The summer of 2016 was a fantastic year filled with many wonderful events. Here’s a look at a few of the festivities that took place this year – many of which are held annually, meaning if you didn’t get the chance to join in on the fun this year – there’s always next year.

Gooseberry Lake Rodeo

This event took place June 17 to 19 and celebrated its 53rd year with fun for the whole family, including a chili cook-off to kick off the festivities. Featuring everything from a beer garden to rodeo performances, face painting for the kids, and a family dance. If you are interested in attending this event in the future, it is always held on Father’s Day weekend.

Hanna Indoor Pro Rodeo

Hanna’s biggest event of the year is the indoor rodeo which is always held near the end of September. It is the last pro-rodeo before the Canadian Finals Rodeo in November. In addition to the rodeo events you would expect to find, you can partake in a “high noon shoot out”, arts and crafts show, wild pony races, as well as a museum to wander around in and soak up rodeo history.

Jenner Rodeo  

This rodeo celebrated its 4th year and although it’s small in stature, it’s big in heart. In Jenner it is all about family and that is precisely what this celebration is all about. This rodeo provides an opportunity for you and your family to enjoy events like calf roping, bareback and bull riding as well as a beer garden, music and on-site camping for the weekend.

Oyen Bullarama

Oyen Bullarama began with a goal of bringing together the best bulls and riders in Canada to raise money for the town. This is what the Town of Oyen continued to do in its 18th year. Renamed the White Lightning Dodge Professional Cowboy Crunch, it continues to prove that it is a hit every year.

Expect bloodless bullfighting at Bullarama but just remember that bloodless doesn’t mean boring. With more than 4,000 people in the stands, the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association-sponsored event leads into the Calgary Stampede quite nicely. A definite must see if you are around Oyen next summer.

Big Gap Centennial

Did you know that close to 10,000 people attended the Big Gap Stampede nearly 100 years ago? The first Big Gap Stampede was held on July 9, 1916. Big Gap is a celebration of days gone by and a chance to celebrate history while having fun with your family.

People from all over the province came to Consort to take part in this two-day event. To commemorate this time in history, they hosted a wagon trek and trail ride through the scenic Neutral Hills where the event originated.

The event featured food, drinks, a Mini Ranch Rodeo, bannock making, photo booth and much more. The East Central Housing Society met in early October and decided to celebrate the event again next year – so if you missed the event in 2016, check it out in 2017.

Compeer Steak Fry

This annual event kicks off spring in Compeer. The community gathers to celebrate and eat some delicious barbecued steak. This year’s festivities featured some amazing food and great local music.

Arcadia Valley Sausage Fry

We turn from steaks to a homemade sausage fry that happens every October in Arcadia Valley. This celebration is in honour of the community, the farewell of summer and the welcoming of fall.

This year’s event included a performance by The Chevelles, a local band from Lethbridge. A night out with dinner and a dance – this event is a wonderful family out. Plus, did we mention the homemade sausage?

Up In Smoke BBQ Competition

This event annually brings out some of the best BBQ’ers in the province to Alberta’s Special Areas. Originally started in 2014 as a charity, this BBQ and Beans team event has become the go-to celebration of the summer.

You get your meat, you get your beans you cook them how you like (following the rules of course) and then you are judged on taste and technique. Then after all is said and done you FEAST, and what a feast it is.

It is an all-around family affair, with tons of activities for both adults and kids. If you don’t feel like participating in the cook-off, you can just sit on a bench and smell all the magical aromas for the day.

This event usually happens in August and this year it celebrated its 4th year of smoky goodness in Jenner.


Highway 41 Pheasant Festival

If you thought you’ve seen it all, well then you have a surprise coming your way. Oyen and Consort, collectively organized a group pheasant hunt for both teams and singles. You can have up to six hunters in your group or you can sign up as a solo hunter and they will happily put you into a group.

The hunt begins in the morning and goes all day, with about 40 roosters, in 40 different sections, for 40 different teams. The end of the hunting day consisted of a fully catered supper, with refreshments and raffles.

All proceeds from the event went towards supporting the Oyen and Consort communities. With the help of organizers and volunteers, this event was a complete success.

If you’ve always wanted to try your shot in pheasant hunting, keep an eye on their Facebook page for follow up events.

What an entertaining summer season we had in 2016. Let us know what event you’re looking forward to most in Special Areas for next summer!