Posted on

Organizers cancel fireworks shows, festivals, sports events over drought, heat

Organizers cancel fireworks shows, festivals, sports events over drought, heat

Events around the Netherlands are being cancelled or modified due to the ongoing drought and the recent high temperatures. An official national heat wave is expected to be declared this weekend, which happens after five consecutive days of temperatures above 30 degrees Celsius measured in De Bilt, Utrecht.

The thermometer should read 30 degrees in far Noord-Holland, 31 degrees in Friesland and Groningen, 32 degrees in Utrecht and the eastern region, and 33 degrees in the south. Despite overnight temperatures falling as low as 17 degrees, it should rise back above 30 degrees across the country on Sunday.

A fireworks show that was to be held on Saturday evening in Leersum, Utrecht was canceled because of the fire hazard. “Unfortunately, by order of the Utrecht Security Region, the fireworks cannot continue. It is not safe due to the drought,” the organizers said.

The fireworks show is part of the annual Bloemencorso Leersum, which has been held since 1952. The fireworks were to be staged from a park in Leersum. Due to the fire hazard caused by the fireworks, the municipality just mowed the entire park.

“Unfortunately, mowing the flowery field was not necessary,” said the municipality of Heuvelrug, which also includes Leersum, in a message posted on Twitter on Friday.

The Halve Marathon Vlieland, which was to be held on Sunday, has also been cancelled. The organization made the decision in consultation with the Friesland Security Region and the municipality of Vlieland. It would have been the first time the half marathon was organized since before the coronavirus pandemic, but the organization said it would have been irresponsible to put the runners and volunteers on the course given the heat. “The persistent heat in combination with an easterly wind will cause temperatures to become too high, especially on the shell paths in the dunes area,” the Halve Marathon Vlieland website said.

The Harvest Festival in Oldebroek, Gelderland, was also cancelled on Saturday. The party includes inspections of cows, horses and sheep, but the associations that are involved have withdrawn due to the heat. Practitioners of old crafts also cancelled.

The Bemmelse Paarden Dagen, a horse event in Bemmel, Gelderland, will continue on Monday and Tuesday, at least for the time being. The pony market on Monday has been shortened. At that market, which has taken place since 1958, animals are sold with a traditional handshake between traders and buyers.

The 255th shooting competition organized by the Roman Catholic shooting association of southern Limburg (RKZLSB) was to take place in Mechelen, in Limburg. That event was also postponed due to the heat. It will instead take place next Sunday. “After all, the personal health of all participants and all visitors should have priority and is the reason for this decision,” said the municipality of Gulpen-Wittem.

A horse-riding competition set for Saturday and Sunday was canceled in Ysselsteyn in northern Limburg, and the BraDeLierloop running competition planned for Saturday in De Lier, Zuid-Holland, was also canceled.

Posted on

Papal visit organizers say survivors will be given priority at Alberta events

Papal visit organizers say survivors will be given priority at Alberta events

Ed Upland, left, and Ashley Sparvier, right, work to make a medicine wheel garden at the Ermineskin Residential School memorial in Maskwacis, Alta., on June 27. The garden will have quarters of red, green, yellow and white flowers with an orange perimeter.Amber Bracken/for the Globe and Mail

With only 10 days to go until the first papal visit to Canada in 20 years, organizers of the papal visit are scrambling to prepare for his arrival as thousands of people expect to attend.

In Alberta – the first stop in the six-day tour beginning July 24 – organizers estimate up to 15,000 people will attend a public event at Maskwacis, home of four First Nations, located south of Edmonton. Another 25,000 are expected to participate at the pilgrimage at Lac Ste. Anne, said Shane Schreiber, assistant deputy minister for the government of Alberta, at an Edmonton press conference Thursday. A mass at Edmonton’s Commonwealth Stadium on July 26 has capacity for roughly 65,000 people.

Pope Francis’s visit, with the slogan “Walking Together,” will focus on healing and reconciliation with Indigenous people and the devastating legacy of the residential school system. The papal visit is also expected to draw thousands of practising Catholics from across the country. After arriving in Edmonton, the Pope will attend several events before travelling to Quebec City and ending his trip in Iqaluit.

Confirmation of the visit came six weeks after Pope Francis apologized at the Vatican on April 1 to almost 200 Indigenous delegates and survivors for abuses against children in the schools. Many survivors want to see the Pope issue a stronger apology when he is in Canada for the Catholic Church as a whole, rather than for the harms inflicted by individuals.

Ottawa commits more than $35-million for supports during Pope’s visit to Canada

The Catholic Church ran about 60 per cent of the government-run residential schools that operated for over a century and inflicted harms and abuse against Indigenous children. In 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission called upon the Pope to apologize, in Canada, to survivors and their families for the abuses in the schools.

The Pope is expected to expand on his previous apology to residential school survivors at his first stop at the former Ermineskin Residential School in Maskwacis.

Anne Wildcat, the papal visit’s Maskwacis site co-ordinator, said organizers need to be mindful of emotions and trauma for survivors in their planning and logistics.

“This is really a solemn and emotional event, and so we’re trying to be very careful with our survivors, to ensure we have ample supports available at the event,” said Ms. Wildcat.

“We’re really hoping for the Holy Father’s visit is that it will be simple, meaningful and beautiful for those who will be able to view the events,” said Marion Haggarty-France, the papal visit’s Alberta sites co-ordinator, at the press conference.

Ms. Haggarty-France said they have had to plan the visit on a shorter than normal time frame. “Normally these events have years to plan for; we’ve had about four months,” Ms. Haggarty-France said.

The Alberta government is co-ordinating park and ride services for those who’ve registered for the events to help minimize traffic and is expecting temporary road closures and detours. Organizers are encouraging people to arrive early.

While organizers have assured several Indigenous communities that survivors will not be turned away from events, they said Thursday that capacity limits at each event will need to be taken into account. Prioritization will be given to survivors, particularly elders.

Ms. Wildcat said that Maskwacis is doing their best to manage expectations, capacity limits and safety, knowing a large number of people want to hear the apology in person. “We don’t want to turn anyone away, we don’t … specifically survivors, because this is for them and they’re our focus,” she said.

In Quebec City, organizers said last week that use of public transport is encouraged by anyone wishing to attend events there from July 27-29. Public viewing will be available on the Plains of Abraham, which has a capacity of 140,000 people. Indigenous survivors and their families will be given priority seating at all Quebec City events and the public viewing location.

The papal visit will cost Alberta between $10-million and $20-million, said Mr. Schreiber, amid infrastructure upgrades and road pavings.

The federal government said this week it will contribute more than $35-million during the visit to support survivors and Indigenous communities. This will include money for travel for survivors, community-led activities and translation of events in Indigenous languages.

Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. Sign up today.

Posted on

With BA.5 on the rise, what should event organizers keep in mind? An expert explains

With BA.5 on the rise, what should event organizers keep in mind? An expert explains

At the same time, many people have lots of summer events planned, including weddings, birthday celebrations and casual get-togethers. What should event organizers keep in mind? How can people think about their own risk in deciding whether to attend and precautions to follow? What if you have to attend something — for example a work function — but really don’t want to bring Covid back to your family? And what about people who have already recovered from an infection — do they still have to worry about reinfection and the risks of illness, including long Covid?

Dr. Leana Wen: BA.5 is now the dominant variant here in the United States and in many parts of the world. It appears to be the most transmissible variant yet. It also may be partially immune-evasive, meaning that people who have gotten their vaccinations or who have previously had Covid-19 may not have much protection against mild or asymptomatic infection.

However, vaccination does protect against severe illness. People who are unvaccinated should get vaccinated, and those not yet boosted should do so. Being up to date on vaccines will help to protect you from the potentially severe consequences due to Covid-19, which ultimately is the goal of vaccination.

The reason it’s a concern now is that there are high levels in many parts of the country. In areas with a lot of circulating virus, with such a transmissible pathogen, one’s chances of catching Covid-19 are high.

CNN: Does that mean people should cancel in-person events?

Wen: After two and a half years of the pandemic, I don’t think it’s reasonable to ask that people continue to forgo weddings, birthday parties and other get-togethers. A lot of people have decided that as long as they are unlikely to become severely ill from Covid-19, they will not take precautions to avoid it.

On the other hand, a lot of people still really want to avoid Covid-19. Event organizers should take into account the wishes of those gathering.

CNN: What are some things people can do if they are organizing a get-together?

Wen: First is recognizing that any time people are gathering, especially indoors, there will be a risk of coronavirus transmission. This is especially true with a very contagious virus, and when there is so much virus around us. It’s not realistic to set the expectation that no one could get coronavirus at the event, though you should try to reduce risk.

Some ways to do that include, first and foremost, trying to have the gathering outdoors. We have said this throughout the pandemic, and it remains true now that outdoors is much safer than indoors. Coronavirus is airborne, and the more air circulation you have, the better.

Meeting outdoors is "much safer" than indoors when it comes to risk of Covid-19 infection, CNN Medical Analyst Dr. Leana Wen said. College students socialize on March 18 in New Orleans.

Ventilation also matters. A partial indoor/outdoor space where there is good air circulation will be better than one that’s entirely enclosed. And one with open windows and doors and lots of spacing will be lower risk than a small, enclosed room with everyone crowded together.

If organizers want to reduce risk further, they could ask that everyone take a home rapid test just prior to the event. Rapid tests aren’t perfect, but they are very good at detecting if someone has enough virus at that point in time that they could infect others. Providing testing at the door is an additional safeguard, in case not everyone has access to testing beforehand.

Of course, masks can also reduce virus transmission. At this point in the pandemic, it may be difficult to get people to keep masks on when most places no longer require them. I think it’s more realistic to plan for an outdoor event, and, if it has to be indoors, to ask for testing instead of required masks (though masks should, of course, be an option for those who want additional protection).

CNN: What’s your advice for immunocompromised individuals or folks who just really want to avoid contracting Covid-19?

Wen: When you are invited to an event, find out what precautions the organizer is taking and then gauge risks accordingly. An outdoor event, or at least one where you could stay outdoors the entire time, is quite low risk. An indoor event that requires either testing or masks is also lower risk.

I'm an anxious new mom. Here's why I've decided to vaccinate my baby

What about crowded indoor events that don’t require testing and masks? One-way masking with a high-quality mask — N95 or equivalent — remains protective, but your mask must be well fitting and you must keep it on the entire time. If you go, consider eating beforehand and taking off your mask only when outdoors or in a place where you are by yourself.

At the end of the day, there is no clear answer to whether you should go — it depends on how much you want to avoid Covid-19 versus the benefit you would derive from attending.

CNN: If someone has had Covid-19, do they need to worry about reinfection? What do we know about the risk of long Covid with reinfection?

Wen: Reinfection is certainly possible. Those who had pre-Omicron variants like Delta or Alpha are susceptible to reinfection with Omicron subvariants. We are even seeing reinfections with people who had the original Omicron variant and are now getting BA.5.

The chance of reinfection within the first two or three months following the initial infection is pretty low but increases after that. People previously infected benefit from vaccination and boosting, which further decreases their chance of both severe illness and infection.

There is a new study, posted online but not yet peer-reviewed, that shows those with reinfection are at higher risk for long Covid and other potential consequences with each infection. These results could well prompt some people to say they want to avoid reinfection as much as possible.

CNN: A lot of people are having to travel for conferences, meetings and other work functions. What’s your advice if they don’t want to bring Covid-19 back to their families?

Wen: There are two options. One is to try to reduce their risk while traveling and at these functions as much as possible, including limiting time indoors with others, masking during all indoor interactions, and avoiding indoor events with food and drink — or at least keeping a mask on during these functions and eating and drinking separately elsewhere.

The second option is to assume that you will be exposed and could contract Covid-19 during these work functions, then quarantine yourself and test before interacting with family members. Not everyone is able to do this — perhaps they have young children or other family responsibilities — but that is another option that may be right for some people.

Posted on

B.C. powwow organizers apologize after identity-based event rules spark outrage |

B.C. powwow organizers apologize after identity-based event rules spark outrage  |

Organizers of a popular powwow in Kamloops, B.C. have issued their “sincerest apologies” after the event rules posted to their Facebook page sparked significant public outrage.

According to a Tuesday post, contestants in the 41st Annual Kamloopa Powwow must be “at least (1/4) Native Blood,” and proof of “tribal identification/status may be required.” The rules also stated that dancers must wear full regalia and “be of the correct gender for that category.”

The rules sparked immediate backlash, with some social media users accusing the Kamloopa Powwow Society (KPS) of enforcing colonial blood quantum, excluding gender diverse and two-spirit people, and upholding transphobia.

“My deepest sympathy to those who have been hurt and harmed in that posting,” said an organizer in a video posted to the group’s Facebook page on Wednesday. “The KPS board has been able to meet to discuss how we’re going to move forward and looking at those rules and making our wrong right.”

Story continues below advertisement

Global News has reached out to the KPS for comment on this story.

Read more:

Second annual convoy to Kamloops, B.C. honours the ‘lost souls’ of residential school

The term “blood quantum” refers to a colonial blood measurement practice used to determine who can obtain government-issued Indigenous status and who can pass it onto to their children. While not specifically referenced in Canadian legislation, the Indian Act lays out such criteria.

In a video viewed more than 154,000 times as of Wednesday, two-spirit Nakota Sioux TikToker Kairyn Potts said the Kamloopa Powwow is “enacting literal colonization tactics.” He further described the gender limitations as “heartbreaking” and a “step backwards for our community.”

“It is actively undoing a lot of the work that myself, and many, many, many other advocates for the two-spirit and Indigenous queer community are putting in so much work, and love and energy into,” he said.

Click to play video: 'Inside Pride: Two-spirited Sask. Indigenous girls inspire others to be themselves'

Inside Pride: Two-spirited Sask. Indigenous girls inspire others to be themselves

Inside Pride: Two-spirited Sask. Indigenous girls inspire others to be themselves – Jun 10, 2022

On Twitter, Cree lawyer and activist Tanya Kappo described the “blood quantum” and “correct gender” stipulations as “shameful.”

Story continues below advertisement

Stellat’en First Nation actor and model Shannon Baker tweeted, “Kamloopa powwow you should be ashamed of yourself! Blood quantum and being anti LGBTQ2S+ is colonial thinking.”

On Facebook, the Kamloops Pride Society said it has reached out to the Kamloopa Powwow Society to encourage a change in rules that intentionally includes two-spirit, trans and non-binary folks.

“Two-spirit people were historically celebrated and valued in Indigenous culture, and these decisions don’t align with that,” it wrote.

“Many of the voices we are hearing are echoing the sentiments of how these rules and decisions stem from the white colonialism, patriarchy, and systemic issues that still oppress these communities.”

Read more:

Being Two-Spirit and trans in Canada: How colonization shaped the way we view gender diversity

In its own Facebook post, C&T Tabulating, a business that tabulates and measures powwow outcomes through a point system, said it was withdrawing its services from the Kamloops event.

“We support peoples choices, we support inclusivity and cannot in good conscious put ourselves in a situation where our two spirit youth within our family see us enforcing any of these rules (sic),” it wrote.

It was clear in the event organizers’ Wednesday apology that other dancers and individuals had withdrawn as well.

Story continues below advertisement

“I do not know how we’re going to recover from this,” the event organizer said in their video. “We respect your decisions and just know that we are here to relook at how we’ve been operating and how we can move forward in a good way so there is no room for hurt and harm to anyone.”

Click to play video: 'Emotional support workers preparing for Pope Francis’ visit to Maskwacis'

Emotional support workers preparing for Pope Francis’ visit to Maskwacis

Emotional support workers preparing for Pope Francis’ visit to Maskwacis

According to the KPS, the now-controversial rules stemmed from a German participant in the powwow who won an event one year, upsetting some participants, and from an elder who once spoke about the need for the jingle dress category to be a women-only event.

“Today we’re more open to acknowledge our two-spirited,” the organizer said, “and even … Indigenous communities that it includes First Nations, Métis and the Inuit people.”

She herself was “hurting” as a result of the pain caused by the rules, she added. In its Facebook post, the KPS said the rules posted this week don’t reflect how it has run the last 19 powwows.

Story continues below advertisement

The Kamloopa Powwow takes place on Tk’emlúps te Secwe̓pemc territory, but the First Nation does not organize the event. Global News has reached out to its chief, Kúkpi7 Rosanne Casimir, for comment.

The Hope for Wellness Help Line offers culturally competent counselling and crisis intervention to all Indigenous peoples experience trauma, distress, strong emotions and painful memories. The line can be reached anytime toll-free at 1-855-242-3310.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Posted on

‘We missed the mark’: Vancouver craft beer event organizers apologize after guests report disastrous experiences

'We missed the mark': Vancouver craft beer event organizers apologize after guests report disastrous experiences

Lengthy lines, tech meltdowns, and limited access to water (for a fee) were a few of the many complaints

A month ago, organizers of the popular Vancouver Craft Beer Week (VCBW) festival sent out a media release spotlighting how the 2022 event promised to set itself apart from past iterations of the beloved tasting.

“With an ambitious new ownership team at the forefront, VCBW returns bigger and better than ever before with a number of new and expanded features,” it begins.

This weekend, after some accounts of ticket-holders having a disastrous experience, organizers of “the Lower Mainland’s largest craft beer festival” are issuing statements and apologies. 

Attendees of the Saturday tasting event on the PNE grounds reported a massive line-up for entry, as well as lengthy line-ups at the beer vendor stands. 

Guests were required to purchase RFID wristbands and pre-load them with a $50 deposit in order to purchase beers (on top of the admission cost). Organizers explained the cashless wristband system was put in place “due to logistical and health reasons,” and described the process as “easy peasy.”

‘Wasn’t as seamless as we had hoped it would be’

However, some attendees cited problems with the wristband system, including long waits to add funds, being charged multiple times, and usage problems. One frustrated ticket holder said the system was “barely working” in their post-event rant on Reddit. 

In an initial statement shared online following Saturday’s event, VCBW organizers said: “Our goal was to simplify the process at the event removing tokens and ensuring all guests would be refunded anything they didn’t spend. We worked with a third party vendor for months, but unfortunately this process wasn’t as seamless as we had hoped it would be.”

On top of lines and payment issues, the biggest complaint was access to water, with attendees outraged they were not permitted to bring in empty bottles for filling with water, and only had the option to buy bottled water at $3 a piece. Many noted the water for purchase – when it was available – was warm Dasani. 

“The event doesn’t provide free, accessible water. This is unacceptable for my health. Especially on a sunny day with minimal cover,” said a ticketholder in an email to organizers shared with V.I.A.

“They refuse to let you bring water bottles, and then they charge you for water, the absolute f’ing gall,” described Reddit user arrbos.

“One of my main gripes is with water – in the past attendees could bring a refillable bottle and there were water stations around the event. To limit ticket holders to $3 bottles of water ONLY is ridiculous for a liquor event. Water should be free and free flowing, especially with the heat we had yesterday. Every time we went looking for water there wasn’t even anyone at any of the marked water stations on the map. Incredibly shortsighted in my opinion,” commented Erin Searle (@von_rockinon) on Instagram. 

‘Half our workforce didn’t show up’

VCBW attributed some of the issues to staffing problems. “Half of our workforce didn’t show up,” organizers said in a second statement issued late Sunday

Many, however, felt like the organizers were not adequately taking responsibility, in particular for the no-show volunteers. “If it was due to staff being sick, they shouldn’t throw them under the bus for the issues with their event, citing excuses for atrocious lines with ‘staff that didn’t show up.’ They should instead take ownership for the piss-poor planning and organization. They could have anticipated this, after all, being in a pandemic for 2+ years,” said a Reddit user named f*ckyduck.

“Volunteers are not a ‘workforce.’ You failed to organize volunteers and failed on almost every other aspect. Depriving people of water is inhumane, monstrous behavior. You are greedy, unapologetic monsters,” said Beatriz Rod (@bettyrm90) on Instagram.

Some guests were more understanding. “Though I’m one of the people who was frustrated on Saturday, I am grateful to the volunteers who did show up and the breweries and their staff that kept the beer flowing as fast as they could to serve as many people as they could. I met some lovely folks on Saturday and the overcrowding, line, and lack of water was not their fault!” said Noelle (@dunworrybehoppy) on Instagram.

VCBW organizers said they now know that being understaffed and having wristband tech issues got in the way of showing guests a good time. “Unfortunately, we missed the mark,” they said, inviting feedback to be sent to them via email. 

For some, though, the 2022 VCBW was the end of the road. “Never again,” avowed Reddit user caw___caw. “There [aren’t] chill vibes anymore like the previous year. It just feels like a chore having to run line to line to get your next beer. Chasing your buzz.”

Posted on

Williams Lake Indoor Rodeo organizers announce summertime, outdoor event – Williams Lake Tribune

Williams Lake Indoor Rodeo organizers announce summertime, outdoor event - Williams Lake Tribune

The Williams Lake Indoor Rodeo will head outdoors Aug. 13 and 14 to the Stampede Grounds following a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic.

“I am excited to see the rodeo family again,” says Williams Lake Indoor Rodeo Association (WLIRA) president, Kelly Walls. “We want to give the crowd what they’ve been craving for the last two years.”

There were a number of factors in the reasoning to take the show outdoors, not the least of which is the temperature in the arena in August. Additionally, seating capacity at the indoor arena is approximately 1,000 people, whereas the Williams Lake Stampede Grounds can accommodate approximately 4,000 pairs of boots in the stands per day, and WLIRA noted in a news release.

The return of this event was not a given. After two years stagnant, while the association held their own financially, community support and participation is more important than ever, to make sure the rodeo carries on in years to come. “Thankfully, I have an amazing team of directors and volunteers who have been doing this for years and we have some loyal, longtime sponsors and vendors that were able to step up to the plate and help us,” maintains Walls. “To be honest, without them, the Indoor Rodeo might not be able to continue.”

Fundraising efforts were halted out of respect for the financial strain some people experienced amid the pandemic. “It’s really hard to justify going out and trying to raise money for the rodeo when there were people not working and people are struggling,” Walls said. That pause on the fundraising left the association with a “shoestring budget” to operate from for this year, however.

The Williams Lake Indoor Rodeo has traditionally been the first points event of the season for BCRA competitors. This year, it arrives on the heels of 12 British Columbia Rodeo Association’s (BCRA) sanctioned events, including the Prince George Rodeo which has been in mothballs for six long years. It seems rodeo fans are beyond thrilled to see the return of these high-energy, action-packed events. According to Walls, organizers of the Clinton rodeo in May, the first BCRA rodeo this year, saw record-breaking crowds. “Princeton also saw an exceptionally large rodeo crowd in June. “They usually have about 250 spectators, whereas this year it was close to 2,000 people. We know spectators came from as far away as England, Ireland, and Korea. That’s a good sign for our event.”

The number of entrants this year is also a little higher than normal, which translates into even more entertainment for rodeo-goers. The High School Rodeo series is done for the season, and some of those athletes will be taking part in BCRA events throughout the summer, adding to the overall roster of competitors. Featured events will include all the favourites; saddle bronc, bareback, bull riding, calf roping, steer wrestling, barrel racing and team roping. There will also be junior events. As always, there will be a number of unique food and merchandise vendors, and beer gardens both days.

Something that will be a little bit different this year however, is the absence of the much-anticipated and popular barn dance.

“We know there has always been a dance at the Williams Lake Indoor Rodeo,” Walls said. “We needed to restart small, figure out the logistics like security, parking, and even volunteers.”

Championed by local MLA, Lorne Doerkson, he had this to say about the rodeo getting the green light,

“This event has a reputation of real quality with respect to organizers, venue, competitors, stock and overall entertainment. What’s really neat is that it’s a BCRA rodeo; most of these competitors are from BC. Even better, they’re local characters who are our friends and family, and we get to cheer them on! I hope the local communities will join me in welcoming it back with open arms, and will show up and celebrate this 30 year old event.”

With 11 inductees into the Cowboy Hall of Fame, including individuals honoured in 2020, 2021 and, of course 2022, the Hall of Fame presentations will likely be broken up over the two days of events. In fact, the 2022 inductees may attend a ceremony in the Lower Nicola Valley, as that is where most of them reside.

Regrettably, famed rodeo announcer Brett Gardner is unable to attend this year due to a schedule conflict, as is true of beloved and ultra-entertaining clown, Dennis Halstead.

There will be some user groups handling parking and perhaps some other tasks at the event as a fundraiser for their group, but Walls emphasizes the dire need for volunteers, adding there is likely a task to suit all talents and skill sets. If you would like to spend a couple hours a day with a terrific team of volunteers in August, you’re invited to call or text Kelly directly at (250) 267-8865 or Shaun at (250) 305-4747.

Tickets will not be available in advance, but will go on sale the Friday and then Saturday and Sunday before the rodeo and general admission tickets will be available at the gates. Admission is $20 for adults, seniors $15, students $15, and children under five free. There is a section for VIPs in the main grandstands, as the infield will be reserved for competitors only. “If we go ahead with the rodeo next year, the covered grandstands will be reserved for VIPs,” Walls advised. “This year was about keeping things as small and organized as possible.”

Businesses are encouraged to buy group tickets for their staff as a show of support for the rodeo and a bonus for their staff, and everyone should mark their calendars now, so last-minute summer holidays don’t overlap the event.

“I just want a rodeo,” says Walls. “I want the competitors to be able to compete, I want the people to visit and socialize, I want to hear those cheers! I want to see the rodeo family again.”

To say that Kelly Walls is passionate about keeping the Williams Lake Indoor Rodeo alive would be putting it mildly. She is honoured to hold her current leadership position, which the Board decided to carry-over from the 2019 season. Kelly has been president of the WLIRA for better than 10 years, although not consecutively. Volunteering during the 2003 rodeo led to her becoming a Director in 2004, and she’s sat in that saddle ever since. Kelly lives, eats, sleeps, breathes rodeo. In addition to her full-time job, being a director with the BC Rodeo Association, Kelly advises she puts in about 10 hours a week pre-planning and leading up to the event. As rodeo draws closer, she can easily clock 30 hours a week until the event. This year Kelly is in charge of the beer gardens in addition to her regular duties.

Check the website or the Facebook page @williamslakeindoorrodeo for the most up-to-date information, and promotions.

Do you have a comment about this story? email:

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

RodeoWilliams Lake

Posted on

Kingsville Highland Games organizers ‘quite happy’ with event turnout

Kingsville Highland Games organizers 'quite happy' with event turnout

Thousands of people flocked to Lakeside Park in Kingsville Saturday for the return of the Highland Games. 

“After COVID everybody is looking to get out and get their yayas out and this gives an opportune event to get outside and mix it up with everybody. It’s good to see the crowd,” said attendee Jeff Coulter.

Fans of the games lined up to watch various events spread out through Lakeside Park.

“It’s so vital that people get out,” said Essex MP Chris Lewis. “Mental health is such a major issue that so many of us are facing so events like this get people outside, get people outdoors and get to enjoy a conversation again.”

Doug Plumb, chair of the event said not being able to build on the momentum created after the inaugural event three years ago was disheartening but is happy the tough side of the pandemic seems to be in the rear view mirror.

“A lot of people are in town, really wanted to get out and have some fun and they’re here,” he said.

Those people were uptown sparking the local economy before making their way to the waterfront park.

“It really does celebrate the strength we have together collectively and celebrating the success for businesses that have worked hard and tirelessly to make it through,” said Mayor Nelson Santos.  

Organizers were anticipating well over 5,000 people for the one-day event.

“(In) 2019 people loved it. A lot of people said I regret that we couldn’t make it for whatever reason and they’re here today. There was a lot of buzz around town about this,” said Plumb.  

There was a buzz in the park throughout the day.

The tug of war had the large crowd electrified many times. Sherry Coulter loved it.

“The tug of war was worth the price of admission,” she said.

Mitchel Colomba was one of the tug of war athletes who fed off the energy from the crowd.

“This is a real great opportunity for us to come out and practice and the comradery amongst the crowd. This is really awesome,” he said.

There was food, entertainment, dance competitions, heritage and culture to appreciate. “

The thought of it being like history is quite important,” said 94-year-old Hugh McDonald.  

Former CTV anchor Jim Crichton served as MC on the main stage. He celebrated his heritage by wearing a tartan made in Scotland.

“I wear this in honour of my late father,” said Crichton, whose dad was born in Scotland. “I had it made a year after he passed away so it’s very special to me.”

This was a special event for Santos who is not seeking re-election in October. He took part in a Haggis throwing competition against local mayors for the last time.

Although he didn’t repeat as champ, he is proud to have been part of an event he feels is set up for long-term success.

“The experience you get to have here hands-on is like no other and that is what is going to drive success forward,” Santos said. 

Posted on

Juneteenth organizers ‘carry a broken heart’ planning events after mass shooting in Buffalo

Juneteenth organizers 'carry a broken heart' planning events after mass shooting in Buffalo

The upcoming federal Juneteenth holiday commemorates the day in 1865 when enslaved people in Texas found out they were free — 2 1/2 years after Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation granting freedom to people who had been enslaved.

Celebrations will be mixed with sadness during this year’s festivities, though. The holiday comes only about two months after the slaughter of 10 Black people in a Buffalo, N.Y., grocery store. It was just about two years ago that a white Minneapolis police officer murdered George Floyd. And the COVID-19 pandemic persists into its third summer.

The theme for Austin’s citywide Juneteenth celebration for the past few years has been “Stay Black and Live.” Festival organizers are staying with the theme this year.

Regine Malibiran is a co-project manager for Stay Black and Live, a joint effort between the George Washington Carver Museum, Cultural and Genealogy Center in Austin and Six Square, Austin’s Black cultural district. She says the phrase is a call to action for everyone.

“Not only for Black people specifically to find joy, find things to celebrate, find things to work for,” Malibiran says, “but also a call to action for people outside of the Black community to recognize what it means for Black people to assert control over their lives.”

Are we really free.jpg

Malibiran says events like the mass shooting in Buffalo can make that control feel elusive, and it permeates the work of planning Juneteenth festivities and social justice work year-round.

“We recognize that in order to do this work, you have to carry a broken heart,” she says. “That’s kind of both the reason why you do it, but also one of the most challenging obstacles in the work itself.”

Malibiran says the declaration of Juneteenth as a federal holiday last year might be seen as removing one of the obstacles to doing that work. And while she acknowledges that declaration as a “win,” she says it could actually erode the importance of the holiday.

“What does it mean when holidays become so large and nationwide like this?” she says. She says she believes these holidays can “become commercialized and almost sanitized at times.”

Malibiran says many Black people may not be able to enjoy the holiday because “they might be the ones who are serving you or cooking for you at brunch when you take the day off on Monday.”

Listen to the interview above or read the transcript below to hear more about one of the central questions Malibiran wants everyone to contemplate: “What does it mean for marginalized communities to create space for themselves and carve out space to be alive?”

This transcript has been edited lightly for clarity:

KUT: The theme for Austin’s Juneteenth commemoration for the past few years has been “Stay Black and Live.” Is that the theme for this year’s celebration? Why?

Regine Malibiran: We wanted it to be a call to action to “stay Black and live” — not only for Black people specifically to find joy, find things to celebrate, find things to work for, but also a call to action for people outside of the Black community to recognize what it means for Black people to assert control over their lives, agency over [their] lives.

It’s still relevant in 2022. I think it will stay relevant for a while, especially as we reflect on what happened in Buffalo, N.Y., a very heavy thing to reflect on. What does it mean for marginalized communities to create space for themselves and carve out space to be alive?

There was a mass shooting in Buffalo. Ten Black people were killed. How has that impacted thinking about this year’s gathering and impacted everybody who’s involved?

I am very fortunate and lucky and honored to work with a largely Black staff in my capacity at Six Square and also at the Carver Museum. It’s hard to say this, Jennifer, but it comes to a point where I feel like day to day, people have to learn to compartmentalize it. And that’s sad. We as teams, we recognize that in order to do this work you have to carry a broken heart. That’s kind of both the reason why you do it, but also one of the most challenging obstacles in the work itself.

And so for us as a team, what’s important for us is that we use these events as motivation. We fuel this grief, this anger, this fear into action for our community.

And so with the Juneteenth festival specifically, I think because it is a celebration of freedom — that’s what it’s always been — it’s important to create that space where Black people can be around their own community. And we are able to experience all of these feelings, whether it be celebration, because that’s what the holiday is about, whether it be reflection on what has changed and what has not since 1865, and what fighting for Black lives looks like as we march forward.

Part of the monthlong commemoration of Juneteenth are videos streaming [at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport]. And you had indicated those were kind of a welcome to Black Austin. What is Black Austin these days? How do you describe Black Austin in 2022?

I really feel like it is within the connections that Black people make between themselves here and even outside of Austin. Black people in the United States have centuries-long history of displacement and disconnection. You would have enslaved people who would be separated from their children. And then if they had the opportunity with their freedom afterwards, they would go on these lifelong searches to find their family. That sort of deeply rooted interpersonal intercommunity connection is really still what ties Black people today.

It was right before Juneteenth last year that Juneteenth was declared a federal holiday. Does that matter or mean anything?

You know, it’s funny because my partner is Black and he was like, “It’s kind of weird that white people get Juneteenth off. It was like — why do white people get the day off from Juneteenth? That’s kind of strange to me.” And I think that’s an important conversation, because like I said, in order to do this work, you have to carry a broken heart and you have to celebrate the wins when you can get them.

And so some people, they consider this federal recognition of Juneteenth as a holiday, as a win. And I don’t want to take away from that.

But I think that we can also look at that with a critical lens because what does it mean when holidays become so large and nationwide like this? These sorts of holidays — they become commercialized and almost sanitized at times. And we’ve seen that in this past year with Juneteenth. People were joking about getting 19% off sales at certain companies or whatever.

And so while I do recognize that it’s a step forward for us to say Juneteenth is important, is significant enough to be a holiday, that standard of importance and significance is still weighed with a white supremacist lens. Because before it was a national holiday, it was important for Black Texans, and they had a specific and very meaningful perspective on why they celebrated it.

Most of the time when you get these federal holidays, who gets those days off? It’s people who work in offices. A lot of people of color, Black people, they might not be working in the office. They might be the ones who are serving you or cooking for you at brunch when you take the day off on Monday. We have to think about who benefits when nationally we have changes like this.

Posted on

After extremists’ arrests in Idaho, LGBTQ Texans and Pride organizers balance safety with desire to celebrate their identities

After extremists’ arrests in Idaho, LGBTQ Texans and Pride organizers balance safety with desire to celebrate their identities

Posted on

Organizers Unveil Memorial Cup Event Schedule

Organizers Unveil Memorial Cup Event Schedule
Organizers Unveil Memorial Cup Event Schedule

Organizing committee chair Mark-Anthony Ashfield (left) and Saint John Sea Dogs general manager Trevor Georgie. (Image: Brad Perry)

There will be more than just hockey to check out when the Memorial Cup comes to town in just a few days.

On Tuesday, organizers unveiled the full list of events that are scheduled to take place during the tournament.

Mark-Anthony Ashfield, chair of the organizing committee, said a total of 12 major events will take place over 12 days.

“We really wanted this event to be one that our entire community could participate in and feel like they were part of the Memorial Cup. Out of that discussion and out of that thinking really came to our theme of One for All,” said Ashfield.

Events begin on Saturday, June 18, with the unveiling of two legacy projects — a ball hockey surface near TD Station and a new mural at the AREA 506 Waterfront Container Village.

It also marks the beginning of a ball hockey tournament and the first of six themed street parties dubbed the One for All District. It includes a Youth Day, Father’s Day, LGBTQ+ Day, Francophone Day, Maritime Day, and Multicultural Day.

“The One for All District not only allows us a platform to speak about our focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion, but it also gives us an opportunity to showcase the incredible architecture and uptown businesses within a short walk of the host venue,” said Ashfield.

Also on Saturday is an open-air concert at the Waterfront Container Village dubbed the Port City Party, featuring Juno Award-winning band The Strumbellas.

The Arrival of the Cup will take place on Sunday with a parade from Long Wharf to the Waterfront Container Village. This year’s military jersey will also be unveiled.

Monday will see the start of Fan Fest and Bash on the Bay, along with Game 1 of the Memorial Cup.

Fan Fest, which takes until June 29 in Market Square, includes an exhibit from the Hockey Hall of Fame as well as the weeklong Speaker Series with speakers reflecting the One for All concept.

Bash on the Bay takes place at the Waterfront Container Village and will feature performers from across Canada, including Big Wreck, Alan Doyle, Classified, and Matt Mays. Performances are scheduled for either before or after game time.

On-ice skills sessions will be taking place throughout the week, run by elite male and female leaders including past and present personalities from the CHL and NHL. In addition, Olympic medalist Curt Harnett will host a bike rodeo and community bike ride on Saturday, June 25.

Ashfield said this will be the biggest Memorial Cup to ever be hosted anywhere in Canada.

“There have been bigger venues, there have been larger cities that have hosted the Memorial Cup, but in terms of things that are going to happen for the city, there has not been a Memorial Cup like this one,” he said.