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The Ruttle Report - You see a lot from behind my lens

As a new-ish resident of this town, it was remarkable seeing the events of last weekend come to life.
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I see a lot from behind the lens of my camera with each passing week that falls off the calendar.

I see all manner of community events, sports action, and interesting lives being lived by the people of this area. I snap photos, I write articles, and with each week that this great newspaper goes to press and content gets posted on our website, all of those events, games, and newsworthy moments of our lives become instantly ingrained in our community's history.

I've been covering all of these events and so much more in the many years that I've been in this role of weekly newspaper and online journalist/photographer/scoop/picture man/gossip guy/drama writer/insert whatever else you wanna call me here.

But this particular event was different. It FELT different. There was just something in the air with this specific event.

The Prairie Festival was held in Outlook this past weekend. It was the second annual event, and it went off like gangbusters. Loads of people, loads of things to do, loads of things to eat, and loads of family to see and reconnect with for sure.

And here's why it felt different to me:

Because for the first time, I was not an "outsider" looking in at something cool happening in Outlook and covering it before I have to go home to my empty house in Conquest, where I always felt like as if I was outside the bubble. No, for the first time, I was an actual resident of the riverside community who was enjoying the festivities of everything that was happening in what's now my adopted home.

The things that I saw this past weekend were things that will now stay with me forever because they were things that happened "at home", you know what I mean?

What I saw was upwards of 300 people pack the newly-reopened Bounty Theatre to celebrate the grand reopening. In the weeks leading up to it, I don't think anyone could've expected that many people to show up. Well, let's be honest - they outright DIDN'T expect that many people because they had to make a run for chairs left and right. As they say, they sold out The Garden.

What I saw was a landmark occasion for this community, as Outlook paid touching tribute to the people and the moments that helped make the Bounty hall as iconic as it was in its heyday.

What I saw was my uncle Dale and my aunt Shirley take the hall stage for the first time in over 20 years and making the music ring out over the facility.

What I saw was my family and longtime friends and acquaintances coming together under one roof to make this event feel as big, special, and important as humanly possible.

What I saw later that night was my uncle, undoubtedly a little 'happy' with the aid of a few wobbly pops, but sharp as a thistle in his emotions as he confessed how proud and happy he was at how everything with that evening turned out. Dale's wife Lois passed away early last year, and she would have loved so much to have seen this day come to fruition. I won't speak for Dale, but I will say that I believe a part of him was playing for her on that stage. In one way or another, I think she enjoyed the whole show, Uncle.

What I saw was a sea of people gathered on the grass outside, with another sea of conversations taking place. People dined on food truck grub, enjoyed more than a few beverages, and just took in the scope and enjoyment of the event. They took selfies together. They shared memories together. There were hugs all over the place as longtime friends saw each other for the first time in years.

What I saw was a rock band who sat down with me and spilled their guts in what went down as one of my favorite interviews I've done in a long time. Bad Influence recently went the distance in April by taking 2nd Place in a band wars competition in Saskatoon, and while I covered those events, I knew that I wanted to sit down with Syhra, Josh, Scot and Bailey for an in-depth talk about music, inspiration, and life. I think the end result of that interview is something pretty special. Thanks for the talk, crew.

What I saw was that same rock band, in a happy bit of circumstance, take the same stage in the Bounty Theatre hall that my uncle and aunt did and absolutely crush it in a loud, heavy rock show. See, the intended plan was for them to play on the outdoor stage, only Mother Nature decided that Saturday would be a great day for rain. So, long story short - Outlook's kickass rock quartet wound up being the loudest and heaviest band who've ever taken the stage in that venue in its long history.

What I saw on Sunday were families unwinding and just enjoying themselves. The big parts of the weekend were over, and what people just wanted to do now was see some shows, make their kids happy with some dunk tank action (go Outlook RCMP, go!), get their faces painted, go home and call it a weekend. Mission accomplished for many.

Finally, what I saw was the local theatre group put on a hell of a performance with Equinox Theatre's latest production that took place at the Outlook Civic Centre. People, if you've never actually been to an Equinox show, what are you waiting for? It's great entertainment by supremely-dedicated people who are invested in making sure that everyone leaves knowing that the ticket price was worth it. Fun stuff - always.

I've been doing what I do for a very long time, and the events of this past weekend were among some of the most memorable that I've ever witnessed.

I'm not saying something similar can't be accomplished again, but I will say this:

Canada Day (on a Saturday this year!) better be BIG.

For this week, that's been the Ruttle Report.

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