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Pincher Creek’s pioneer village Christmas fundraiser biggest yet despite COVID-19 restrictions

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Volunteers were prepared to cancel the largest fundraiser of the year for Kootenai Brown Pioneer Village in Pincher Creek due to COVID-19 restrictions. As Emily Olsen reports, this year’s bake sale fundraiser ended up being the most successful yet – Dec 29, 2020

Denise Somerville has been a passionate volunteer with the Kootenai Brown Pioneer Village in Pincher Creek for many years.

“More years than I can count,” Somerville said with a laugh. “It’s a very important part of the community and I volunteer as often as I can.”

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This year, she was unsure the annual bake sale, intended to raise necessary funds for the site, would even happen due to COVID-19 restrictions.

“So you had to bake and you still had to make as much product, not knowing whether it would sell or not,” she said. “At first it was hard to get into that mindset of… you could do all this work and [what if] nobody comes.”
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President of the Pincher Creek Historical Society, Colleen Casey Cyr, says its team of volunteers was not about to let the changes dampen the spirit — even when its other major holiday event, Christmas at the Village, was cancelled.

“The pandemic added another level of organizing that had to be done,” Casey Cyr said. “So we just did it!”

As the largest fundraiser of the year, the sale provides almost all of the necessary funds to keep programs running at the pioneer village.

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Casey Cyr says the group was prepared for the worst, with the addition of online sale options, but the community came through in a big way.

Nearly 2,000 baked items were sold — some to buyers in Calgary who purchased online. 

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The volunteer bakers even had to add a few more batches to the dozens available.

“It’s nice to see the community come out and support us as well as they do,” Somerville said.

Read more: Pincher Creek’s Pioneer Village offers socially-distanced Halloween fun

“It’s a small community and that is what we do,” Casey Cyr added. “Everybody wants to be a part of it.”

Volunteers say despite a difficult year navigating COVID-19 restrictions as an interactive history museum, they are looking forward to opening the doors and keeping southern Albertan history alive for many more years to come.

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