In 1997 Inga Lamont was approached by Selkirk College Foundation to co-ordinate a Children’s Festival to be held in conjunction with the Selkirk College Festival of Trees. We felt there was a need in our community for an event for children with their families during the Christmas season. The goals we set were to provide an activity where the whole family could be involved and enjoy a day of making quality Christmas crafts for a reasonable price. The age group we targeted was infant to age 12. Cost would be children free and adults $2.00. We saw a need to provide some activities free of charge so all families could participate, whatever their income.
Food needed to be a part of the day as making the crafts would take a number of hours. All of the proceeds were to be given to the Selkirk College Foundation to be used for a yearly bursary. Since some students had to leave the college during the last semester due to lack of funds, it was decided to give this bursary to a student entering his/her last semester. As well, our requirement was that this student must be entered into a program at Selkirk College in which they would be working with children.
A small group of volunteers met and organized the first Children’s Festival which was held on November 23, 1997 in the show room of the Kalawsky Pontiac Dealership. Today we have about 100 volunteers which include: Girl Guides, Scouts, Air Cadets, students from the elementary and high schools, students in Selkirk College including those in the ESL program, Rotary interact, and many adult volunteers.
We have held a festival every year except in 2005 when the co-chair of our committee Doreen Grewcock died of cancer. Each year has been better than the year before. We provide 21 activities which children can make, ranging in prices from $1, to a gingerbread house for $5. We still provide a variety of free activities for everyone. As well we provide a quality gift shop where items can be bought from 5 cents to $2.00. These items are beautifully gift wrapped for the children at not cost.
This year will be the last year of the Selkirk College Children’sFestival. We have reached our goal of $30,000. in the Selkirk College Foundation.
This will ensure that a Bursary can be given each year. So, it is with mixed feelings that we will no longer provide the Festival for the Children of Castlegar and surrounding communities.
This year the Festival will be on Sunday November 27, 2011 at the community complex from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Come out and have a good fun filled day.