these four days of acknowledgement shine. This so important commemoration and celebration showed the world what the people of the Crowsnest Pass are made of.
Wednesday night at the Crowsnest Museum and the Coleman Seniors Hall was a rip roaring success and had some very profound moments for the attendees. The hall was packed and prior to the very successful auction of the first solid silver and gold plated coins commemorative coins and the tag 189 print everyone in the hall lit up a purple candle after which a minute’s silence was held. Belle Kovach and Mary Bole couldn’t sign copies of their new book Snowing In June fast enough and I hear the first run has already sold out. The new exhibit: Hillcrest 100 at the museum is a must see.
Thursday will stand out in my mind for a long time as I was invited to be part of a commemorative march of coal miners as part of the re-creation of the funeral cortege to the mass grave. Hundreds of guests and dignitaries stood by later to pay tribute to the men lost and to the fabulous enhancements at the cemetery. A sixteen man contingent of the Crowsnest Pass Masonic order was also on hand to pay special tribute. Later that day there was a reception at the Miner’s Hall and that night James Keelaghan, Connie Kaldor and Tim Hus put on a fabulous concert at the big tent at the Hillcrest ball grounds. Keelaghan’s lyrics from his Hillcrest Mine song: “Cause it’s one short step – You might leave this world behind” became permanently stuck in everyone’s head for the rest of the weekend.
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Friday saw the official opening of the Frank Slide Hillcrest display: “Voices of Disaster: The Hillcrest Experience” which is absolutely first class and the Bellevue Mine put on a remembrance ceremony complete with live music and guided tours. Both events were standing room only and there were dozens of out-of-towners that had specific connections to those lost at Hillcrest that were at every single event of the weekend. Later that night the big tent program hosted the Turning Point Dancers, six respected local musicians lent a local flavour to the evening and finally The Coal Creek Boys kicked up a storm.
Saturday’s Bellecrest Days pancake breakfast, parade and family afternoon gathering was blessed with perfect weather and hundreds of children and parents enjoyed the festivities at the Coal and Coke Park later. The Maria Dunn “Troublemakers: Working Albertans 1900-1950” concert at the Hillcrest Miner’s Club was first class as usual and Maria said that it was: “ very meaningful to me that we were in the actual physical space of the Miners Club” to do this important tribute. Later on Jordan McIntosh, Aaron Pritchett and Emerson Drive wrapped up this four day blast with a first rate concert at that amazing big tent.
All in all a first class event that really showcased a united Crowsnest Pass and demonstrated to everyone the extraordinary level of commitment and dedication that exists here, promoting our blessed community and its heritage resources.
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June 25th ~ Vol. 84 No. 25
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