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St. Albert Kinsmen celebrate 60 years of service

"Serving the Community's Greatest Need," as Kinsmen continue legacy of giving

St. Albert is a city with numerous service clubs filling niche needs within the community. St. Albert Kinsmen, who received their charter in May 1964, is one of the longest-serving service clubs committed to bettering local and international organizations. 

“Sixty years is quite a benchmark. It shows the dedication of the club to the community and the community to the club. It’s a two-way street. Without the support of the city of St. Albert, we wouldn’t be able to do what we do. For us it’s a way to support the community in as many ways as we can,” said Kinsmen president Doug Christiansen. 

As an example, he points to the Rainmaker Festival taking place May 24 to 26. The three-day event, packed with concerts, a midway, market and rodeo, increases traffic and predictably boosts revenue for hotels, restaurants and stores.  

The success of the outdoor festival is weather-dependent. And despite the large revenue it generates, once expenses are cleared, Kinsmen on average pocket about $15,000. 

“We’ve always said it was a work of love. It’s something that gives back to the city. We don’t worry about making thousands and thousands of dollars. It’s about bringing people together.” 

The Kinsmen Rodeo, rebranded as Kinsmen Festival, is one of the earliest and largest extravaganzas the club has developed. In the early decades, it built a clubhouse originally called the Kinsmen Korral. 

With the assistance of federal and provincial government grants, it remodelled and enlarged the building and renamed it Kinsmen Banquet Hall. Today it hosts a variety of events including weddings and Christmas parties. It is also the home of St. Albert Dinner Theatre productions. 

The St. Albert club also paved the way for an RV Park filled to capacity during summer months. In the past two years, the Kinsmen have partnered with Borealis Lights to set up a spectacular drive-thru Christmas light display at the RV Park. The hundreds of thousands of twinkling lights celebrate holiday magic and attract visitors from surrounding areas.  

“It’s been a good partnership for both of us.” 

Always on the lookout for new ideas, Kinsmen are taking on the 2024 Snowflake Festival. It was previously operated by the St. Albert & District Chamber of Commerce. Christiansen explains a manpower shortage made it difficult for the chamber to continue hosting it.  

“They were looking for a group to take it over and they approached us. We took it to a vote and decided we could cross-promote it with Borealis Lights.” 

The Kinsmen’s motto is “Serving the Community’s Greatest Need.” In keeping with these words, the club supports numerous charities such as Sturgeon Hospital Foundation, Constable Wynn Foundation, and the new inclusive Lodgepole Play Park for children with physical disabilities. 

In addition, Kin Canada’s 800 clubs continue to support research Cystic Fibrosis. 

“Kin Canada has one of the biggest partnerships with Cystic Fibrosis. It has donated more than $45 million dollars to Cystic Fibrosis,” Christian said. 

So, when is Kinsmen’s big 60th birthday party bash? 

“We’re planning a celebration for the fall. Our actual charter date was May 4. But between the Rainmaker and other events, it was too much to plan for this month. Right now, we’re concentrating on Rainmaker and we’re inviting everyone to come out and support us.” 

Anna Borowiecki

About the Author: Anna Borowiecki

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