Kenton Park was picture perfect, buzzing with energy on Saturday, July 28. Old friends and new friends of every generation gathered in the green space on a ‘just right’ summer evening for the grand opening of the Kenton bandstand, a part of Kenton Community Park Project.
Located adjacent to the Legion Hall, the brand new bandstand was filled with musicians rockin’ on into the evening while children played.
The kids worked with ingenuity at play station activities such as finger painting, brush work on a long mural paper, and building wooden towers.
Among the crowd many volunteers stood during a brief ribbon cutting ceremony; they were acknowledged for their part in building and supporting this new open theatre stage in the well-treed park.
The exterior walls showcase a mural created by Kenton artists Erica and her mother Mary Lowe.
Nicole Wilson, along with several other young moms, orchestrated a lineup of small children to take part in the ribbon cutting ceremony for this brand new, powered, lighted bandstand.
Simple snacks made this a Kenton family picnic, for a free-will donation.
The warm-up band Rollin and Tumblin sang old hits like Rod Stewart’s Magi May and Copperhead Road. Band members included Penny Dixon (keyboard), Elaine Rawlings (acoustic guitar), Ross Mathison (guitar/main vocals), Vaughn Wilson (drums), John Finnie (harmonica), and Bob Caldwell (guitar).
Ghost Town Hall, headed by Martin Finnie with Brandon musicians Jody Weger (guitar) and Patrick Sullivan (playing a mean bass line), was a feature many came to hear.
Prairie Roots with guitarists/soloists Nicole Wilson and Sheena Blanchard plus drummer Henry Wilson would take the stage later.
Kenton playgroup idea
First imagined three years ago, the Kenton Park Project bandstand was the brainchild of a group of moms who meet weekly, bringing their children for playgroup.
The Kenton Community Park Project was envisioned as a stimulating outdoor meeting place where the moms could bring their kids to play; a safe and relaxing, nature-focused place for children to explore through play and meet new friends.
The idea continued to evolve into an outdoor meeting place for all ages to share and enjoy all kinds of music from artists near and far. They envisioned open mic nights, storytelling, and a place to do art or creative projects; movie nights; opportunities for outdoor workshops and skill-sharing sessions.
The main feature of Kenton Park is the bandstand stage. It is open both back and front with side walls and a high peaked roof. That way, Legion customers can sit outside and enjoy the music on the west side and on the park side there’s lots of room for families to gather and visit, play and eat while watching bandstand acts.
Nicole Wilson, one of the committee members says there are plans to create more natural-product play structures such as log balance beams, stepping logs, a stone staircase, a hillside slide, sand pit, climbing wall, rock scramble and reading area, as well as comfortable benches to rest on.
They plan to incorporate art and discovery boards and a community memorial wall so people could purchase memorial plaques for loved ones.
Other landscaping features would be arbors, annual flowers and perennial prairie grasses.
The project has received support from the RM of Wallace-Woodworth, Kenton Lions Club, the Playgroup, while other supportive members of the community have generously donated time, energy and money toward the Park Project.
The local Community Fundraising Committee holds an entertainment and banquet each year and this year they chose the Park Project to receive the funds from the Annual Dinner, which enabled the bandstand to be built.
Materials alone for the bandstand cost about $17,000; 30 plus individuals gave of their summer weekends to complete the project. Non-professional carpenters learned from working alongside professionals. Artists and the business community – all volunteers enjoyed working together on the community project.
Kenton’s business community pitched in.