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Windy Castle Medieval Faire features Middle Ages fun for all ages

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Take a step back in time with the Windy Castle Medieval Faire, July 29 and 30 at the Coyote Flats Pioneer Village, just outside of Picture Butte.

 The Faire was inspired by Michelle Couper’s visit to the Brook Medieval Faire. She soon recruited  Juanita DeVos to help organize  a medieval Faire near Lethbridge.

The Lethbridge Medieval Club will be fighting and teaching at the Windy Castle medieval Faire, July 29-30. Photo by Richard Amery
“She went there for a day and said she’d love to build a hay bale maze. And as soon as she said she wanted to do a Medieval Faire, I said ‘count me in,’” DeVos said, adding ironically, the hay bale maze will be pretty much the only  attraction not happening at the faire due to  the bales they wanted to borrow for it being in too poor quality to move twice.

“ If you shoot for the moon, you will at least reach the clouds. Some ideas have been derailed. Not all of our ideas have come to fruition,” DeVos said.

So there will be a variety of  attractions for  all ages, including bouncy castles for age 6-11, 12-18 and another for grownups, a medieval feast including jousting from jousting organization Tilt and Lance, medieval sword fighting demonstrations and lessons, games,  an adventure filled carriage ride in the coulee, bards, storytellers, the Lethbridge object manipulators, jugglers,  crafts, plenty of people in medieval costumes, vendors and artisans of all sorts. There will even be a tavern featuring a special brew created by Coulee Brew for the event, plus mead and a singing bartender.

“We might even have archery dependingJuanita Devos is Excited about  the windy Castle Medieval Faire. Photo by Richard Amery on the wind,” she said.
“We even have a psychic. She knows how many people will be there, but she won’t tell us, which is unfair,” DeVos chuckled.

 There will be a treasure hunt as well, where participants, will be given a program and a list of clues for them to follow. In addition there will be a photo contest and photo booth
“Michelle said the number one rule was it has to be fun for everyone including the volunteers. I was reading a book about Walt Disney, who said  your staff is your most important  asset. If they’re happy,  everybody else will be.’ The volunteers only have to work four hours and then they can enjoy the faire,” DeVos said, adding they still need more volunteers.

“We can’t do an event like this without volunteers,” she said.

She noted they have received a lot of support from the community including Kapow Comics, who have been selling tickets and the Lethbridge Medieval Club, who will be a big part of the Faire, holding martial arts and medieval combat demonstrations as well as teaching some of the simpler techniques to those interested.


Shnoogy helps kids cope with feelings in Kindling Kindness

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 The world could use a cup of kindness yet, so Lethbridge based artist and writer Constance Douglas created “Kindling Kindness,” a program designed to help kids recognize their feelings and choose “love over fear” courtesy of the characters “Shnoogy” and “Krudy.”Constance Douglas with Shnoogy and Krudy of Kindling Kindness. Photo by Richard Amery
“ It‘s about making the world a better place one act of kindness at a time,” said Douglas, noting the characters’ origins go back several years.

“In 2006 I was in a children’s hospital in Phoenix and saw all of these sick kids. I wondered how I could represent love, so they could see it and demonstrate it, so I created Shnoogy,” Douglas said, noting Kindling Kindness is targeted at children aged 4-8.

“Then I created Krudy, who is just grumpy, lonely and not happy,” Douglas continued.

“They (people) have both those feelings but have to choose which one will be part of their experience,” she continued.

“Then, I became ill with MS and lost the ability to paint and I began to feel helpless like those kids. I had all of these blank canvasses and when I could paint again, it became my only purpose to help these kids,“ Douglas said, noting her paintings became the basis for Kindling Kindness, an adventure book “The Doodle Trap,”  a workbook starring Shnoogy and his friends plus Krudy which can be found on Amazon. She also brings Shnoogy in to schools, has designed and created individualized capes for the characters and created stuffed animals of them.  She even wrote a Shnoogy rap to go along with the story, featuring local performer Juran Greene.

“He was kind enough to record it and I’m working on an audio book with (New West Theatre veteran) Erica Hunt.”

She was born in Lethbridge and moved to the United States, living in Arizona and California and moved back to Lethbridge in 2015 to help care for a good friend who was diagnosed with cancer.
She even named her dog “Shnoogy.”

“I was wondering what to call this character and my last  dog always wanted hugs. I was always telling him ‘Are you looking for your shnoogies? ’ and it turned out to be the perfect name for the character,” she said.


Playgoers of Lethbridge holding auditions for Savannah Sipping Socity

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Playgoers of Lethbridge is holding auditions this week for their October dinner Theatre of The Savannah Sipping Society, which will take place Oct. 17-21 at the Country Kitchen beneath the Keg.

 Director Lee Prindle, who directed previous productions of the Dixie Swim Club and Always a Bridesmaid, which were also  written by  Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten, is looking within the group for four female actors aged 40 to 70. But open auditions are  7-9 p.m. in the Casa community room, July 11 and July 12.

This is brand new. It was written in 2016,” Prindle said.


New West Theatre is all about “Home Grown” Canadian talent

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New West Theatre is not only celebrating “home grown” Canadian music but also local music in their new summer production, aptly titled Home Grown, running July 5-22 in the Yates Theatre.

Erica Hunt, AJ Baragar, Scott Carpenter, Rylan Kunkel, Kathy Zaborsky, Kyle Gruninger and Shel0by Wilson of New West Theatre are excited to present Home Grown at the Yates Theatre, July 5-22 at 7:30 p.m. each night. Photo by Richard Amery
 In addition to familiar cast members including Erica Hunt, Scott Carpenter, Kyle Gruninger and Kathy Zaborsky and relative newcomers including Shelby Wilson, Aj Baragar and Rylan Kunkel, New West also welcomes special guests for every week of the run, with John Wort Hannam performing during the first week, Jason Poulsen, who has been a regular cast member in the second week and local country singer Trevor Panczak performing during the last week of the run.
The guests will join the cast to sing a few numbers as well as performing their original music.

“Canada has such a rich musical history, so this show is  about celebrating that and  local talent. Because they are the future. People like John Wort Hannam, Jason Poulsen and Trevor Panczak will be like the next Gordon Lightfoot,” said director Sharon Peat.

“I think we have some really excellent talent here.  So we’re celebrating the past, but it’s also important to look at the future and celebrating it,” Peat said.

“ At one point we had a song list of 180 songs which we had to trim down to a set of 16. Usually Paul Walker is responsible for songs but this time, we formed a little committee including Kathy Zaborsky and (New West guitarist) Scott Mezei,” Peat said, adding some people will ask why certain songs have not been included.
“In some cases, it will be because we just did a song by that particular artist,” she said.

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