Kraft Celebration Tour hosts party in the parking lot

Jodi Schellenberg
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Published on August 20, 2014

The local organizing committee and city representatives are presented with a $25,000 cheque. They will find out the winner of the additional $75,000 on Monday.

Published on August 20, 2014

Left: The Prince Albert Raiders were on hand to sign autographs during the Kraft Celebration Tour on Wednesday. Right: Mayor Greg Dionne accepted the ALS ice bucket challenge and performed his challenge during the Kraft Celebration Tour on Wednesday.

Published on August 20, 2014

Despite the rainy weather, a large crowd came out to support the Kraft Celebration Tour on Wednesday.

Published on August 20, 2014

Left: One of the fun activities for families was a basketball shooting game, where they tried to get a basket from a certain distance. Right: During the Kraft Celebration Tour there was a free barbecue for families and patrons, complete with Kraft products.

Published on August 20, 2014

A group of lifeguards joined those playing in the pool for some extra planned fun and games during the Kraft Celebration Tour on Wednesday.

Published on August 20, 2014

Left: A couple of girls show off the free items Kraft was handing out during the Kraft Celebration Tour on Wednesday.Right: Many of those gathered in the rain held up signs showing their support for TSN and Kraft for naming Prince Albert one of the top ten in the Kraft Celebration Tour.

Published on August 20, 2014

TSN SportsCentre hosts Kate Beirness and Darren Dutchyshen wave at the crowd before starting the live broadcast during the Kraft Celebration Tour on Wednesday.

It may have been pouring buckets, but that didn’t stop people from gathering at the Kinsmen Water Park.

The Kraft Celebration Tour swept through Prince Albert on Wednesday afternoon, hosting a giant party in the parking lot at Kinsmen Water Park before a live broadcast was held by TSN.

“For me, this is like coming home,” TSN SportsCentre’s Darren Dutchyshen said. “This used to be the place I would come as a kid with my parents.”

Growing up, Dutchyshen considered Prince Albert a large centre and it was a big deal to visit the city from his hometown of Porcupine Plain.

“I love coming back to Saskatchewan,” he said. “It’s my home province. I was born in Regina and this is home for me. It is always going to be home.”

Even though Saskatchewan is not Dutchyshen’ co-host Kate Beirness’s home province, she still felt the love from the community.

“Thank you to Sasky once again because they have been so hospitable,” she said. “Dutchy is from Sasky -- I’m not but they always treat me like I’m one of their own and I absolutely loved it.”

Leading up to the event, it was raining all night and day, but that didn’t deter people from gathering in the parking lot.

“I thought the crowd was amazing,” Dutchyshen said. “Considering the conditions, how rainy it was through the course of the day, I thought that they were fantastic.”

At first there were some concerns that people may not venture out during the rain, but hundreds of people were there for the live broadcast.

“For Saskatchewan, it was a little bit of rain and it wasn’t that cold so they hung in there so I was really happy,” Dutchyshen said. “The problem is too, we want to represent the town in the best light possible, and if it is raining it can dull the mood but it didn’t dampen the spirits whatsoever of the people here.”

Although Dutchyshen was surprised by the amount of people who still showed, his co-host was not.

“The only reason is because I’ve been to a Saskatchewan stop before and I totally understand that they are so passionate about everything they put their minds behind,” Beirness laughed. “I actually wasn’t (surprised) because I expect this every time I come to Sasky and they certainly didn’t let us down today.”

Curtis Olsen, recreation director for the city, was proud to see so much community spirit.

“That is the best part about it and that just shows the city of P.A. and the people here will show up no matter what the weather is,” he said. “We have been hearing lots of comments about that -- we were kind of wondering will the rain keep people away and it hasn’t.

“Not only that, the enthusiasm you can see during the show here, it has been awesome,” he added. “They are loud and energetic. The weather has been a part of the day but it hasn’t ruined it in any way. It is still a wonderful day and I think everyone is having a great time.”

During the tour, Kraft Canada put on a free barbecue with Kraft products and was giving away other free samples of their products.

“Everyone here was having such a great time, even in the rain, we had lots of laughs and lots of cheering,” said Kelly Fleming, Kraft brand manager. “We were pretty pleased with the turnout.”

There were also plenty of activities to enjoy, with a second stage showing off local talents, face painting, free swimming from the city and even a basketball shooting game courtesy of Kraft.

“Because of the rain, there were a couple of activities that didn’t take place but there is still lots to do and it has been fun,” Olsen said.

Prince Albert is the third stop on the western tour -- they stopped in Nanaimo, B.C. and Barrhead, Alta. first.

“It has been fantastic, every stop,” Fleming said. “We are on the third stop of five on the west coast but so far it has been absolutely amazing meeting all the people and all the communities we have touched.

“We were fortunate to be here for one extra day, so we actually got a sneak peek at Saskatchewan, longer than the other tours, and we had a great time.”

Both the TSN SportsCentre hosts have also been enjoying their time on the tour.

“It is one of the best initiatives that we do, it is fantastic,” Dutchyshen said. “It affords us the opportunity to go coast to coast and people are so receptive.”

He said at every stop, people treat them well and they have enjoyed the experience.

“Every stop has had something different,” Beirness said. “Nanaimo was a very scenic one, Barrhead’s crowd was awesome and out of control and today obviously with the rain and everything, they were so loud and enthusiastic. So far, so good and two more to go.”

Despite the rain, the crew managed well, Dutchyshen said.

“With the rain, it made it a little more difficult just logistically for our crew,” he said. “Our people, the men and women who help put this on, are fantastic. Their professionalism blows me away.”

After the event was over, the city invited the crew to go for a swim, which was a great way to finish the Prince Albert stop.

The tour will finish on Sunday in Ottawa and everyone is looking forward to see who the winner of the additional $75,000 will be, which will be announced during SportsCentre on Monday.

Although Dutchyshen is from Saskatchewan, he is not biased and believes all the communities deserve the grand prize.

“They are going to earn it. Whoever gets the most votes, they are going to win and bravo, good for them,” he said.

“Our perspective might be a little bit skewed because we see the best of the best,” he added. “People are really proud when you come there. They are really happy that their town is being shown across the country, coast to coast and… normally they don’t get that national coverage so it is nice. It is a really good day.”

The community has already received $25,000, Olsen said, thanks to the efforts of one local resident.

“I want to thank Shannon Hurl for putting that nomination in,” Olsen said. “If she doesn’t take that time, we aren’t here today.”

Prince Albert residents will be glued to their TV screens on Monday evening, waiting to hear the winning community.

“The $25,000 is going to go a long ways,” Olsen said. “Hopefully on Aug. 25 we will get even better news to win the $100,000 and go from there.”

Organizations: Prince Albert, Kraft Canada

Geographic location: Saskatchewan, Kinsmen Water Park, Porcupine Plain Regina Nanaimo Barrhead P.A. Ottawa

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