Once again, Riverside Park was full of families enjoying the Innovation Federal Credit Union Picnic in the Park.

A partnership with the City of Swift Current and Innovation has once again brought the fun back to the open spaces of Riverside Park. 

Featuring live musical performances, games, food, refreshments, workshops, show-n'-shine setups, and more than a few local groups, this year was another big hit.

For Dan Johnson, CEO of Innovation Federal Credit Union, the chance to bring this event back for its 43rd installment was one they couldn't pass up, considering the huge year Innovation had. 

In 2023, the local Credit Union was able to give back $4.2 million in patronage rewards.

"When I look at that, that's super exciting and makes us very proud," said Johnson. "But this is one of those things where it's really just about families getting out, and people coming out and connecting. We've been doing it for so long that it's just nice to be able to give back to those who helped us be successful as a Credit Union."

The City of Swift Current had a host of youthful workers helping out, running bouncy castles and other efforts around the park. 

Helping direct everything on the City side of the event was Krista Caswell, community recreation coordinator for the City of Swift Current. 

"The City is loving being a partner with Innovation Federal Credit Union, on Picnic in the Park," said Krista. "We were so happy to partner with them again last year to bring it back after the pandemic."

Of course, a park wouldn't be the same with a few dogs in and around the area. Bringing out a few puppies and kitties for the day was the Swift Current SPCA. 

At that booth, people could talk to members of the SPCA like Ashley Muhle, fundraising manager for the animal shelter. She and others were not only showing off their four-legged friends but also running a few raffles. 

"One starting today for our washer and dryer set, donated by Samsung and Dufresne Furniture, will be at the adopt-a-thon event next Saturday at Dufresne Furniture," said Muhle. "We'll have those tickets there as well."

Taking a more hands-on approach to get the community involved was the Lii Bufloo Métis Local #35. They had George Fayant, a red river cart builder joining them, walking people through how to tear down a replica cart. 

"I brought a sample of the tools and I let people try them," said Fayant. "I also brought a half-scale cart that in the long run will be taken apart and put back together as a demonstration of how they were assembled." 

A little way over across the park was Southwest Crisis Services, who in years past ran the Duck Derby on the Swift Current Creek on the same day as Picnic in the Park. This year, they opted out of the rubber duck racing business to take a more direct approach in Picnic in the Park to raise awareness for Southwest Crisis Services. 

Becky Walker, executive director for Southwest Crisis Services, was helping promote their upcoming summer programs, Free to be Girls and Free to be Boys. 

"Free to be Boys is July 23rd, 24th, 25th," said Walker. "Free to be Girls is August 6th, 7th and 8th and they're all free and they run from about 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. for three days each." 

Beside Southwest Crisis Services was the ever-popular with kids Swift Current Soap Box Racing Association. Vice-President Derek Jahnke was excited to show kids the soap box race car they had, and dive into the over 40 years of history they have in Swift Current. 

"We got our trophies on display and we're just ready to ask and answer any questions for everybody and just tell you what Soap Box is all about," said Jahnke. 

The big race of the year for the Swift Current Soap Box Racing Association will be June 16. 

Also showing off their new wheels were the various members of Silver Wings Access Van Inc. The van they purchased after last year's campaign to get a new accessible van for Meadows residents was on display.

Decked out in decals of sponsors, and showing off its custom chair lift, the van was all shined up for its day in the park.

Tracey Schlamp, president of Silver Wings Access Van Inc., was eagerly recruiting volunteer drivers to help get the van from A to B.

"We're really pushing to get some volunteer drivers," said Schlamp. "That would be really important whether you are retired, or maybe you're a teacher off for the summer, if you want to volunteer, drive for maybe an hour or two a week, that would be great. Please let us know."

Other groups in the park included CMX Outdoors and their motocross lineup, along with the Drug Strategy Action Committee. 

Both of Swift Current's premier car clubs were out in force, with the Eliminators and the Rogue Cruisers showing off the chrome in the hot afternoon sun.

And plenty of people turned in a dollar for tickets, each of which could be exchanged for refreshments like hot dogs and sodas. 

By the end of the day, many were able to leave the Picnic in the Park with new memories of another great year at the event.