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Third annual Smoke on the Water “block party” being held at former ball diamonds at Madge Lake on Ju

Smoke on the Water, that annual fun event at Madge Lake that allows area residents and visitors “to get together to enjoy wonderful fellowship and entertainment” while raising funds for a community project is being held July 29.

            Smoke on the Water, that annual fun event at Madge Lake that allows area residents and visitors “to get together to enjoy wonderful fellowship and entertainment” while raising funds for a community project is being held July 29.

            This will be the third annual Smoke on the Water being held at Duck Mountain Provincial Park and the third time that proceeds from the event will be contributed towards the Assiniboine Valley Medical Centre.

Last year, when 600 people attended the Smoke on the Water supper and 900 attended the dance, a total of $100,000 was raised for the Centre, said Kamsack Mayor Rod Gardner. Two years ago, $80,000 was donated to the Centre from proceeds of the event.

But for this year, a few changes have been made.

The first Smoke on the Water was an initiative of the Hudye family which was interested in raising money for the Medical Centre, as was the second, but now the family has decided to pass the torch on, and Ritchie Industries has stepped in to spearhead the project.

“I approached Rod Gardner and Joe Kozakewich saying let’s not let it go,” Rob Ritchie said last week. “It has become a success and many people look forward to attending.

“People book their holidays so they are able to attend,” Ritchie said, adding that his company has agreed to spearhead the organizing of the project.

The other big change is that while the other two events, billed as block parties, were held on the street at Jubilee Subdivision, this year it will be held at the former ball diamond, now called Fern Campground, near Ministik Beach.

Logistically, it will be much easier to hold the event at the campground, Ritchie said.

Everyone is welcome and the admission to the grounds is free, he said. Entertaining during the evening will be The Capitals, a Saskatoon-based band.

Those wishing to dine on a meal of smoked barbecue ribs and chicken with all the fixings, will pay $25 per plate for the dinner tickets. Money will also be raised at the beer garden and with a silent auction.

But this event exists because of the sponsors, he said, explaining that sponsors are at four different levels, starting at bronze ($500) to platinum ($5,000).

Sponsorship opportunities are being presented to essentially cover the costs of the event, so that all proceeds raised will go directly to the Assiniboine Valley Medical Centre, he said. “This is a great chance for local businesses and families to demonstrate how they can support a worthy cause, while having a great time.

“We hope to attract at least the same number of people as had attended last year,” he said, estimating that about 30 volunteers will be on hand to help stage the event.

“Because this is a specially sanctioned event by the Ministry of Parks, Culture and Sport, we want to particularly thank Greg Podovinnikoff and other members of the administration of Duck Mountain Provincial Park.”

Advance tickets go on sale at the Kamsack Petro-Canada outlet today (July 7).

“With over 60 years collective playing experience, The Capitals are a dynamic and entertaining group of dedicated musicians who bring with them a wealth of talent and experience,” said the group’s website.

“Featuring Duane Randall on vocals and guitar, Patrick Kelly on vocals, electric bass, stand-up bass, harmonica and saxophone and Steven Perault on vocals and drums, The Capitals deliver some of the finest three-part harmonies that you will ever hear,” it says. “Their humour, charm and complete entertainment package makes your function both enjoyable and one you will remember for a long time.”

Patrick Kelly has been singing and playing bass since the age of 15 and has performed with several groups, including Rubber Boot, The Boot, The Krayons, Crushed Velvet Elvis, The Flaming Sambucas and The Flatlanders. He is a full-time music educator with the Saskatoon Public School Board.

Steven Perault has been performing professionally since the age of 15, having gained valuable experience playing with his father’s band The New Marlins. Since then he has drummed for numerous groups including The Reign, Barebones, Big Tilda and the Flatlanders. His vocal ability helps round out The Capitals’ trademark sound. He is a full-tme plumber/gas fitter with a Saskatoon mechanical firm.

Duane Randall took up the guitar because he was a really poor hockey player, the website says. He was subbing for his instructor at the age of 13 and performing professionally by 15. He has played in many bands including: Scarlet, Beauty and the Beast, Threshold, Billy Bob and Screamer. He also performs as Slash in Mr. Brownstone, the renowned Guns and Roses tribute band. He is an accomplished composer with well over 100 songs in his portfolio and he manages his own music instruction studio. He appears regularly as a substitute teacher at every Saskatoon school.