September 10th, 2014 ~ Vol. 84 No. 35
Looking Back - John Kinnear
The Great Canadian Barn Dance
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
Second floor fun for all
So this summer has been for Lorraine and me a series of wonderful adventures travelling to dance jamborees in Alberta communities like Condor, Hanna and Eckville. There we found great music, lots of dancing and a chance to meet people from all across the western provinces. Boy, what I can tell you that farmers and ranchers know how to have a good time. The events were a mix of camaraderie, great food and some serious dancing by high stepping, hard working people. It is a great way to stay in shape and to make new friends.
So to wrap up the on-the-road dancing season we took our motorhome out to a dance bash that was literally in our back yard, right there in the eastern foothills near Hill Spring. About thirty miles south and east of Pincher Creek is where you will find the Great Canadian Barn Dance grounds. Set near a small lake with the Rockies as its spectacular western backdrop, the facility and attached campground has the perfect family set up for a good, clean, alcohol free time for young and old alike.
They offer full service RV camping, a Bed and Breakfast lodge or a 3 bedroom cottage. All are conveniently located in close proximity to the 103 year old adapted barn where some serious stomping and eating goes down.
Great Canadian is a family run full service resort and the Kunkel family who cook and serve an amazing dinner are also the musicians that kick out a great variety of tunes for listening or dancing. Good old fashioned down home entertainment. Trevor Kunkel, who seems to just bubble over with enthusiasm and humour, tells me that it is the people who come there that drive them to such lengths. To be able to share good food and entertainment with multiple generations is what makes it all go around for them.
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And entertainment there is. From May thru September one can attend Friday night dinner shows with a seven piece band of top notch players that engage the audience in some hilarious routines. Or you can opt for the Saturday night barn dance and dinner that includes beef that you won’t need a knife for. The second level of the barn has a great dance floor and stage and a nice view from its huge deck looking east. The barn walls are decorated with hundreds of record covers and signatures and postings from the thousands that have whooped it up there through the last 28 years. In the finest tradition of old country barn dances you will find young and old alike trying out line dancing, the two step or the tricky dances like the seven step polka.
The facility offers special RV packaging for the weekend with the option of doing one or both days with a Sunday morning pancake breakfast thrown in to round it out. The family can go for wagon rides or small canoe trips around the big pond or break away during the day to Cardston or Waterton both of which are only 50 kilometers away. They even have a special group pavilion with a kitchen area and a fire pit where groups can gather for private functions.
According to the Kunkel’s: “It is just amazing. We are in the middle of nowhere, but we are – in some ways – in the middle of everything with three world heritage sites nearby as well as the carriage museum. Kids are really over stimulated these days, so just going back to the basics is soothing for them. We bring everybody under one roof, feed them and then play some great dancing music. The family gets to enjoy each other’s company, and people see the transformation in their kids."
There are still three weekends of regular Friday and Saturday events left in their season with a special Summer’s End Harvest Festival and Fiddle Jam on Saturday September 27th.
November 1st there is a Halloween Dance at the barn and for the five weekends from mid-November till mid December there are Cowboy Christmas Dinner’s held on the Friday and Saturday that includes a festive dinner with all the trimmings and a live stage show of Christmas songs.
So if you are looking for good down home vitals and top notch family entertainment think about the Great Canadian Barn Dance. Check them out on the web for details. It is a hootenanny you won’t soon forget.
September 10th ~ Vol. 84 No. 35
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