BY CHRISTINE PENNER POLLE
Red Lake’s iconic summer celebration of the region’s aviation history is just around the corner. The 2014 Norseman Festival is a two-weekend event that has something for everyone to enjoy.
The fun starts on Friday July 18 with the Rubicon-sponsored Family Movie Night at Centennial Park. Festival organizer Ron Robinson reminds folks to bring lawn chairs and some bug repellant. This free (by donation) event starts at 9:30 p.m. and features The Lego Movie.
The action continues the next day at the Red Lake Airport where transportation in general, and airplanes in particular, will be front and centre. There will be “lots of cool airplanes” showcased on Saturday, according to Red Lake Airport Manager and festival organizer Duane Riddell. For example, the Canadian military will be on hand with a helicopter and fighter-trainer Harvard 2.
“We’re hoping to get people interested in aviation,” said Riddell. “There is no charge for attending the runway events, although if you can give a donation, please give.”
Also on the runway will be an antique car show. Riddell encourages anybody with a special car or motorcycle they would like to display to get in touch with him.
Any folks who are feeling particularly brave and who want to experience a “thrill of a lifetime” in a Harv’s Air Pitts Special shouldn’t wait to call the airport to book the 30 minute flight. The $300 price tag didn’t stop people last year from signing up to experience aerial tumbles, inverted flight, and vertical and snap rolls. The flights were offered for an extra day because of the demand.
The fun continues into the evening, when Nelson Little and his band hit the airport for the fourth “Rock the Runway” event.
“We’re happy to start off the festival with Rock the Runway,” said Riddell, adding that the $20 ticket fee for adults is a great deal compared to most live music events.
The following weekend is the official Norseman Festival weekend. It runs from July 25 to July 27. The Slo Pitch Tournament is on all weekend at the Dan Kucheran ball field in Red Lake, with the adjacent outdoor skating rink turning into a beer garden for the weekend.
Saturday will see the downtown closed off and taken over by a mix of vendors and entertainment. The $5 entrance fee gets participants into the street festival which will include inflatable “Fun-tastic” activity centres and a variety of child-friendly participatory games. The fireworks display is set for dusk, and after that the music and the Much Music street dance party begins.
The small group of hard-working volunteers which has organized this year’s Norseman activities is hoping people will experience the street festival as a family-friendly party.
“It’s the Norseman festival, but it’s also a family party. We’re going to focus on the games, and just having a great variety. So people can come down, and grab a hot dog, then play two or three games, and watch the CL415 demonstration, and then go play some more games,” said Robinson. “The whole sense is just to go out and have a fun afternoon.”
Hopefully the weather will be festival-friendly and Red Lakers of all ages will come out to enjoy this community-wide celebration full of music, fun, and aviation.