Smoke on the Water again raising funds for new KamKids Daycare and the park

Smoke on the Water, the annual “block party” event at Duck Mountain Provincial Park which brings together district communities for an evening of fellowship, food and entertainment, is being held August 3 in support of the KamKids Daycare, and a portion will go to the Duck Mountain Provincial Park.

Last year $20,000 was raised for a proposed new KamKids Daycare facility, while another $5,000 went to the Park for improvements to the rec hall. This year funds raised will again go to the Daycare which is raising money for a new facility, and to the Park for improvements, Robert Ritchie of Kamsack, a prime organizer of the event, said last week.

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KamKids Daycare, which celebrates its 11th anniversary this month, was originally licensed for 33 children and was recently expanded to 48 and there’s still a long waiting list, said Chantel Kitchen, chair of the Daycare board. It is and always has been located in several rooms at Crowstand Centre, where its space was recently expanded.

Kitchen said that although the Crowstand Centre has served well for the Daycare, the board and parents are excited about the possibility of a new facility which is expected to cost about $1 million, and would have at least 60 spots available which would help cut down the wait list.

“We have done other fundraisers,” she said, which included the recently held KamKids Annual Golf Tournament in which $2,035 was raised, two movie nights and a Vesey Flower fundraiser.

“We are currently selling tickets for a trip to Vegas,” she said, adding that the draw will be made at Smoke on the Water. Anyone wishing to purchase a ticket can contact the Daycare, any board member or buy a ticket at the event before the draw is made.

“Kamsack has a lot of new families with children and it would be great to have a new daycare up and running.

“Although the new facility is very much still in the planning stages, staff and parents have gone to tour different daycares in Regina, Yorkton, Langenburg and Churchbridge where the community raised all the funds to build that facility. It can be done and we want to see it happen here.

“Right now we are in the process of putting together a Chase the Ace (CTA) fundraiser to start on September 21. CTA has been very successful as a fundraiser in other communities,” Kitchen said.

During the initial three Smoke on the Water events, more than $250,000 was raised for the Health Centre, Ritchie said, explaining that this year an admission to the grounds will be charged for adults, if they are not buying supper tickets.

“Funds are raised with the sale of the smoked barbecue dinner and drinks, and our ticket price includes a meal, one free drink ticket and entertainment, which will be provided by the Ryan Keown Band again this year.

“Children 18 and under, accompanied by an adult, are not charged an entry fee, and children 10 and under eat free. This is a family-friendly event, and we encourage everyone to attend and have a good time,” he said.

The majority of money is raised by the sponsors, he said.

“Again this year we will have donated silent auction items up for bid. We are especially pleased to have a Russell Thomas painting up for bid. Titled Resilience and Courage, it’s a portrait of Gord Downie of the Tragically Hip. This piece will also be available to accept online bids at sotwmadge on our Smoke on the Water Facebook page.

“Although we’re again raising money for the Daycare, we will be donating a portion to Duck Mountain Provincial Park,” he said. “The Park continues to be so generous to us so we will be donating a portion back for a project as yet undetermined.”

Smoke on the Water is a local event, and it’s local business which propels it, Ritchie said.

At the site, which is the Fern Campground, or the “old ball diamond,” the area is fenced and will include a tent measuring 100 feet by 40 feet.

Two inflatable play structures for the entertainment of the younger crowd will be set up onsite.

This year, for the third consecutive year, In Good Taste of Togo will be catering the meal.

“We enjoy catering the event,” said Jared Ruf who is an owner of the catering company. “It is a great local opportunity to show what we do and it’s such a fun atmosphere.

“Our menu will be similar to last year, featuring our award winning smoked barbecue ribs and chicken shishliki.”

Last year there were 500 meals sold and about 750 people attending, Ritchie said, urging persons to consider purchasing their meal tickets in advance at the Kamsack Petro-Canada outlet so that the caterers will have a better idea on the number of people they will be serving.

A specially-sanctioned event by the Ministry of Parks, Culture and Sport, Smoke on the Water has become a well-known fun time and many people now book their summer vacations so that they can attend the event, he said. The annual Saskatchewan Day civic holiday fireworks display is being held the following night in the Park.

Ritchie and Kitchen said that holding the event requires the involvement of about 50 volunteers and those interested in volunteering to help carry it out or by being a sponsor may contact him at rob.ritchie@ritchieindustriesinc.com or James Perry at japerry@hotmail.ca.

Innovative Outdoorsman marketing with James Turner, president, and IOMPresents have joined the SOTW team, said Ritchie, indicating they have contributed to the organization and promotion of this year’s event.

Again this year, a shuttle service between Kamsack and the Park will be provided, said Ritchie.

As in past years members of the Kamsack RCMP will have a walk-through presence at the event, and there will be check-stops set-up on the highway.

The Ryan Keown band will once again be the featured entertainment on stage performing at this year’s Smoke on the Water.

Keown (pronounced Cowan) started his career early and by the age of 14 he had a large enough following that he was hired to start playing bars, says information on his website.

“From there, Ryan's passion, experience and confidence have grown immensely. Ryan was the first ever Dauphin's Countryfest Talent Search Champion (1996) and was crowned the Bud Country Talent Search Winner. This led Ryan to record his first two-song CD and to a Dauphin's Countryfest Mainstage appearance as well as opening concerts for Charlie Major, Prairie Oyster, and more recently, Aaron Pritchett.

“Ryan's popularity has continued to grow, and in 2014 he recorded two singles that were released nationally with both of Ryan's singles charting in Canada at number 55 (Guilty as Charged) and number 62 (Nothin') respectively.”

Keown was selected by the Manitoba Country Music Association to represent his province in the 2014 Canadian Country Music Association (CCMA) Coast to Coast Showcase in Edmonton.

He released his third singleAmen and was recently rewarded with the 2015 Single of the Year for this song at the Manitoba Country Music Association Awards Show. He showcased in 2015 at the CCMA's in Halifax for the Diamonds In The Rough Showcase and was selected by Tom Jackson to perform for his live performance workshop seminar.

“Ryan Keown exploded in 2016, winning both MCMA Male Artist and Fans’ Choice awards,” the information said. In 2017 he won his second consecutive MCMA Fans’ Choice award.

Keown also won the award for Male Country Vocalist for Canada at the Josie Music Awards in Nashville at the Nissan Stadium in September of 2017.

“After a successful radio tour of Western Canada, Ryan is definitely an artist who is on the rise.

“While often being compared to a modern day Travis Tritt, Ryan dives head first into country songs with attitude and grit, but more importantly a message,” the information said. “Ryan connects immediately with his audience and has a commanding stage presence which makes him extremely popular at his live shows.”

“A new addition to my show at Smoke on the Water this year will be an opening set performed by my 15-year-old son Austin Ryder,” said Keown.

“Very excited to be playing Smoke on the Water again this year at Madge Lake. Incredible outdoor party you won’t want to miss,” Keown posted on his Facebook page.