Debden residents celebrate rain-soaked centennial

The Village of Debden was still happy to celebrate their 100th anniversary, despite the rainy weather. -- Bailey Sutherland/Daily Herald

The Village of Debden didn’t let the weather rain on their parade this weekend as they celebrated their 100th year anniversary with a centennial celebration full of entertainment, culture and history. 

The festivities began on Friday evening with the rededication of the community’s Fatima WWII Memorial, including prayers, songs, reading of veterans’ names and a wreath laying by the Canwood branch of the Royal Canadian Legion.

“There were over 40 men who went off to war and the priest said if everyone came back alive, they would erect a statue in gratitude for the soldiers returning safely,” explained Amanda Cyr, Centennial Celebration committee member.  “That’s a really important aspect of Debden’s history.”

At 7 p.m., the Debden St. Jean Baptiste Parish organized a fully-narrated and interactive play consisting of actors in historical costumes to highlight the important role the church played in the history of the Village. 

A parade through the community at 10:30 a.m. kicked off Saturday’s activities, ending at the Sports Grounds where a car and machinery exhibit waited for visitors and Debden residents alike. 

In the afternoon, the Community Centre hosted heritage sessions with pictures and museum artifacts to commemorate the Village’s events from 1922 to 2022, historical tours by Urgel Bilodeau, and music from Freddie and Sheila Pelletier. 

Back at the Sports Grounds, a welcoming ceremony was followed by local entertainment from Josh and Dylan Nordquist, Rick Hinson, Jersey Lamotte, Laurna Parent, the DeBruijn family, and Cyndi Aarrestad. 

The kids were kept busy all afternoon with a petting zoo and mutton busting, bouncy castles, laser tag, and a free carnival concession with cotton candy, snow cones, and popcorn. 

Sunday morning started with a pancake breakfast, followed by an artisan market and interactive cultural teachings by dancers from local Indigenous and Metis communities. A kid’s artistic corner with face painting and arts and crafts, as well as a foosball tournament were held at the Sports Grounds in the afternoon.

The 100th anniversary ended with a fastball tournament, fireworks and a family dance. 

“I just wanted to say a huge thank you to all our sponsors because without them, we wouldn’t have made this event possible and the generosity is overwhelming,” said Cyr.

Cyr grew up in Debden. She said it was important for her to be a part of the celebrations any way she could. 

“This is really personal because I love our small town spirit. I went to school here, my kids go to school here, I met my husband here,” she explained. “Everyone looks out for each other, everyone helps each other when they need it. It’s a really great community to live in.”