By June Norvila
There were happy faces all round following the success of the
launch of the new Bentley history book entitled, Bentley – A Gateway through Time by the Bentley and District
Historical Society on Dec. 27 at the Blindman Valley Agricultural Centre.
There was a good attendance, with many people from outside the
community attending. The program opened with the singing of O Canada and a
welcome and invocation by historical society president Jack Siebenga.
After an introduction of the local “Queen Elizabeth II,” Her
Majesty offered a message to the community, and indeed the country, much to the
delight of attendees, as the event also honored her 60th Anniversary Diamond
Jubilee. The singing of God Save the Queen followed her appearance.
After the introduction of the historical society board, Mike
Stewart, who has been involved in printing many community history books and is
the general manager of Prolific Graphics, the firm from Red Deer that printed
the books, offered up some interesting statistics concerning the publishing of
the Bentley books.
Stewart reported that there were 1,296 pages with approximately
one million words. He said 11 tons of paper and paperboard were used, along
with 50 pounds of ink and 4,000 feet of gold foil. The two-volume set includes
2,246 photos and 20 maps, and took the company 600 hours to format onto pages,
he said, and they needed to use 165 printing plates.
He offered great accolades about the terrific job done by the very
dedicated, keen, enthusiastic Bentley group.
The winner of the free book set, drawn earlier from among names of
those who had entered an early contest to prompt people to contribute articles and
stories, was Doreen Woods.
Then came the part of the event many people had been waiting for —the
live auction of the limited edition sets. The reprint of the original history book
printed in 1982 was included along with the double-volume new set.
The auction was exceptionally well handled by accomplished
auctioneer Allan Olson from Rimbey who knew how to get the most from the
bidders while entertaining the crowd. The very first set to be offered for
sale, the “gold copy set,” brought $3,000. The second set fetched $1,200, while
the third set was purchased for $400.
Olson warned people not to wait too long to bid and he was right.
When there were only two sets left, the price went up. The fourth set sold for
$550 and the last limited edition set brought $750. In total, the limited
edition sets brought in $5,900 for the historical society.
Following the auction, free refreshments including hot dogs and
Queen Elizabeth II decorated cakes were offered and people could now buy the regular
new two-volume set or get a deal that included the older publication as well
for only $100.
There were display booths by the Bentley Elks Lodge No. 318 and
the Bentley Museum Society. Stuart Lyster offered free horse-drawn sleigh rides
courtesy the Bentley Museum Society. There was even free face painting offered
for the kids, but because the event drew an older type crowd the sleigh rides
and face painters were not kept real busy.
Bentley – A gateway Through Time a two-volume set, or as a three-book set that includes the reprint
of the first book can be purchased from society president Jack Siebenga,
secretary Myrna Robinson, treasurer
Lorna Landry, and directors Cora Knutson and Suzie Wiese, as well as at the
Bentley Town Office and the Bentley Museum.
About 300 new sets have been sold to date.