Dauphin’s Countryfest to pay to tribute to victims of bus crash

The city of Dauphin, Man., is on the verge of welcoming thousands of visitors for its annual marquee event, but the community is still mourning the loss of 16 residents in a horrific crash on the Trans-Canada Highway only two weeks ago.

Organizers of Dauphin’s Countryfest, which gets underway Thursday night and runs through the Canada Day weekend, say they’re making sure they acknowledge the victims of the tragedy at the festival.

Countryfest president Duane McMaster told 680 CJOB’s Connecting Winnipeg that recent events are at the forefront of everyone’s minds in the tight-knit city, and that a tribute is planned.

McMaster said a moment of silence is planned for opening night, as well as a larger acknowledgement when the mainstage opens Friday.

“We’re going to be doing a tribute to the victims of the crash on our jumbotrons, and doing a moment of silence from the mainstage in the amphitheatre,” he said.

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The festival is also raising funds throughout the weekend via the sale of #DauphinStrong stickers.

“We’re going to have those stickers available at various locations around the site, with donation jars if people want to make donations.

“All of the funds collected there are going to go directly to the Dauphin Active Living Centre … to help the survivors and the families.”

Click to play video: '‘There was love in the air’: Dauphin begins healing journey after meaningful vigil'

‘There was love in the air’: Dauphin begins healing journey after meaningful vigil

Fifteen seniors from Dauphin and the surrounding area were killed on a casino trip June 15, when the minibus they were travelling in went into the path of a semi-trailer near Carberry, Man. A sixteenth victim died in hospital a few days later.

In addition to preparing for the influx of visitors for Countryfest, Dauphin residents have been preoccupied with funerals, vigils, and other gatherings to mourn their collective loss as they try to return to some form of normalcy.

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McMaster said Countryfest has long been a way for members of the Dauphin community to come together, and he hopes the event will continue to strengthen the residents’ resolve in light of the tragedy.

Click to play video: 'Donations for Dauphin victims families'

Donations for Dauphin victims families

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