Family and fun form the foundation for Maple Ridge’s big two days, starting Sept. 12.
That’s when the District of Maple Ridge celebrates its 140th anniversary and looks forward to the future, while looking back at the past.
Both newly arrived residents to Maple Ridge and old-timers can do that over two days at Memorial Peace Park in downtown Maple Ridge.
Friday, Sept. 12, the fun starts at supper time, 5 p.m. and goes to 9:30 p.m.
“It’s a family concert in the park,” said Maple Ridge spokesman Fred Armstrong.
“The focus is just trying to get families down … just having a good time, just a big party that’s going to run over a couple of days. It should be lots of fun.”
After some music to warm up the crowd Friday, speeches and presentations begin at 7 p.m. in the bandstand.
Actors from the Emerald Pig Society will dress up in historic garb and give versions of actual speeches that Maple Ridge’s mayors have made over the past years.
That may leave the audience realizing many of today’s issues were also yesterday’s concerns.
The evening culminates in the cutting of a big birthday cake and it’s hoped the announcement that the provincial government has awarded the district of Maple Ridge city status.
Maple Ridge applied earlier to have its status changed so that it no longer has to use the cumbersome title of district, a move the City of Pitt Meadows made in 2007.
“We’re still waiting to hear from the provincial government on that,” Armstrong said.
Also Friday in Memorial Peace Park, fire and police vehicles will be on display so kids can climb around and parents can get photos.
Saturday, Sept. 13, birthday events also start in Memorial Peace Park, where the Haney Farmers Market and Maple Ridge Museum collaborate to set up several tents that will tell Maple Ridge’s history from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Tents will feature food and farm products made in Maple Ridge during three time periods. The Downtown Maple Ridge Business Improvement Area will have another tent, while two others will feature displays about the aboriginal people in the area as well as agriculture.
“We’re hoping some of the historical farm families will be part of that,” Armstrong said.
Historic displays will also be set up in the bandstand to give a look back into the past.
Winners of another anniversary event will be announced during Saturday celebrations in the park, as well.
Earlier this summer, the district put out calls for entries in its Tweetable Sidewalk Poetry Call.
People were invited to write 140-character Tweetable poems about Maple Ridge.
Deadline to enter is Sept. 2, so you have some time if you want to try your writing skill.
Send entries only by e-mail to: email@example.com.
Also, check out The News’ “I Heart Maple Ridge Photo Contest.”
In partnership with the district and Photo Express, people can submit their photos of Maple Ridge scenery, sports or events and win local gift cards.
Deadline to enter is Sept. 5 at mapleridgenews.com.
Saturday night, the 140th birthday celebrations will wrap up along the Fraser River when Omicron Canada, the developers of the Village at Port Haney, will open up the parking lot along River Road near Port Haney Wharf so people can grab some popcorn or kids can get their faces painted, and when the sun sets, watch the animated feature movie Shark Tale on the wharf.