Sask. community celebrates with bean festival

The Riverhurst Bean Festival started with a field tour to view new research being conducted with beans.  |  Melissa Bezan photo

The annual summertime event returned in July after organizers were forced to cancel last year because of the pandemic

Riverhurst was recently filled with sounds people there may not have heard in a while — live music and laughter.

The Saskatchewan town hosted its third bean festival on July 24, after cancelling it in 2020.

The day included a field tour, a car show, beer gardens, vendors, live entertainment and a petting zoo.

“We had just the car show,” Terry Brennan, one of the festival’s organizers, said referring to 2020.

“People were very excited to come out and do something this year, just to be normal. Just to be out and about and see people. It was a little worrisome, we kept watching the updates all the time and we didn’t know if we’d be able to have the beer gardens.”

But with the announcements early in the summer that Saskatchewan would be completely reopening, the Riverhurst Bean Festival went ahead with all the planned events. The beer gardens were packed with people while live music played in the background.

Brennan started the Riverhurst Bean Festival in 2018 for her husband.

“We started in 2018, my husband, his name was Idaho Joe, he came from Idaho, brought dry beans into the area, and he was sick with cancer at that point… so I kind of started it for him,” she said.

“He passed away in 2019 but it just kept going. It was a great thing for the village and we were able to create this whole interest and education for pulse crops.”

From the start, Brennan said the community has supported the festival, even more so since the pandemic halted it in 2020.

She said everything has expanded, with more vendors and more cars in the car show, leaving them with a larger turnout than usual.

“Everything has grown immensely. We didn’t really know what we were doing that first year,” Brennan said with a laugh. “The local support is pretty good.”

Dana Skoropad, the MLA for Arm River, which includes Riverhurst, spent his day at the festival on the field tour and browsing the vendors.

Skoropad said he enjoyed being able to get out into the fields and see what was happening in the fields.

He said the festival is good for many reasons, including economic spinoffs and to bring attention to the work being done in this area of the province.

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