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Saskatoon held its first ever Comic and Entertainment Expo this year. Saskatchewanians from far and wide gathered for a weekend of comic books, autographs, and panel talks from famous media guests.
What better way to experience my first ever expo than by watching a wedding! Sebastian Van Esch and Kristin Spearey met at an expo, got engaged at an expo and tied the knot at this expo! Kristin was escorted down the isle by Darth Vador himself, and the ceremony was officiated by The Joker. What a unique way to tie the knot!
Noteworthy guests at the expo included John Borrowman, a well-known british entertainer who starred as Captain Jack Harkness in Doctor Who. Borrowman now stars in his own spin-off TV series, Torchwood. Dino Stamatopoulos also spoke at the expo. Stamatopoulos worked as a writer for MadTV and Late Night with Connan O’Brien. He also plays Star-Burns in NBC’s hit show, Community.
The expo was held at Prairieland Park in Saskatoon. Even before I reached the front doors, there were crowds of people dressed up in elaborate cosplay. Cosplay is described as the practice of dressing up as a character from a movie, book or video game. I’m not a comic book reader and I don’t watch many action flicks, so I had a hard time guessing who was who. I did, however, gain an appreciation for cosplay and all of the work that goes into the outfits and makeup!
Once inside, there were booths upon booths of comic books, T shirts and art for sale. I was especially excited to see a model of Captain Gavin Capacitor from one of my favourite shows as a child, ReBoot! There was also a 3D printing machine that blew my mind! I watched as it printed a 3D elephant figurine and I realized the future is now!
Not many people know that you can go snowboarding in Saskatchewan. Those people might also be surprised to learn that olympic snowboarder, Mark McMorris, grew up in Saskatchewan. I started off my year with a snowboarding lesson at Mission Ridge Winter Park where Mark spent a lot of time as a kid. Check out my video below!
Elementary school students from the Yorkton area learned what it takes to truly make a pizza from scratch!
More info here .
Every year, Keith Aulie returns to Saskatchewan to farm with his family. I caught up with him for a day in Regina and Rouleau, SK.
Julio Salazar is an avid fly fisherman. He was generous enough to teach me the ropes of fly fishing in the beautiful Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park. See photos here.
Music festivals are great. I love them. They are an opportunity to enjoy your favourite musicians, meet people in the community, and maybe discover some awesome new bands. In my opinion, summers aren’t complete without going to at least one! Luckily for us Saskatchewanians, there are many summer music festivals to choose from.
Each festival is unique, none more so than the Northern Lights Bluegrass and Old Tyme Music Festival which takes place at Ness Creek every August. The weekend is jammed pack with live music, dancing, horse shoes and nature walks. Bands are brought in from all across North America. Festival goers had the chance to experience the Los Texmaniacs from Texas, Le Vent Du Nord from Quebec, The Slocan Ramblers from Toronto and Jeff Scroggins and Colorado from.. you guessed it, Colorado. There were also a number of local artists and bands, rightfully called ‘tweeners,’ who played sets between the headliners. In total, I counted twenty-four musical acts!
There is also a music camp that takes place the week before the festival. The coolest part about it—the instructors of the camp are some of the headlining musicians of the festival. It’s an amazing chance for new musicians to learn their instruments from the best of the best. It’s also an excellent networking opportunity.
The camp is open to all skill levels and anyone aged five or older. There were 130 students this year, ranging from kids and teens fine-tuning their skills, to some folks in their seventies who were taking beginner guitar lessons. If you’ve ever wanted to learn an instrument but felt like you never had the time, this music camp would be a great way to learn!
Tracy Lalonde is the Music Camp Coordinator and Chairperson of the Northern Lights Bluegrass and Old Tyme Music Society. She feels passionate about keeping bluegrass and old tyme music alive! She remembers the days of her childhood that were spent around a campfire or in a kitchen singing along to acoustic instruments. The goal of the camp and of the festival is to preserve and promote bluegrass and old tyme music for generations to come.
I think it’s working.
At last year’s festival, three teenage students from camp decided to form a band. They’d known each other for a few years, reconnecting each summer at the Northern Lights Bluegrass and Old Tyme Music Camp. Finally they got together for some late-night jamming and realized they had something special.
In with the Old was born. And they’ve been busy. In the last year they’ve played at a handful of events, including Telemiracle, The Saskatchewan Country Music Awards, John Arcand Fiddle Fest, Flute and Fiddle in Birch Hills, and the Pickers’ Cup. They’ve played at house concerts, BonTemps Cafe, and The Bassment. If that’s not enough, they’ve also recorded and released a CD! Wow.
The band’s founders, Jaxson Lalonde,15, Kasia Thorlakson,18, and Ellen Froese-Kooijenga,18, have a strong passion for music. They describe their style as folk old tyme with bluegrass influences and they get inspiration from all around. They love coming to the Northern Lights Camp and Festival to meet musicians who are making it in the folk/old tyme/ bluegrass scene. It motivates them to be the best musicians they can be!
In with the Old has so much passion for music and performing. They are proof that bluegrass and old tyme music is still alive and thriving!
This was the trip of a lifetime! The Athabasca Sand Dunes are the most northerly sand dunes in the world… right in our backyard!
See more photos HERE.
What a fun adventure! Myself and 13 other media bloggers spent a day in the life as an RCMP cadet at Depot Division in Regina. Cadets are usually in training for 6 months, but they made an exception for us! We were called ‘M Troop” which we were told stood for “Media Troop” but it was more likely “Motley Troop.” You’ll know what I mean when you see us trying to march…
Life of Pi author, Yann Martel, chose to live in Saskatoon several years ago. Why? Watch these videos to find out! He is so well-spoken, and I think you’ll be able to agree with some of his answers!
Watch this 25 second video first:
Then watch the full interview here: