The Town of Bassano, Alberta, celebrated its 100th birthday this year with “The Best Dam Party in the West”.
To mark the occasion, between June 30 and July 3, 2011, Bassano was invaded with revelers hungry for pancake breakfasts, street dancing, music and BBQs. The population (normally just over 1300 souls) doubled for the weekend as all the stops were pulled to make visitors feel welcome and show everybody a good time.
Bassano is located 140 Km (80 miles) east of Calgary and 160 Km (95 miles) west of Medicine Hat on the number one Highway in southeastern Alberta – in the County of Newell and west of the City of Brooks, to be precise. It owes its existence to the building of the massive Bassano Dam just south of town, which began in 1910. Hence the rather cheeky town motto “The Best in the West by a Damsite!”
If you get a chance to visit the dam, make sure to take the tour (call in advance) right through the middle of the structure. It’s awesome to think of the entire Bow River flowing over your head like that. Twenty busloads went out to the dam during the weekend.
Today, except when they are partying, residents of Bassano work mostly in agriculture, oil and gas, manufacturing and retail. Community spirit is strong here, and many thanks go out to the Bassano Historical Society, the Town of Bassano and to the many volunteers that pitched in to make the centennial celebrations a big success.
For more information, and to get the local story, contact D’Arcy Harmacy, Director of Parks, Recreation & Tourism for the town of Bassano. He’s also the guy who looks after the caboose and waters all the planted baskets on mainstreet.