It’s time to overwhelm your brain with summer, people!
HOT SUMMER GUIDE by Noelle Chorney, Devin Pacholik, Nathan Raine, Jillian Bell and Chris Scott
Goodbye winter, where the only thing to see is snow, the only thing to feel is frostbite, the only thing to smell is… well, you get the picture. And hello, summer — the season that can overwhelm every one of our senses with a ton of awesome delights!
But how to decide which delights to be overwhelmed by? Well, the following list is far from comprehensive, but our summer-lovin’ writers have offered up a sweet selection of wonderful ways to overload your brain with sensory pleasures. Enjoy! /Chris Kirkland
The best part of summer is getting together with all your expatriate friends who’ve moved away and are coming home to visit their families. Taking your friends out to dinner at your favourite restaurants, showing off the new things your city has to offer, phoning everyone else to get together. Going to the museum, going for a walk in the park. Seeing your own city as a tourist with your friends. Seeing everyone in shorts and sandals after a Saskatchewan winter. Looking at the beautiful blue sky. /CS
See what our bodies look like. During roughly eight months of the year, exposed skin in the outdoors means almost certain frostbite. So for these few short months where we can actually expose our sun-deprived bodies, we take full advantage. Have some questionably skimpy short-shorts? A bathing suit you haven’t fit into since high-school? A new pair of flip flops that won’t contain your winter foot-odour problem? Screw it — life is short and so is summer. So if you got it, and even if you don’t, flaunt it! /NR
FABULOUS SK SIGHTS
Everyone says they look forward to summer vacation, but by week two, the sitter’s at the lake, you’ve cut an entire pack of gum out of your kids’ hair and are trying to explain why calling Old Mr. Thompson across the alley a “sack bag” is not appropriate language for children to use. Summer vacation is really all about escaping. It’s about getting out of the house, out of the yard, out of the city, and doing stuff you don’t normally have time to do.
Take a 1922 Pullman car along the southern prairie railway at Ogema; get robbed by bandits on horseback for charity, have a redneck feast, or take part in the rumrunner special and be a part of prohibition. Hit the Saskatchewan Festival of Words in Moose Jaw and meet your favourite writers, or take in the RCMP Sergeant Major’s Parade in Regina at Depot Division. Watrous not only has Danceland, but (and I guarantee you haven’t done this yet) the Saskatchewan UFOlogy Club hosts events throughout the summer. Be the guy with the crazy hair. /JB
Summer in Saskatchewan means being able to sleep with the windows open and hear the birds first thing in the morning. To sit in the park and enjoy the festivals. If you’re in Regina, even if you don’t go to Rider games, being close by means hearing everyone cheering in the stands. People are happy when the weather is beautiful: So much laughter, kids enjoying the summer, and tourists in town means meeting and talking to new people. /CS
Every summer, an eclectic mix of hipsters and families gathers at Ness Creek, Saskatchewan’s premier folk/rock/kind of everything festival. Taking place this year in the dead of summer, July 16-19, the festival lineup features some big names like Buck 65 and Los Texmaniacs, as well as some local talent including We Were Lovers and Library Voices. And if you want a break from the music, the sounds of the nature at nearby Nesslin Lake and Delaronde Lake provide a nice respite for your earballs. /NR
Everyone always takes their summer dates to dinner and a movie. Dinner and a movie. Dinner. And. A. Movie. There’s really only so many times you can do that without wanting to gouge out your eyes with the celery from your Caesar. Let me help you. Trust me, I’m a professional. It’s summer. The best thing about summer? Ghost stories around the campfire.
If your date thinks “camping” means a 3-star hotel, consider ghost tours. Moose Jaw runs ghost tours on Friday and Saturday nights — look up the Moose Jaw Trolley and get ready for an hour of spooky, sometimes campy edutainment. Or book a spot on Saskatoon’s Haunted History downtown walking tour (bonus: you can grab a pint at Winston’s before you leave AND when you come back!). If you’re in Regina, EcoParty hosts a 2.5 hour ghost tour of the city with a local psychic, starting in September (they do other tours all summer). Enterfreakment? Scareutainment? Let’s go with Scareutainment. /JB
Saskatchewan’s stand-up comedy scene combines the best things Saskatchewan and comedy have to offer, such as weather-related anger and laughter. Regular shows can be found in Regina and Saskatoon. The Queen City’s Pass the Hat, run by Dane Imrie, is the longest-running monthly joint in town, and The Artful Dodger does open mic nights on Mondays. In Saskatoon, Bud’s on Broadway puts on a weekly gig with Dez Reed. The province’s comedy scene has steadily evolved into a half-lizard fish creature that talks about Tinder and daddy issues. /DP
August brings Trifecta Music Festival, a gathering of artist-types from musicians to dancers to painters. Organizer Marvin Chan hasn’t officially announced exact dates yet, but the second Trifecta hopes to be bigger and better than the first. Rumour has it Trifecta will be Aug. 14-15 in Regina, but the lineup is yet to be revealed. The people like what Marvin and crew are building, and we hope to see and hear more at Trifecta for 2015. /DP
I scream! You scream! We all scream for ice cream! Because screaming and ice cream drown out the steady siren of doom ringing in your ears! If you want ice cream, savvy Regina and Saskatoon citizens know there are two places to get the good stuff. Saskatoon’s Homestead Ice Cream lines up in summer like some kind of ice creamy nightclub (TM). The Milky Way in Regina similarly draws crowds with their high-quality goodness. Skip the franchises — you want hand-crafted deliciousness. /DP
We’re smack in the middle of haskap season right now, and that will be followed by strawberry season, saskatoon berry season, sour cherry season, raspberry season, chokecherry and pincherry season, and so on. I bet every person in Saskatchewan either has their own secret berry patch or knows someone who does. Whether you grow them yourself, find friends with extras or want to go wildcrafting and find your own patch, it’s going to be a killer year for berries (unless they get hailed on…). If you’re less adventurous or don’t have the time or energy to pick your own, take a drive to the nearest U-pick or farmers’ market where you can purchase the fruits of someone else’s labours. Nothing says Saskatchewan flavour like wild or locally grown berries. /NC
Getting street food in Saskatchewan used to mean grabbing a hot dog somewhere or rummaging through a waste bin to find a bit of discarded ham sandwich. But with the food truck craze sweeping over North America in the past few years, we’ve got OPTIONS!
You’re probably familiar with what Regina has to offer. If you have a road trip to Saskatoon planned, be sure to check out the mobile awesomeness there with Disco Dogs, Scout Mex Hall, Ace Burger, Rebel Melt and many others. And in late summer [Sept. 19, to be exact] the YXE Street Food Festival brings all the food trucks, as well as music and beer, to one riverside city block. It’s like the best catered block party imaginable. The Saskatoon streets have never tasted so good, and you don’t even have to rummage through the trash. /NR
SMALL TOWN FAIRS
Pick a town, any town. It can be your own hometown, if you have one, a friend’s, or just a random town that you pick out on the map. Many of them have town fairs, agricultural competitions, ball tournaments, and preferably chuckwagon and chariot races. I live for the combined smell of these fairs: greasy burgers, fried chicken, dust, hay, sweaty horses, and manure. I don’t know about you, but when that potpourri hits my nose, I take a deep, deep inhale, grin, and feel like I’ve come home. After the giddiness passes, I head for the burgers and corn on the cob, while betting quarters on the races. /NC
Sure, you can grow plants in your house all year long (unless you’re like me, which means you can replace sadly deceased plants with new little sacrificial lambs all year long. Sigh.), but after six-plus months of smelling nothing but your own frozen nose hair outdoors, the riot of plant growth that hits Saskatchewan every summer is worth sniffing over and over. Do a greenhouse tour, make a point of sniffing every flower/shrub etc. in one of our many parks, take in the riverbank conservatory, or just lie in the grass and breathe deeply. /CK
If you’ve never been to Conglomerate Cliffs on the west bank of Cypress Hills Provincial Park, start making plans right now. And when you go, I defy you to just look and not touch. Those cliffs, with their orange clay studded with rounded river rocks, are just waiting for you to sit on them and run your hands over them. It’s like nature’s version of concrete, magnified 25X. And then you get the added benefit of a stunning view of the surrounding landscape. /NC
Few things feel truly better than dipping yourself into a cold body of water. It’s one of the few simple pleasures in life, and Saskatchewan’s absolutely full of awesome places to enjoy that pleasure. Waskesiu and Candle Lake are wonderful spots, with terrific views and an abundance of wildlife. Saskatoon has that sweet river with some excellent sandbars (just watch out for that current, kids!). If you’re in Regina, Echo Lake and Regina Beach are convenient options. And if you have time, a drive up north to Lac La Ronge is Canadian tundra cool-water perfection. And if all these places are too much of a hassle, your local public pool will do just fine. /NR