The May long weekend means the opening of the Bar U Ranch National Historic Site for another season.

Mike McLean says this year is of course, special, as one of Parks Canada's special places to feature free admission.

He says they have three special 150 events that will be on-going, including Horsemanship 101.

"It allows a visitor to come into a corral with a horse with one of our wranglers and they will talk you through how to catch the horse, how to groom the horse, how to saddle the horse and if it all works out, you'll get a wonderful photo opportunity with the horse too" McLean says.

He says visitors also have a chance to learn about the history behind different brands and even come up with their own and have it burned into a piece of wood.

And they can make their own Crafty Cow Ears that they can wear on and off site.

McLean says over the winter they did a lot of work on the machine shop and the slaughterhouse using the $4 million they'd received from the Canada Infrastructure Fund.

He says while there's still some finishing touches that need to be put on the buildings it shouldn't interfere with the experience at the site.

For this weekend specifically they're celebrating Hometown Heroes, commemorating World War I because of its significance to small western communities across the country and in the foothills. McLean says they'll be honouring the cowboys who went overseas to serve as well as the animals that were part of the effort as well as animals here at home.

"We're having the Strathcona mounted troop come down and they're going to be dressed in World War I vintage cavalry uniforms and doing cavalry drills and moving around the site and allowing people to find out what life was like for the horses and the men who served in the cavalry during the First World War," he says.

There'll also be an Sherman tank and tracked armoured personnel carrier brought in by the Strathcona historical vehicles group. There's even a chance to snipe at targets, using an air rifle.

And the teamsters will be back with their heavy horses planting the crop and Sunday at 1 o'clock there'll a parade of horse drawn vehicles.

On the provincial side, the Turner Valley Gas Plant has also reopened for the season.

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