For over 20 years, Spruce Avenue Community League has held a Harvest Festival in September.

“It started off with a very low attendance,” said Verna Stainthorp, secretary and treasurer of the league. Since then, the festival has grown in popularity, with around 150 people expected to attend this year. “It’s been well-received by people. It’s a time for people to get together,” said Stainthorp.

This year, the Harvest Festival will include celebrating Spruce Avenue’s 65th anniversary. While all community members are invited, Stainthorp is hoping former residents also attend. From 2 pm until 6 pm, residents can hop on a horse-drawn hayride or enjoy some chili. Families can participate in the penny carnival and face painting. Depending on the weather, the spray park may be open. Other activities are still being confirmed.

The festival is also an opportunity for people to learn more about the league. For example, Spruce Avenue has an excellent skating rink and community league members have free access to it.

During the festival, memberships are available to purchase and the Front Yards in Bloom nominees are also announced.

“I think there’s about 60 yards this year that have been nominated. When we started participating in Front Yards in Bloom about eight years ago, there was about 15 nominees,” said Stainthorp.

She explained that yards don’t have to be elaborate. “It’s the effort that’s put in. We have some elderly people still in their homes and many still make an effort.”

Because of the community league’s anniversary, a history project is underway and a pop-up museum (a table) will be at the festival. The museum will allow residents to share some community history.

“We’d like to invite people to bring in a piece of the history of this community,” said Stainthorp. That history might include something like pictures, stories, or even a milk bottle. “Maybe this information will be in people’s basements.”

Wesley Andreas, who is helping with the project, recently tracked down photos of Spruce Avenue School under construction. He found the photo in Calgary. “We want to get a feeling of what the community was like 65 years ago.”

The history project is still new, with information being gathered. “We had a table at our garage sale and had quite the response. It generated quite a bit of conversation and memories.”

One goal is to speak to some long-term community members and record those conversations. “We are very lucky to have residents who are keen on preserving history,” said Stainthorp. “I’m just so pleased it’s gained some momentum.”

It hasn’t yet been determined how the project will be presented, but it may be housed at the provincial archives.

Header Image:  Hop on a hayride during Spruce Avenue’s Harvest Festival. Credit: Verna Stainthorp

Harvest Festival

Sept. 17 from 2 – 6 pm
Spruce Avenue Community League Hall
10240 – 115 Avenue