By Kevin J. Sabo
For the Advance
Members of the Spady and Weber families, two long-standing families in the Castor region, came together for the Spady-Weber Century Farm Celebration, held on a smoky July 18. Still, the smoke did not dissuade the families from the full day of activities.
The celebration was originally scheduled to be held in 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic put those plans on hold. With Alberta’s recent reopening on July 1, the celebration was finally able to go ahead.
To start the day, a memorial service was held at Hopefield Cemetery, located a short jaunt off Highway 36, north of Castor.
The cemetery is near the old site of the Hopefield United Church, where many of the family went to church until it was closed in the late 1950s.
Many of the family are interred in that cemetery, though the Weber brothers’ parents are interred in Castor, so a small ceremony was held there as well.
After the memorial service, a catered lunch was held for the family at the Castor Community Hall, following which the public was invited to join in the festivities.
Displays were set up around the edge of the hall, highlighting the histories of the families, which people were able to view. There was also plenty of cake, pie, and ice cream to go around as well.
As part of the community hall celebration, a short program was held, which opened with “O Canada” and was followed by a Century Farm Award presentation. The award was presented by Castor Mayor Richard Elhard, on behalf of MLA Nate Horner, who was unable to attend.
Once the award presentation concluded, a slideshow presentation put together by Tricia Kirby, the daughter of Larry and Kathy Weber, was shown to the assembly at the hall.
The slideshow highlighted the circuitous route the Weber and Spady families took from Germany to Castor.
They left Germany for Norka, Russia in 1767. Some of the family then came to Stony Plain, Alberta in 1909, before they ultimately settled in the area northeast of Castor in 1920.
After the presentation at the community hall, people were invited out to the home quarter, located northeast of Castor where Dennis and Marilyn Weber still reside, for a barbecue and farm tour.
The Spady-Weber farm has been family-held since its inception and continues to be operated by Dennis, Larry, Melvin and Walter Weber.
Planning for the event had been in the works for a couple of years, including the application to the Government of Alberta for the century acknowledgment.
The initial request for 2020 was turned down, as it was found in the government archives that the property was not actually purchased by the Weber’s grandparents until 1926. The Centennial Award was ultimately granted for 2021 as the 1921 census showed the family living and working the land at that time.