Smoke on the Water to raise funds for new KamKids Daycare and park rec hall

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 4 in support of the KamKids Daycare and the Madge Lake recreation hall.

            While the three previous block parties were held as fundraisers for the Assiniboine Valley Health Centre in Kamsack, this year funds raised will go to the Daycare which has begun raising money for a new facility, and to the Park to help it restore the rec hall, Rob Ritchie of Kamsack, a prime organizer of the event, said last week.

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            KamKids Daycare, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this month, was originally licensed for 33 children and was recently expanded to 48 and there’s still a long waiting list, said Nicky Ruf, chair of the Daycare board. It is and always has been located in several rooms at Crowstand Centre, where its space was recently expanded.

            Although Ruf said the Crowstand Centre has served well for the Daycare, she said the board and parents are excited about the possibility of a new facility which is expected to cost about $1 million.

            “We plan to undertake other fundraisers,” she said, adding that they’re confident the Daycare could fill as many as 60 spots.

“Kamsack is booming. There are a lot of new families with children. It’s great.”

            During the previous three Smoke on the Water events, more than $250,000 was raised for the Health Centre, Ritchie said, explaining that although admission is at no charge, funds are raised with the sale of the smoked barbecue dinner and drinks.

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

“Although we’re raising money for the Daycare, we will be donating a portion to Duck Mountain Provincial Park,” he said. “The Park has been so generous to us so we will be helping it renovate the rec hall. A new roof has been installed and offices are being formed to make the building more useable than it has been.

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

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

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

            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.

            Ritchie and Ruf 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

            The Ryan Keown band is the featured entertainment who will be 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 has 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 single Amen 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. Now his latest release Best Thing is approaching the Top 40 on both the Mediabase and Billboard charts.

“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 says. “Ryan connects immediately with his audience and has a commanding stage presence which makes him extremely popular at his live shows.”