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Galt Museum celebrates Fall with second annual harvest festival

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The Galt Museum is getting excited for  the second annual harvest Festival, Oct. 5.Karen Romanchuk plays  The Galt Museum Harvest Festival. Photo by Richard Amery
 There will be a variety of activities happening at the free family event from 5-9 p.m. live music from Karen Romanchuk and Pete Watson.

There will also be activities like last year’s favourite — line dancing lessons with the Windy Rafters Barn Dance.
 There will also be new activities including sugar beet carving as opposed to pumpkin carving.

“It’s interesting to see  where sugar comes from. It’s a big industry here,” said special programs co-ordinator Leslie Hall, who is excited to learn how to carve a sugar beet.
“The younger kids can just draw on them, ” she said.
“There will also be hay rides and we’ll be making stone soup,” she continued adding stone soup is when everybody in a community would gather and bring one item, all of which they would combine to make a gigantic pot of soup.

“It should be a lot of fun. There will be wagon rides with horses. It’s our second year, so we‘re bringing back some of  our old favourites form last year. We’ll be making mini-caramel apples. They’re bite sized so they’re easier to eat,” she enthused.
“ The best part of this is I get to put on events I think are really cool,” she said.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor

Galt Museum explores how religion affects communities in the Bible Belt

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There is an old adage that goes If you want to start an argument, either talk about politics or religion. Well instead of an Austin Fennel talks to Wendy Aitkens about one of the pieces in the exhibit. Photo by Richard Ameryargument, the Galt Museum hopes to  start a discussion about religion and its contribution to the community in their new exhibit Religion in the Bible Belt, which officially opens, Sept. 22.
 As soon as Galt Museum patrons enter the exhibit, they are greeted by a scale model of St. Andrews Presbyterian Church, which was built for Lethbridge’s centennial in 1985.

 Looking around, there are special panels about each religious denomination in the community and their contributions. There are information panels about the contributions of Niitsitapii (Blackfoot), Catholic, Anglican, Methodist, Presbyterian, United Church, Mormon, Buddhism, Hutterites and Mennonites. She noted others are not mentioned but that does not mean their successes and influence are any less important.

“They provided a social welfare network, started schools, established medical care, became politically involved, built impressive buildings, organized social groups for all ages and offered musical and theatrical entertainment for the whole community,”  she summarized in a press release.

“ We‘re doing this exhibit because the community asked us to,” said curator Wendy Aitkens adding the museum had previously done a survey in the city about what exhibits people would like to see. Religion was one of them.

It is a monumental subject to tackle, so Aitkens narrowed the focus down to religion in Lethbridge between the late 1800s and 1930.
There are panels about the impact of religion on southern Alberta in a variety of ways as well as displays of religious items like chairs, crosses and communion paraphernalia.


Galt Museum celebrates the wind with Weather Vanes and Whirligigs

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Maybe it's just a Lethbridge thing. But people have been interested in the wind for eons, so the Galt Museum is pleased to present a new traveling exhibit called Wind Work, Wind Play: Weather Vanes and Whirligigs, which officially opens on June 2 and runs until Sept. 2.One of the main pieces in Whirligigs and Weather Vanes at the Galt Museum, June 2-Aug. 31. Photo by Richard Amery

 The 30 piece travelling exhibition comes to Lethbridge courtesy of the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Gatineau Quebec .
“ We actually don’t have anything like these in our collection,” said Galt Museum curator Wendy Aitkens.

“ It is an exhibit which is about the most common topic of weather conversation in Lethbridge — the wind — if it is blowing, how fast it is blowing and what direction it is blowing.”

The exhibit features a variety of innovative weather vanes and whirligigs created out of a variety of wood, copper, various metals and found objects like oil cans and juice jugs. They date back to the 1700s, though most of them are from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, which reflect what people were thinking about at the time.

 There is a kinetic sculpture of a man milking a cow, a plethora of pigs, roosters, beavers and assorted animals.
“ It’s folk art, so there were created by people about things which related to their lives,” she continued.

 There are also more whimsical works including a fiddler, several people chopping wood, a guy kicking another guy’s butt and the centrepiece — a large Voyageur canoe created by staff at the Gatineau Museum. If you press a button, you can watch the voyageurs row, though you have to use your imagination to see how the wind would make the other items


Historic Lethbridge festival celebrates the ’60s with music and art

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This week is a good week to be fab and get groovy with the Historic Lethbridge festival.

The theme for the Paul Holden will be part of  Historic Lethbridge’s jazz concert this week. Photo by Richard Ameryfestival, which began May 3, is the ’60s so  there are a lot of ’60s related events sprinkled all over the city.  A jazz  concert at the Sterndale Bennett Theatre, May 7 at 8 p.m.,  features the music of Stan Getz, Dave Brubeck, Lee Morgan.

The performers include saxophonist Ryan Heseltine, guitarist James Oldenburg, bassist Paul Holden and drummer Kyle Harmon.Tickets, which cost $15 regular and $10 students and seniors, are available at, Long & McQuade Music, The Music Court Ltd. in Park Place Mall. 

The festival features a variety of events all over the city including a screening of the film “Gimmie Shelter” in the Lethbridge Public Library Theatre, May 8 at 7 p.m. It is about the infamous Rolling Stones Concert at Altamont, Dec. 9, 1969.
 The festival also features the launch of Belinda Crowson’s new book, “Southern Alberta’s Sugar Coated History,” May 9.


Galt Museum celebrates nerds with astronaut Roberta Bondar and comic book expert Scott McCloud

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Nerds once had the somewhat negative stigma of socially inept bookworms who are addicted to computers, video games, Dungeons and Dragons and Monty Python. It’s not the case anymore.  Nerds are now cool thanks to TV shows like the Big Bang Theory and the resurgence of Dr. Who, not to mention the face that everyone relies on computers today.Chris Roedler reads Scott McCloud’s Zot!. Photo by Richard Amery

“Nerd culture is no longer taboo than it was even five or six years ago. People now think it is cool,” said Chris Roedler, who is helping organize Nerdfest along with Leslie Hall, at Galt Museum, March 21-23.
The Galt Mueum is celebrating all things “nerd,” with a variety of activities happening including a talk with Canadian neuroscientist and astronaut Roberta Bondar,  an all night gaming session and a talk with comic book expert Scott McCloud. Unfortunately a superhero dance at the end of the weekend for which you can dress up as your favourite superhero, has been cancelled due to slow ticket sales.

“ A nerd is anybody with a penchant for one specific thing,” Roedler continued adding in addition to nerds now being cool,  the Galt Museum is also hoping to attract a younger demographic, though the events are open to everybody over the age of 14.

“We’re all nerds. You can be math nerds or music nerds. There are even sports nerds. Basically if you are enthusiastic about something and can’t wait to tell everybody about  it, then you’re a nerd,” said Los Angeles based comic book expert Scott McCloud who wears his nerd badge with pride. He also described himself as a movie nerd and a chess nerd.
“I’m also a nerd for my family,” he said.

 He will be a highlight of Nerdfest  kicking it off with a lecture about comics.

 It will be the lead in to his renown two-day comic book seminar — the only one in Canada‚  which begins March 22 and continues March 23. While the workshop is sold out  with people buyng  tickets from as far way as Vancouver and Toronto, there is still room at his opening lecture.

“It (the workshop) is more about the nuts and bolts of comic books. The lecture is a lot of fun. There’s 100 slides. It’s very fast paced,” he said.
McCloud has a five day seminar at a literature fair in Germany before he comes to Lethbridge.
“I have about a day to catch my breath, then I’m off to Lethbridge,” he said.

 He is best known for his comic Zot!, which he did from 1984-1991. And has since become an expert in the comic book world and a much in demand speaker. But it wasn’t always that way.
“I got into comics when I was 14. I wasn’t into them before. I thought they were just  for little kids. But a friend of mine gave me a big stack of comic books and about a year later I decided I wanted to do that for a living,” he said.

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