Smoke on the Water, the annual community fundraiser and block party is celebrating its sixth year and is being expanded into a two-day event with organizers promising to offer “more music, more food and more opportunity to give back to the community.”
It is being held at Madge Lake next to Ministik Beach in Duck Mountain Provincial Park on August 2 and 3.
Started in 2014, Smoke on the Water began as a true "block party" in the Jubilee Subdivision of Duck Mountain Provincial Park, said information from organizers. It was the brainchild of originators who had seen it as a fundraising solution for the Assiniboine Health and Wellness Centre. Over the next three years, Smoke on the Water helped generated more than $2 million which was needed to construct the new medical centre in Kamsack.
In 2017, with the immediate needs of the new wellness centre satisfied, organizers had decided to turn Smoke on the Water over to Robert Ritchie so that it could continue its charitable work for the betterment of the Kamsack and Duck Mountain region. Ritchie decided to have the event moved to the old ball diamond area next to Ministik Beach in order to provide a better venue for the bands while being a better location in order to manage the hundreds of people coming that had been attending.
Over the past two years Smoke on the Water has donated a total of $40,000 to the KamKids Daycare.
“Kamsack is where I grew up and learned about Life,” Ritchie said, explaining as to why he agreed to take on the event. “It’s where I learned how to treat people, watching this community be good to its residents and to others.
“Val and I have returned home to raise my son in that same environment, which I think Smoke on the Water embodies,” he said. “That’s why I have kept it going. You can have fun helping others. What a great idea!”
In 2018 Ritchie brought in James Turner of Innovative Outdoorsman Marketing Ltd. to help with the promotion of the event. Turner and his team had launched and run the highly successful Madge Lake Walleye Cup each September, so Ritchie saw the synergy in getting Turner engaged to promote another event that was both a draw for the park and an economic opportunity for Kamsack.
Now in 2019, Ritchie is transitioning management and operations of the Smoke on the Water event to Turner, with the expectation that it will continue to be an essential fundraising opportunity for community organizations in and around Kamsack, the information said.
“The more I time I spend here in Kamsack, the more I fall in love with this community and the extraordinary potential it has,” Turner said about his interest in taking on such a high profile fundraiser. “In taking over Smoke on the Water, I will attempt to follow in the footsteps of the originators, continuing to grow this community-building tradition.”
As the event transitions over to IOMPresents, which is the events management division of Innovative Outdoorsman Marketing, one of the biggest changes people will notice is that it is now a two-day celebration, it said.
“The park is full of people over the August long weekend, and while they love the Friday night, we’ve heard many requests for something on Saturday, so we knew it was going to grow to a two-day event pretty much from my first conversation with Rob,” Turner said. “We will continue to support the great work done by the KamKids Daycare, but we wanted a second community organization to contribute as well.
“Coincidentally, this year is the 100th anniversary of Kamsack’s Westminster Memorial United Church, so it just made sense to contribute to them as well,”
Also new this year, Terrance Littletent, a world-renowned hoop dancer, will share his gift of dance, song and narrative with the Smoke on the Water audience, courtesy of Sask Parks, Culture and Sports.
In addition, River Valley Dental of Kamsack will have a putting green set up on Friday night for people to try.
While some things are changing, the expectation of great food associated with Smoke on the Water won’t be one of them, he said. “In Good Taste food services of Togo will continue to cater a fantastic dinner Friday night, while the Iron Grill of Kamsack, which is new to Smoke on the Water, will be serving a great dinner to those in attendance on Saturday.
“There will also be the bouncy castles for the kids, raffles, draws, 50/50 ticket sales, and the other features that the partygoers have come to expect for this event,” Turner said.
Friday night will feature music from one of Saskatchewan’s best loved and most talented musical families, Brad Johner and the Johner Boys, he said. AR Cash, a June Carter and Johnny Cash tribute band, will take the stage Saturday night, finishing with enough time for folks to make their way over to Ministik Beach for the park’s annual Saskatchewan Day fireworks display at 9:30 p.m.
General Admission is $10 each night. Dinner Tickets for Friday night are $40, including admission, supper and a drink ticket. Weekend passes are $50, which includes meals and admission for both nights.
“Dinner Tickets for Friday night are being limited to 400, so get them online through the @SOTWMADGE Facebook Page or in person from the Kamsack Liquor Store, the Kamsack Petro Canada, the Kamsack United Church, the Duck Mountain Provincial Park administrative office or from the Pickerel Point Concession,” he said. “Readers are encouraged to “like” the @SOTWMADGE Facebook page to get the most up-to-date information about Smoke on the Water.”