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Opinion: A phenomenal post pandemic party

Lots of great events are happening in the region again.
The Carlyle Cougars shake hands with the Grenfell Spitfires after Game 3 Sunday in Carlyle.

Three years ago, Canada came to a screeching halt with the worldwide outbreak of COVID-19.

I remember it well. Both the Redvers Rockets and Carnduff Red Devils were in the midst of exciting provincial playoff. They were to meet each other in what should have been a classic Big Six Hockey League final. Sadly, the puck for that series was never dropped.

With complete confidence, I can now say the worst of the pandemic seems to be over locally, and that the world is rapidly getting back in order. Except in health care facilities, masks are no longer mandatory. Anti-vaccination rallies and freedom convoys have fizzled.

If you aren’t vaccinated and cannot travel outside of the country, that is your choice. Hospital emergency centres are no longer filled to capacity. 

Hockey rinks are full of hockey players and figure skaters. League and provincial playoffs have started and every town within an hour’s drive has important games scheduled. Attendance is up and the rink kitchens can’t keep up with the traffic. Here in Carlyle, my arena visits have been exhausting.

Since Thursday, I have watched two U18 games, (one league, one provincial) one U15 provincial game and two senior Cougar provincial games. On Sunday, I also found time to take in the Kenaston at Redvers provincial game.

Curling bonspiels are back in vogue and many rinks in the area are holding well-attended, after-school student sessions. New indoor golf simulators are now open in Estevan and Redvers. Movie theatres are attracting many patrons with their new releases.

Live music and dinner theatre events have exploded in popularity. Just this week, there is a Shake the Winter Blues event in Oxbow and a Wawota United Church Time and Talent Show. In Alida, Act One Productions is holding a dinner theatre, with local actors providing light-hearted comedy to sold-out crowds. Over the Moon is performing at the Kipling Community Centre.

In Carlyle, the Cornerstone Theatre Group is in full practice mode and will be entertaining large audiences to their annual dinner theatre later this spring. After a three-year hiatus, the Carlyle District Lions Club is holding their annual supper and auction in April. The Moose Mountain Players are also planning another live theatre production for early May.

We have had beautiful weather this winter. Outdoor activities such as cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling are proving to be very popular. From candle-lit skiing at Moose Mountain Provincial Park to the Arcola Optimist Snowmobile Rally, participation has been strong.

Last month, I went for an airplane ride with my friend Duncan Brown. We saw hundreds of fishing shacks on the lakes of both Kenosee and Grant Devine Lake.

It seems like everyone is just a little bit busier and a little bit happier these days. Main Street Carlyle continues to bustle as it usually does and businesses appear to be doing well. Two new oil wells have been drilled just a few kilometres south of town with rumors of tremendous production activity in the coming months. The Atlas hog barn employs nearly 30 and is near full capacity.

The library is holding a community night where Carlyle can welcome the many newcomers that are coming to our town.

It is so refreshing to see spring is right around the corner. Local greenhouses have started to plant their flowers and vegetables. Annual spring meetings are being held for golf courses and minor ball. Yes indeed, the worst of the pandemic feels like it’s over locally. Let’s make 2023 one of the best years ever. 

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