By Colleen Toulouse
SAGAMOK ANISHNAWBEK – Star Road, possibly the smallest in the community, shined bright with the warm sun and carnival style atmosphere for families to enjoy the End of Summer Street Party. Organized by the Sagamok Community Wellness Department (CWD) staff, the first annual event welcomed over 170 community members on Friday, September 25 to a free BBQ and fun activities for the whole family.
Youth volunteers ran games such as Texas Horse Shoes and Plinko for everyone to win a prize while dance music played in the background. The street bustled with children eating cotton candy, playing with balloon animals, and laughing on the bouncy castles. Shay-Lynn, aged 4 and her mother, Carrie-Lynn Hardisty were among the crowd participating in the activities.
“Shay’s favourite parts were the face painting and bouncy house. She enjoyed it and had a lot of fun.” said Hardisty. “It’s a good way to end the summer in our community because it gathers parents and their kids together.”
The event, which was scheduled a week before was postponed due to rainy conditions, was to provide a drug and alcohol free outdoor event for families to attend together and to get community members involved in community activities. Organizers originally planned a community picnic and since Elders Council held one in August, it was decided to try something different to end the summer. Family dances are held throughout the year, and keeping with the music, a street party would still have dancing with adding the bouncy activities, cotton candy, balloon twisters and games.
Shirley Gregorini, Community Wellness Worker and event organizer said, “We were glad the weather cooperated because we really wanted this to be an outdoor event. We didn’t want to have to move it indoors because it would have changed the overall event experience. We did have the backup plan of moving it into the Multi Ed Centre but we were all thankful the weather was nice.”
Organizers were overall pleased with the End of Summer Street Party – they surpassed their number of anticipated participants of 120. Assistance from various departments (Planning and Infrastructure, youth, community members and Niigaaniin workers) made it a memorable event. From the small to big details such as putting up road closure signs, cleaning the brush on the sides of the road, delivery and setting up of tables and chairs, Gregorini said there was a lot support and help.
“We did have a bit of a hiccup when we had to wait for the key to get the BBQ but a community member came to the rescue and let all the cooking get done on her BBQ on her deck,” she said. “Our manager was there and helped out and also authorized ordering pizza when we realized we were going to run short of food from the BBQ.”
The End of Summer Street Party on Star Road closed up with a much cooler temperature in the air as the sun went down and with many of the families thanking the organizers for the cool, fun event. Organizers now have a goal. “We are planning on this event being annual and hoping it will be bigger and better next year.”