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Organizers reflect on long weekend events in Outlook

First of its kind could lead to annual events

OUTLOOK - It's been a few weeks since the impressive itinerary of events took place in Outlook over the Thanksgiving long weekend.

Whether it was taking in the classic car show, enjoying a hypnotism or magic show, heading out to the stock car track to watch some rip-roaring racing, or taking a break in order to chow down on some grub cooked up by the dozen or so food trucks that showed up, the weekend events of October 8-10 that took place largely at the Outlook & District Heritage Museum grounds seemed to bring something that spoke to everybody in attendance.

It was an event that did its best to bring many elements together and offer something for everyone, and a few of the organizers behind the weekend festivities say it managed to stand out as a key event held in Outlook.

"The biggest thing that stood out to me and my favorite part of the event was seeing everyone enjoying themselves," said Megan Anthony, Outlook's recreation director.  "The whole reason we put on events is for the community to enjoy it, so it was nice to see smiling faces everywhere.  I think this event ran pretty smoothly and really well!  There was a great turnout for all of the different activities that were planned.  I hope to be a part of and plan many more events in the future!"

"It was a real pleasure working with the volunteers and corporate sponsors in Outlook to put together such an exciting and well supported event," added Kevin Trew, Chief Administrative Officer for the Town.

Taking part in all the events during the weekend, one of the features that stood out to Trew was something that turned him into a fan.

"The thing that stood out for me had to be the car show," he said.  "I am not a car guy and I really didn't know how this would turn out, honestly we may have been a little over our heads on that event.  We were even told ahead of the event that it was too late in the year for such a thing BUT the owners of the vehicles showed up and seemed so very receptive to how we set it up, and a few were so happy to help.  At the end of that particular part I breathed a huge sigh of relief!"

One particular thing Trew said he was grateful for was the cooperation of the weather for the weekend, of which all the events took place outside.

"I really should point out too that Mother Nature providing ideal weather on the full weekend should likely be the biggest highlight," he said.  "I have been involved in many outdoor events and my luck is likely going to run out soon.  Until then, I keep being so thankful for great weather."

Being out and about with the people of Outlook and area allowed Trew, still a relatively new arrival in the community, to get a feel for the town's people and see what things are like outside of the work environment.

"Probably my favourite parts were behind the scenes where I got to know people on a level that I am not afforded to by simply working in the community," said Kevin.  "Many people introduced themselves to me and were smiling, something that we miss as of late.  Everyone was so very receptive and excited to socialize.  I live for community events like this one, and I count myself so fortunate to be afforded the opportunity to serve with other community champions in this manner."

As this was the debut of such an event, there were some things that Trew said could be improved upon for the future if this event is to return to town.

"We have talked about a few things we could have improved on during the weekend," he said.  "For the most part, it went over so very much better than we could have dreamt.  We could have involved the Franklin Street and Saskatchewan Avenue businesses for more enticing sidewalk sales or specials.  We would love to see Bounty Theatre used somehow.  The fundraising aspect, collecting funds for the Museum and the exposure of the Museum to the public could have been a bit more at the forefront as the reason for the event."

The Town is currently busy coming up with ways to promote itself and drive up its tourism sector, and Trew says that work is being done to ensure that similar events of this type take place over the coming year.

"With our recreation committee shifting toward more tourism/economic development opportunities as well as a focus on embracing what Outlook has to offer as well as many community champions, we hope to host at least 2 and maybe 3 events of this type in 2022," he said.  "We have commitment from the food trucks for 2 events.  I have been involved in planning an event that features local prepared food involving various groups and cultures to a lot of success, kind of like Taste of Saskatchewan is run in Saskatoon.  I hope to make contact with people interested in doing that annually!  If we can do something that incorporates the Irrigation Capital theme we will!  Outlook has been so very receptive and supportive, as long as that continues we will keep finding events to plan and execute!"

Kate King, another of the event's key volunteers says she was blown away by the success of the weekend's features and what stood out to her was the seemingly never-ending menu of foods available to people.

"Over the weekend we had many events but the one that stood out is absolutely the car show," said Kate.  "We were not expecting as many cars to show up that did and it blew us all away at the museum.  My favorite part was the selection of food available because it was good to see the different types, especially the fair-style food, which we don't get a lot of in this area."

King was excited to see the museum brought to life again, showcasing the iconic location and watching as kids had a blast running through the caboose all weekend.  She was just one of many volunteers who helped bring the weekend schedule of events to life.

"We had an amazing group of volunteers to pull this all together, and the Town of Outlook administration was absolutely amazing to work with on this," she said.

Echoing a sentiment shared by Trew, King says one of the things that could've been tweaked was the trade show aspect of the weekend.

"One thing that we will look at doing differently is our little mini trade show," she said.  "We feel that it could have been extended for a few extra hours due to the traffic and it probably would have been better for our vendors to sell more during that time."

With the weekend being such a success even though it took place over the Thanksgiving long weekend, that may mean that moving the event next year could spell even bigger numbers and an event that's even bigger than before.

"We would love to have Jesse and the Great Canadian Food Fight to be back next year," said Kate.  "It was an amazing event this year with the hypnosis and magic shows added in, and it's going to be an amazing event next year.  We're looking at the spring instead of the fall, and we'll need volunteers to make it happen."