The Pioneer Acres Annual Show is returning to Irricana Aug. 10 to 12, for its 49th celebration of pioneering, homesteading and early Canadian history.
According to Lyle Rowe, show chairman, appreciation for the province’s history and its artifacts has been growing – despite the age of the event and the now-90-year-old volunteers still committed to keeping the show going. It’s an important and fun way to preserve the history of the prairies, he said.
“[It’s] largely around collection and restoration of artifacts, but more so retaining a record of memorabilia and nostalgia of what our pioneering and homesteading grandparents or great-grandparents had to live like and go through to persevere and thrive on the prairies,” Rowe said.
The thousands of visitors he said the event draws are treated to a swath of showcases and activities to learn more about what rural Alberta used to look like.
Horse-drawn plowing, barrel races and a car and truck parade are a few in a number of activities taking place throughout the weekend. Antique tractor pulls are always a hit, Rowe said. But the annual show also offers popular demonstrations of craftsmanship in wooden-wheel building and blacksmithing – where kids traditionally leave with a handmade nail.
New this year, Rowe added, is a history session on Allis-Chalmers and Rumely Tractors and Equipment. He also highlighted an acrylic painting workshop, offered for $20, where participants can create their own artworks.
Other events, like slow races, showcase expert understanding of old tractors that require perfect tuning to ride as slowly as possible without the tractor dying, Rowe said. With a true “slow and steady wins the race” attitude, the tractor that takes the longest amount of time to travel 100 yards wins.
“It’s very slow paced, on the weekend of the show,” Rowe said. “People come from the rat race in the city and they’re shocked – we move around, but not very fast.”
Regardless, he added, attendees come from all over Western Canada – some even arrive from the United States, driving vintage highway tractor-trucks used for commercial hauling.
Aside from the pioneering highlights, free entertainment will be available at the Stampede Stage all weekend long. Kids’ activities, like potato-sack races and wheelbarrow races start Aug. 11 at 2 p.m. The Pioneer Market will run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day of the show.
Admission to the event, held just north of Irricana along Township Road 274, is $12.