Good company, striking floral arrangements and delectable tea and scones are on the menu at a historic venue on Saturday.
The Millarville Flower Festival returns to the Christ Church Millarville on July 13 for the 57th annual event that’s a feast for the senses with the church grounds, church house and cemetery adorned with bouquets of flowers and scones and strawberry jam served with tea and coffee.
“It’s the dedication from the people in the church, we make sure it’s done,” said Pauline Buckley, co-president of the Christ Church Millarville Ladies Guild. “It’s the history of the church, the history of the people who lived here. We’ve got a lot of family members buried in the cemetery. It’s their families who come and decorate the stones.
“It’s a community event, it’s not just our church, but the whole community of Millarville that makes it work.”
The venue for the long running event is steeped in history.
The church officially opened in 1896 when Rev. R. Murray Webb-Peploe, an Anglican priest, come over from England to ranch in the Foothills.
Rev. Webb-Peploe donated the land and oversaw the construction of the church, which was built using the seldom seen vertically laid spruce logs rather than the traditional horizontal construction.
This was met with local opposition as some residents were concerned it would not hold up to the chinook winds in the region.
On the contrary, the church’s unique structure survived and remains active with services held every Sunday at 11:30 a.m. led by Rev. Allen Getty and Rev. Gordon Pontifex.
“I’m in charge of the tea and what we find with the tea is the surroundings, the (guests) sit and look at the mountains and enjoy the country air,” Buckley said. “We’ve had church groups come out from the city and the tea is virtually over and they’re still sitting there enjoying the surroundings.
“The church is so well decorated with flowers and it’s history, it’s a 123-year-old church and it’s also the Heartland (CBC show) church and we’ve got people that watch Heartland that come and want to see the church and see the grounds.”
The 57th annual Christ Church Millarville Flower Festival runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on July 13.
The serving of the tea of scones, homemade strawberry jam and real whipped cream will be held in the Church House, on the same grounds as the church, which is a ton of tradition in its own right after being built in the 1950s.
The cost of the tea is $6 for adults and $3 for children under the age of 6.
Organizers encourage everyone young and old to attend the historic event at the beautiful church.
“The world is moving at such a fast pace,” Buckley said, “That it’s nice to come and just slow down and enjoy the day.”
Buckley said there are approximately 50 to 60 volunteers who help put the event on, from making the homemade jam in April to ironing out the details in June to hosting the popular event in mid-July.
Those wanting to make donations of cut or potted flowers should do so by bringing them to the church by 6 p.m. on July 12.
Christ Church Millarville is located on Highway 549 between Okotoks and Millarville, approximately five kilometres east of the Millarville Racetrack.