Vegreville celebrated the 40th anniversary of the world renown Pysanka Egg with well justified pride on August 28 and 29. The weather was great throughout and Perogies and Jam was pleased to be a significant part of these celebrations. The role of Perogies and Jam was to provide live music on Saturday, August 29 and our local musicians were a delight to the ever changing crowd that gathered to stop and listen throughout the day.
The official ceremony on Saturday, August 29 included the story of the Pysanka, the connection to the RCMP, and the dedication of the Mazankowski Way in honour of Don Mazankowski who was a former Deputy Prime Minister of Canada and Vegreville’s former member of parliament for several decades.
The Pysanka is a Ukrainian-style Easter egg which is affectionately often referred to by locals as the Veg Egg. The 2.5 ton Vegreville egg is a work of art originally designed by Paul Maxum Sembaliuk, a Canadian artist of Ukrainian descent who was born and raised in the Vegreville area. The Pysanka is an intricate set of equilateral triangles and star shaped hexagons built over an aluminum framework, and is 9 meters long, 3 ½ stories high and rotates in the wind. It was originally dedicated in 1975 to the centennial of the RCMP. Today, the Pysanka is a significant tourist attraction and a reminder of the significant Ukrainian Canadian history of the area.
The day started bright an early with recorded music for the pancake breakfast starting at 9 am. Live music started at 10 am through to 4 pm intermixed with Ukrainian dancers in colourful costumes and official ceremonial presentations at 1 pm. The Promin Ukrainian Dancers and the Sopilko Ukrainian Dancers were a delight to the crowd gathered near the Pysanka.
Perogies and Jam are pleased to recognize the following local musicians who performed wonderfully under two tents providing non-stop music near the Gazebo, located on the west side, nestled between trees and the Vermilion River which runs through the park. In order of their performances, the musicians were:
- Soul Spice
- Beren Hollins and Alysha Evans
- The Barter Trio
- Fiddlin’ Kiddlins
- Cassidy Zahar (who also led the singing of O Canada for the ceremony)
- Country Sunshine
- Leeland Bachelet
- Shade Clark
- Bailey Stefan
- Off Ramp Boys
We are very proud of the continuing music tradition and talent in the Vegreville area. Our performers range in age from as young as 10 years old to senior citizens. They continue to work hard to hone and perform their musical skills. In addition, several of them have produced CDs and videos to record their music.
Behind the scenes, there were many volunteers which set up the tents, the sound systems, and helped clean up at the end of the day to ensure the events were entertaining and contributed to the celebrations over the weekend.
We thank Jerri Ziegler and Elaine Kucher of the Chamber of Commerce organizing committee for inviting Perogies and Jam to contribute to the 40th anniversary celebration of the Pysanka in Vegreville.
Photography courtesy of Rob Hughes