Kids’ fest in jeopardy

They’re running out of steam and if they don’t get help, the only Canada Day event in Salmon Arm will close down

Children at the 2014 Salmon Arm Children's Festival.

Children at the 2014 Salmon Arm Children's Festival.

They’re running out of steam and if they don’t get help, the only Canada Day event in Salmon Arm will close down.

“We’re not kidding; volunteers are needed to pull this off,” says organizer Kari Wilkinson, noting Jan Naylor organized the Canada Day Children’s Festival for 18 years. “A group of us took it on and have been running it for six years, but we’re running out of steam.”

The festival is an extremely popular family event attended by approximately 5,000 people each year.

The core planning committee consists of seven non-paid, community members who spend countless hours putting this festival together. The committee is now gearing up for the 2015 edition and is looking for serious volunteer commitment.

While more than 100 volunteers help out on the day of the event, Wilkinson says help is needed for set-up on June 30 and tear-down and tidy-up right after the festival.

The planning committee would like to find approximately 25 to 30 (strong) people to lighten the load.  Organizers are asking service groups, church groups, businesses, and anyone else who could spare a couple of energetic hours to help.

“If there are a lot of people, we can set up in about four hours, but when there’s just four of us, we basically spend two 12-hour days,” says Wilkinson, noting similarly, tear-down could be accomplished in about three hours. “We’re not getting paid, we’re doing this out of the goodness of our hearts because we want Salmon Arm to have an event like this.”

Young people are encouraged to volunteer during the event, but those under 12 must be accompanied by an adult. Students get certificates noting the number of hours they volunteer for credit at their schools.

“It would be great if we get some groups (Scouts, Guides, air or army cadets) but we need an adult to supervise them,” Wilkinson says.

Organizers are also open to new activities, with one caveat.

“We don’t allow the selling of items,” she says. “We want this festival to be a “free-for-all; we don’t want them to walk in and feel like they have to drop $50.”

Contact Karen or Kari at volunteer@sachildrensfest.com if you can help.