Last evening, Andrea and I had the good fortune to attend the dining event at the Forest Centre, coordinated by the PA tourism group. Not surprisingly, it was sold out, and it turned out to be a great celebration of local foods, prepared and presented by local chefs. Everything from the appetizers to the dessert, including the wine (several varieties made from rhubarb, strawberries, raspberries, and cherries) and beer, was made from Saskatchewan products, and were excellent examples of the creativity that local culinary artists are eager to share with consumers. People often talk about the creative arts community that we have in Prince Albert - last night is the first time that I can remember that we've enjoyed a similar celebration of food.
The location, in the atrium of the Forest Centre, was also great. I go there often, since Andrea is fortunate enough to work there, but several people mentioned to us that this was their first time there, and they were amazed by its architectural beauty. It's one of the buildings in Prince Albert that I think would fit very well with an Open Doors Day - one where buildings are open to the public, which gives them a chance to see the inside of buildings that otherwise, they would have no reason to visit. This concept has worked well in other cities, and I think it could work here too, perhaps in conjunction with the Street Fair. And add me to the list of people who think that more than one street fair a year is a good idea - if we could think of different themes, such as this day which was focused on food, that might provide enough variety so that people would want to keep coming back.
After dinner, we went across the street for the third annual outdoor cinema. The crowd was smaller than in the last two years, perhaps because the evenings are chilly now, but it was a perfect night for watching a movie if you were prepared for the cold - clear, no wind, no rain, and it got dark early enough so that the movie was over before ten. And as veterans of this, we were prepared, with lawn chairs, sleeping bags, and hats. This year's movie was Alice in Wonderland, and although Andrea complained at length afterwards because it didn't resemble the book much, it certainly seemed to engross those who were there.
I enjoy these events where the focus is on the downtown. I wish that more of our civic leaders, and the businesses which are located downtown, would actively participate. There's always lots of talk about needing to revitalize our downtown - we need more people who do more than talk, but who actually show up and help with the celebrations. In this case, those who weren't there missed a great meal, and a good movie experience afterward.
"If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world." - JRR Tolkien