The tallest replica of an oil lantern in the entire world is 42 feet tall. It lives in Donalda and is lit every night.
Of all the “biggest”, “tallest”, “whatever-est” statues in towns all over western Canada, for me, Donalda’s oil lantern is the best! It is impressive by day, but at night it isn’t so much a beacon as it is a glow that warms the entire town.
Why do they have a giant oil lantern overlooking their Badlands coulee? Because they also have one of the largest lamp collections in the country! Over 1,600 in total. With them, this beautiful little town is unlocking the past, and lighting the future.
And so we charged into town ready to take on the coulees. Our fearless local guide, Becky Clement, started the ride at 10:00am and then looped back to pick up more riders at 1:00pm. In total, she led the ride for 7.5 hours through some of the most beautiful landscape our riders had ever seen. They were over the moon.
After the ride, I wasn’t sure how a “pink-nic” on main street would work, but when I came around the corner and saw all the pink picnic tables, saw all the people sitting and visiting at them, saw the kids line dancing to music being played by CFCW, I knew that this was going to be one of my favourite stops on this year’s tour — and that was before I tasted the fabulous food prepared by Theresa’s Catering. We don’t often eat this well! She made the best fried chicken you’ve ever tasted and then did great cauldrons of sweet and sour pulled pork to go beside it. There was fantastic Caesar salad, amazing potato salad and macaroni salad, garlic toast … and a yummy caramel dessert.
After the silent auction, we waddled back to camp and did some housekeeping work and discussed the plans (or lack thereof) for the next day. At about 9:00 we jumped in trucks and roared off to … the drive-in movie!
Yes! Donalda has its own drive-in movie in the coulee! As you sit there you can see the cattle up on the ridge above. Our show for the night was “Cat Ballou”, so the comment was made that this would be a 3-D western! *grin* At the end of the movie, they had fireworks. What a great way to end this perfect night!
Next stop: Camrose … sort of.