The Wetaskiwin Loyal Order of the Moose and the Wetaskiwin Women of the Moose are celebrating their 90th anniversary in the community, at the end of the month.
A banquet making the significant milestone will be held at the Moose Hall in Wetaskiwin on Jan. 27. Cocktails are scheduled for 5:30 with dinner to follow at 6:30.
The Wetaskiwin Women of the Moose Chapter 559 were first founded on Oct. 25, 1928. The Wetaskiwin Loyal Order of the Moose #1559 was charted Jan. 11, 1929.
The women’s chapter started with approximately 28 founding members. “They had a deuce of a time trying to get started because they didn’t have enough members,” said Women of the Moose member Shirley Grant.
When the Loyal Order of the Moose chartered in Wetaskiwin there were 50 members and by the time the first meeting was held another seven had joined.
“We do a lot for the community. We do a lot for the hospitals, we do a lot for the seniors, we do a lot for the young people,” said Shirley.
“From the men’s point of view, the men help the kids with hockey, ball … It’s all about the kids,” said Loyal Order of the Moose member Roscoe Grant.
He explained in the past the Loyal Order of the Moose has used funds to purchase sport equipment for families in the community that could not afford the expense.
“You’ve never stood so tall ‘til you stoop to help a child,” said Roscoe.
The women’s chapter participates in community parades with floats, and the men’s chapter gets quite involved in the Wetaskiwin Rawhide Rodeo.
Scholarships are another focus of the Loyal Order of the Moose.
“STARS is another big one we give to,” said Shirley.
For the first number of years the groups operated out of the basement of the Driard Hotel. In 1983, with $30,000 and a loan from the Credit Union, along with donations from members, paid for an addition to what is now the current hall; the hall was built east and north.
The Loyal Order of the Moose and the Women of the Moose raise funds for community initiatives through casino nights, bingos, catering, and hall rentals.
As with most service clubs, the two Wetaskiwin chapters have seen their member populations rise and fall over the years.
“We were up as high as 150,” said Shirley. “We are one of the highest, if not the highest, memberships going,” said Shirley.
Roscoe says while being involved with the Loyal Order of the Moose has been hard work over the years there has been a lot of fun and good memories as well.
“We used to run dances,” said Roscoe. The lilac dance saw the Moose Hall filled with lilacs.
Another of Roscoe’s memories is the hall’s New Year’s Eve dance. “The woman would wear long dresses, it was quite a show.”