Estevan has a lot going for it during the summer months, but one thing that it has been lacking is that big-time annual event or festival at a fixed location and on a set date.
The upcoming Pure Energy Weekend each year – typically the final weekend of August – is great, but it's at a few locations spread out around the city and the RM. Estevan's fair and rodeo are great, too, but those are in June and September, respectively.
The Souris Valley Theatre is spread out over several weeks in July and, in most years, August.
There have been special one-time summer events, such as the 2005 Saskatchewan Centennial celebrations and the 2011 visit from the Kraft Celebration Tour, but they weren't going happen annually.
But it appears Estevan might finally have their annual summer spectacular.
The second annual Beach Bash was held August 17, and it proved to be an overwhelming success. It's hard to say exactly how many people were in attendance. The turnstiles said 1,100, but that doesn't include the hundreds of people who watched the nighttime fireworks from boats on Boundary Dam Reservoir or other nearby locations.
The fireworks were the main event, and they delivered. It was a magnificent show that rated among the best seen in the region in years.
But Beach Bash was more than just great fireworks. The music – from the upbeat and energetic reggae beats of the Third Town Band to the entertaining cover songs of Third Degree Birnz – was terrific. The beach and water activities offered something for everybody.
The new beach volleyball courts drew rave reviews, too.
There are a couple issues that will have to be addressed. One shouldn't be too difficult to resolve: finding more parking spaces. But most fair-minded people will remember the good times that they had at Beach Bash, and not the struggles to find a parking spot.
The other challenge is beyond the control of organizers. Something has to be done with the gravel access road to the Boundary Dam site. Visibility was poor in some areas of the road. Once the road is resurfaced, it will be a welcomed site, not only for those attending Beach Bash, but those who are using the road to access the Boundary Dam campground and boat launch in the spring and summer months.
Regardless, people have embraced Beach Bash, which is wonderful to see, because it is that type of marquee, annual event that will nicely round out the summer in Estevan.