“The focal point was Brooks - that’s where the railway was,” explained long-time Scandia resident Kermith Anderson regarding the first settlers of the County of Newell. Coming full circle, the hamlet of Scandia once again had the opportunity to honour one of its neighbours through the Newell Regional Expo Society. This time, the 100-year-old community paid tribute to the largest centre in the county, the City of Brooks. The community hall in Scandia was filled on April 8 with members of every community in the region attending. (Click here for image gallery)
Over the past seven years, communities within the Newell County boundaries have shared these special dinners; an opportunity for neighbours to place the spotlight on various centres.
Joan Christiansen, the Gem area representative for the Newell Regional Expo Society board described Celebrating Expo Communities best.
“This allows the large and small communities to gather to celebrate their history, successes and future plans,” she said.
The plan was simple enough. Roast beef dinner with all the fixings, tables full of friends and local dignitaries, and a formal presentation. It’s an evening that’s played out countless times for decades - full of good-natured humour.
“I was thinking about the value of Brooks, Alberta,” said Scandia’s Joe Chomistek during the post-dinner presentation. “The most important thing I could think about in 1965 was Brooks was where you went to get your driver’s license. If you were 16 years of age, that’s where you went.”
He went on to detail his first attempt at obtaining a driver’s license, in the amusing style only Chomistek can deliver.
Anderson and Sharon Fisk spoke about the history of Brooks and how those early visitors populated the area.
“This was the land of milk and honey, wasn’t that what the CPR said?” Fisk asked Anderson.
Scandia has a lot to celebrate also. This year marks the hamlet’s centennial, and local Ryan Slenders explained how celebrations will take place over the August long weekend.
Brooks Mayor Barry Morishita was on hand with words of gratitude before detailing the various exciting events planned for this year. He then accepted a trophy from Expo board member Terry Riles, who explained that the recipient community is enabled to host the prize at their municipal office for the year.
One final revelation was the recipient to the 2018 Celebrating Expo Communities; whom Brooks will be honouring next year.
“The Gem community is thrilled to be recognized for the next Expo celebration,” Christiansen said. “We feel honoured to have our rural hamlet showcased by the City of Brooks