"Thank you so much Saskatoon for such a phenomenal evening."
- Serena Ryder, at 2013 SaskTel Saskatchewan Jazz Festival
|eBulletin - July 2013|
BY QC STAFF / BRIDGES
It’s undeniable. Summer is the best time of year in Saskatchewan. From festivals to weekends at the lake, there are many ways to have fun and keep busy — or relax. Caitlin Taylor, the Saskatchewanderer, is planning a mission to the Athabasca Sand Dunes; musician Theresa Sokyrka is looking forward to digging in her garden; after 17 seasons with the Roughriders, Gene Makowsky’s summers are free for BBQs; the province’s curling sensation Amber Holland thrives in winter but loves summertime on her patio.
Q. What are your plans for this summer now that you’re back from touring?
A. I’ve been rent-less for a year, so the summer will be dedicated to finding a decently priced place to live on my own in Saskatoon. I plan to do a lot of yard work at my rental property. I own a home in Buena Vista and I really love gardening. I haven’t had the chance to do it over the last two years, so it’ll be nice to dig in the dirt for a little while. Maybe plant some delicious vegetables in my backyard and just eat them all! But I definitely hope to get out to Emma Lake and Waskesiu to hang with my friends for a little while. I’m really looking forward to being here.
Q. What’s your go-to event in the summer?
A. (I was) back for jazz festival, which is really great. I haven’t been back for jazz fest for about four years.I’ll hopefully try to make it to Ness Creek. I’m just going to try to get to as many festivals as I can and just take in a beautiful, beautiful Saskatchewan summer.
Q. What’s the neatest thing you’ve got to do so far this summer?
A. Trying to find wild horses (in the Bronson Forest in Frenchman Butte). We weren’t really sure if we were going to see them. We looked all day. We were on the quad for like six hours driving around trying to find them, but we couldn’t. We decided to get up at like six in the morning and go out again and we found them the second time. I was so glad we gave it another shot. I moved to B.C. to work for a horse trainer and I’ve been riding since I was little. I have a passion for horses and seeing wild ones has always been a dream of mine.
Q. What do you think is the best kept secret in Saskatchewan during the summer?
A. There is actually so much to do and see in Saskatchewan. I get to dedicate my entire summer to doing that and I’m finding that there isn’t enough time to do all of it. I’ve already been having to make tough decisions like, “Do I want to do that or this,” because two great festivals happen to be on the same weekend. I think the best-kept secret is that there’s such a variety of things to do. There’s so many lakes, but then there’s also Mosaic, fashion week, go-karting, camping and museums and all that kind of stuff. There’s just so much to do and see. I think that Saskatchewan’s best-kept secret is its variety of activities.
BY ANGLEINA IRINICI, THE STARPHOENIX
The lindy hop dance was born in the 1920s and ’30s in Harlem, New York, and now it’s being danced every Tuesday night at River Landing in Saskatoon.Saskatoon Lindy Hop organizes Swingin’ on the Saskatchewan, a weekly event where everyone is welcome to a free one-hour swing dance lesson followed by music and dancing until it gets dark.
“The organization really exists to give people the opportunity to dance and provide some intro level instruction so that people can jump in and start to learn a bit,” says Sharissa Hantke, Lindy Hop’s past president (she is currently helping the new president transition into the role).
Saskatoon Lindy Hop is a not-for-profit organization that aims to promote swing dancing, its music and the vintage culture that goes along with it. The group has about 30 volunteer members that organize the weekly event at River Landing as well as an indoor dance event once a month. Hantke says that they see new faces each week; around 30 people show up for the free lesson and more come for the dancing afterward or just to watch.
Ashley Pachkowsky, 27, has been going to Swingin’ on the Saskatchewan since last fall and appreciates the “warm and friendly” crowd it draws in. It doesn’t hurt that the group gets to dance with the beautiful South Saskatchewan River in view.
“It’s just the most wonderfully old time romantic feeling when the music’s perfect at night and when the river’s down and just reflecting the light. It’s beautiful,” says Pachkowsky.
A number of other dancers agree, especially about the friendliness of Saskatoon Lindy Hop volunteers. Hantke says that being inclusive is the group’s goal. People of all ages — high school students to seniors — get out to dance together at River Landing.
“(We) have a crazy mix of people that normally wouldn’t be together that are all really interested in dance,” says Hantke. “People (are) just embraced as they are. Some people come out and they’re really bad at dancing, but they are persistent … and there are people supporting them along the way.”
Suzette Redondo is 63, but she says she feels 36, especially when she’s dancing. She stumbled across Swingin’ on the Saskatchewan last summer while she and her sisters were out for a walk, and has been involved ever since. Dancing is nostalgic for Redondo — she moved to Saskatoon two years ago from the Philippines, where she used to dance with her father and siblings at celebrations. Swingin’ on the Saskatchewan has helped her connect to her home country.
She says she likes the exercise and enjoys meeting new people. She decided to become a member of Saskatoon Lindy Hop because she wanted to learn new steps.
“I have something to look forward to. I just love it.” She adds, “Life is so beautiful here.”
The dancers have brought in a fan or two. Louis Mayrand, 78, lives near River Landing and while he laments that he can’t dance anymore due to his arthritis, he comes out religiously to watch the dancers.
“Music is good for the soul. I like music; it kind of cheers me up. It’s nice to see active young people,” he says.
Swingin’ on the Saskatchewan is at the River Landing amphitheatre every Tuesday night, weather permitting. The free lesson starts at 7 p.m., followed by dancing until it gets dark.
BY ANGELINA IRINICI, THE STARPHOENIX
Cirkuit 365 (Cody Watier) was among the first graffiti artists to paint on the “Warman Wall” — a sound barrier belonging to a homeowner on Warman Road and Duchess Street. Local graffiti artists have been painting a different mural on the wall each summer since 2008. It’s become a staple sight in the city; cars slow down as they drive past and wedding parties and high school graduates take photos in the front of the wall. Right now, it’s painted rainbow colours (in support of Saskatoon Pride Festival) and includes a special piece: Cirkuit recently completed a mural to raise epilepsy awareness.
Q. Why is the wall your favourite place in Saskatoon?
A. (For graffiti) because of the good exposure and the high amount of traffic and people that go by every day. Also, I prefer to paint on cement versus wood or drywall — it’s a lot easier for the can control. It’s a really cool wall; I like the idea that he lets people paint on it and it kind of promotes graffiti as an art form versus vandalism.
Q. Can you tell us about what’s on the wall now?
A. This lady that works for the Saskatoon Epilepsy organization came to the owner of the wall and she had the idea that she wanted to promote epilepsy awareness. He messaged me and asked me if I wanted to take part in that mural and I was happy to do so.
Q. What is the significance?
A. The purple (stands for) the official colour for epilepsy awareness and the black and white (is symbolic) of the flashing strobe that is used to diagnose epilepsy. People may think optical illusions (part of the background) cause seizures, but it’s the flashing lights that cause it.
Q. How long did it take?
A. This one took about 10 hours, but the other one (on the side backing an alley) took about 20. It takes anywhere from five to 20 hours depending on the amount of detail.
Q. What’s the reaction from people who see you while you’re painting?
A. Most people that drive by honk and give me the thumbs up. Or lots of people will actually pull in here and get out and talk for a little bit about it. Most people like it, and of all different ages, so that’s really cool.
Summer and festivals go hand in hand in our lively city. Though the smooth rhythms of the SaskTel Saskatchewan Jazz Festival have passed, there is still much more to look forward to. Here is a round-up of the remaining summer festivals and events you can’t miss.
Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan (July 10 - August 25)
A Taste of Saskatchewan (July 16 - 21)
PotashCorp Fringe Theatre Festival (August 1 - 10)
Saskatoon Exhibition (August 6 - 11)
Saskatoon Folkfest (August 15 - 17)
Discover more great events at tourismsaskatoon.com.
Source: Tourism Saskatoon Tumblr
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