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Busy fall ahead for Kamloops Heritage Railway

By Jessica Messerer-Trosin

The Kamloops Heritage Railway is hoping to stay busy this fall, after a successful summer that saw several trips completely sold out.

Three exciting events are lined up for the month of October.

First up is the third annual Harvest High Tea taking place on Oct. 1. It began when the 2141 steam engine was down for major repairs. Volunteers were looking for ways to keep it alive without running the locomotive, said Rosanne Nelson, manager of railtour operations.

The stationary event takes place in a 1954 cafe lounge, which is almost entirely original. Tea and co ee is served with scones and fancy cakes in formal tea fashion with white tablecloths and linens.

“Last year some of the ladies who had been to high tea in England or wherever, came in costume with fancy coats and hats,” said Nelson.

A day later is the Kamloops Heritage Railway Open House. Visitors will get to see equipment, old photographs and learn about the history of the 2141 steam engine.

The Open House is part of Culture Days, a three-day, national event that highlights what di erent communities are doing culturally.

Only a few weeks later, the popular Ghost Train starts up again on Oct. 21.

The event includes psychics and fortune tellers, exorcisms and an original skit produced by students from TRU’s theatre arts program.

“It’s five nights of fantastic, spooky entertainment,” said Nelson.

While the Ghost Train is geared toward older audiences, children can enjoy the locomotive during Trick or Treat Train, taking place Oct. 29.

Nelson said that although it’s great to have the many international visitors to the Heritage Railway, she hopes that even more locals from Kamloops see what the train has to offer.

“This is your train,” she said.

For more information about the Heritage High Tea call 250-374-2141.

Tickets for the Ghost Train go on sale Sept. 26 and can be purchased online at kamrail.com.

 

A rube since the beginning

By Jessica Messerer-Trosin

Claude Richmond is the last original member of The Kamloops Rube Band which formed in 1949. He started when he was just 14 years old.

The band began as a promotional tool for a blood donor clinic being organized by the Junior Chamber of Commerce.

One chamber member, Gordon (Ginger) Clow, wanted to get a “clown band” together to raise awareness for the    blood drive.

“We thought we’d dress funny, like idiots,” Richmond said.

Clow managed to assemble a group of about 12 to parade and play music which helped to create a successful event.

The group had fun playing music and decided to keep the band together. Although he didn’t play any instruments himself, Clow singlehandedly kept The Rube Band together in the early years, said Richmond.

The Kamloops Rube Band’s name came from another band that played on Canada Day in Kamloops the same year: The Hayseed Band, the Rubes from Williams Lake.

“‘Rube’ is an old circus term. The carnival people called the locals rubes,” explained Richmond.

Serving as bandmaster from the beginning until about three years ago, Richmond noted that the band has changed since its inaugural year.

“We were kind of a rag-tag bunch for a long time, not much leadership and a small group when we started out,” he said.

Despite playing several local performances year-round and making annual trips to the Calgary Stampede and the PNE Parade, it wasn’t until the group decided to go to Expo ‘67 in Montreal for Canada’s 100th birthday that things dramatically changed in the band.

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