Centennial Home Coming and Canada Day Celebrations
Community spirit along with the Saskatchewan and Canadian pride were abundant at the Jansen and District Centennial Homecoming and Canada Day celebrations. The planning committee was active for the two years previous to the event. The entire village led by a tireless and dedicated mayor, Dave Renwick responded to the call for the community clean-up and rejuvenation. The registration group led by Karen Renz, Connie Paetsch and Donelda Klinger compiled their lists, contacting many former residents and they were met with an enthusiastic response. John and Elaine Kral made hand painted signs that indicated the sites of past businesses & buildings. Twenty-five large flower pots were planted with petunias and placed on main street. The tent was erected, supplies were in place and our treasurer Angel Liebrecht gave birth to a beautiful, healthy baby boy (Carson) on June 21. Now Angel could more comfortably handle her duties (the Liebrechts are very organized), Roy Klinger had the parking in order, the new village sign was in place, we all prayed for good weather and waited for our families and friends to return for the celebration.
The festivities began in earnest, July 1, with the unveiling of the Bieberdorf marker/sign at the site of the former school and the registration began at the community centre. The incredible antique display collected from local residents, organized by Mardelle Craven-Robson and Jo Schindel was opened for all to enjoy. They were assisted by Laureen Hamilton. 410 enthused guests would visit this display over the weekend.
As the sun sank lower in the West, the annual Kinsmen Canada Day celebration began. MC Dave Renwick spoke of our wonderful country, its advantages, our great lifestyle and of the pride we should have for our nation. The Lanigan Royal Canadian Legion members were again in attendance to raise our flag as we all proudly sang,"O Canada". Awards of recognition were presented to the Legion members for their ongoing support and participation in Canada Day ceremonies, to the Century farm families, the Birtles, Elke, Harmel-Wacker, McLaren and Daelick families. Brady Wacker was honoured as a valuable member of the Saskatoon Contacts, winners of the Telus Cup signifying midget hockey supremacy in Canada. Soon the kids rides were in motion, Walter Klinger and his family were barbequing the hot dogs, the ice cream and Canada Day cake were served as all waited for darkness and the fireworks. The fireworks, engineered by David Torwalt, Ken Briske and Albert Cardinal were spectacular, the fantastic display went on and on, to the delight of everyone. The children enhanced the fireworks even more by running around the ball diamond wearing, tossing and rolling all colours of glow sticks. It was an amazing sight.
Saturday dawned bright and clear, to the relief and delight of the organizers. All were served a delicious pancake and beef sausage breakfast, coordinated by Kathy Jones and Zion Lutheran Church, the beef locally grown and donated by the Mills and Krause ranches. Soon everyone drifted to main street where all eyes were fixed on the old school grounds (behind the store) where parade marshals Linda and Elmer Kinzel were organizing the Homecoming Parade. At 11:00 Irvin Kiehn led the parade down main street as he has done since the 1960's, followed by the flag bearers Robbie and Tammy Krieger and our RCMP officers, locals Bob Briske and Edwin Langner, in their red uniforms---and what a parade!! 70 entries consisting of beautiful, shiny, antique cars and tractors, an old combine(Elmer would be proud) and the new, sprayers, seeders, horses, trucks, wagons and buggy's, Andy Anderson as Candy the Clown, road maintenance machinery, the Haliburton Jug Band, floats representing businesses, churches, school, service clubs, hockey teams, and ranches all wound their way through the village to the immense enjoyment of the throng that lined the streets.
Following the parade, the booths coordinated by Karen Renz and Melissa Klinger opened on the sports grounds, the family ball teams hit the fields for a mini tournament coordinated by Dave Renwick, Reinhold Schroeder organized horseshoe matches, Audrey and Leonard Crowe hosted the bowling at Prairie Rose Bowl, the kids activities(directed by Arden & Cheryl Bach & Sandy Mills-rides, scavenger hunt and face painting kept all occupied and entertained. The hot dogs, local ranch burgers and the shady refreshing beer tent kept everyone content and able to visit or cheer on their favourite team or competitor. Eva Elke and Al Shumaker attracted a crowd near the very busy antique display with their fine singing and playing. At 1:00 o'clock a project headed by Bruce Elke became reality as the Jansen Library was renamed the C.M. Buckaway Library in honour of a former resident of Jansen, Catherine Buckaway, well known and respected in literary circles for her poetry. Scarlett Block, daughter of Catherine, unveiled the plaque. Lynda Schroeder was mistress of ceremonies. The new Jansen website, Jansen.ca, was launched.
As the afternoon waned, Sarah's Cottage catered a banquet in the Community Centre for 750 hungry souls. Linda Liebrecht, Karen Renz and Connie Paetsch were coordinators. By 9:00 o'clock the tables were cleared, the floor was ready, and the Braitenbach Orchestra with Ervine Braitenbach- accordion, Ella Braitenbach- piano & violin, Ervin Hein- banjo and Wilf Hein- guitar & vocals opened the dance playing the same enjoyable old time music they have always played. In the tent "Sunset Music" played the sounds of the younger set. After 10:00 the band nostalgia continued as the "Roadrunners" returned to the stage after many years. In the reunion band were Forrest Pederson- trumpet, Keith Kammer- guitar and violin, Ed Pappenfoot-bass, Rod, Rick and Aron Koshinsky-drums, Bud Guenther- Saxophone, Darren Robson- keyboards and Jack Robson- guitar & accordion. One of the highlights of the evening was the rendition of "Wipeout" by the three drummers on one set of drums. Behind the scenes were the workers that kept the event running smoothly, Lorne Paetsch, Rod Liebrecht, Elmer Kinzel. Dwayne Koshinsky, David Arnst, Bruce Elke, Dennis Neugebauer, Terry Renz, Nathan Klinger and many more. It was an night of reminiscing, a return to the old songs, the Saturday night dances and the memories of the years past when we were younger, the life simpler, and our years stretched before us.
Early Sunday morning brought clouds and rain so the outdoor Ecumenical Church Service moved into the Community centre. Over 300 jammed the auditorium for a wonderful service led by Pastor Mark Hedlin with assistance from Pastor Brent Reimer. The music was led by the upbeat youthful sounds of the Baptist Church praise team. Pastor Mark in his message reminded everyone that this homecoming was great but nothing compared with the final homecoming with the Lord.
Sarah's Cottage then served a delicious brunch to all assembled before the tables were cleared and chairs set up for the talent show coordinated by Linda Liebrecht, Charles Wildeman and Jack Robson. Darren Robson who was our sound technician for the weekend, was the very capable MC for the show. The audience were treated to the talents of: Wilf Hein with his composition, "Hello Jansen", The Town and Country Cloggers- Laureen and Ramona Hamilton, Edwinna Kiehn, Michelle Dick, Brenda Simpson, Ruth Gibney, and Blake Carroll; Jerry Sikorski who makes his own mandolins from many unique objects and plays them all; Charlie Elke with her great song, 'Suds in the Bucket"; Award winning Highland Dancers Mattea and Wyatt Cowell(Grandchildren of Emil and Vorgeen Wacker); Ian Krieger sang two of his compositions, including a selection he wrote about returning to the old farm home, that touched many hearts; Horst and Ruby(Langner) Naujok with their very fine voices were greatly appreciated by all; Shelly (Lynch) Hein as always, was very enjoyable as she sang "Emma Jeans Guitar" The last item on the program was the Gospel Quartet "Jack and the Blocks" featuring, Walter, Donovan and Harlan Block and Jack Robson with Adeline Block on the piano.
Darren thanked all of the performers, he acknowledged and thanked the organizers and volunteers that made the homecoming possible, successful, very memorable and emotional for the "lost flock that have come home". There were tears in many eyes as we all stood, joined hands and sang "Auld Lang Syne" conscious of the fact that our time together was very precious, and when another homecoming occurs many of us may not be here.
It was a wonderful time, we made more memories, we rekindled old friendships and although we travel far away and disperse throughout our continent and perhaps the world, may we never forget our old hometown.