Seafest kicked off on Friday with the annual Seniors Tea at the Highliner Inn.
As always, the main event was the introduction of new members into the 75/50 club. It’s an honour that is well earned. Members must be both 75 years old and have lived in Prince Rupert for at least half a century.
There were 14 new inductees at this year’s event. This included Eleanor Watts, who was recognized today as a lifelong resident of Prince Rupert.
“I’m so excited, I finally made it. I love it,” said Watts, who grew up in Cow Bay.
She does mourn the population loss however, and hopes the city can one day be booming again. “It’s too bad Rupert got smaller,” Watts reminisced.
Olga Newton is 103 years old (“and a half,” she is quick to mention.) She arrived in Prince Rupert on June 7, 1941.
“Big change,” Newton said when talking about what she has seen take place here over the years. “When we first came there were no telephones, no electricity, no nothing. It’s been a big change.”
“It’s a really good place to come raise your family,” concluded Newton. “I’ve always been happy here.”
Attendees were serenaded throughout the afternoon by singers from Conrad Elementary school, an institution many in the crowd had attended themselves. Local musician Karen Ljungh also sang a number of songs to entertain the crowd.
Herb Pond was the MC for the event, which was attended by Mayor Lee Brain, as well as North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice. Through a collaboration with the Special Events Society, members of Harp’s Crossing Baptist Church from Fayetteville, Georgia were also on hand volunteering to serve food, set up and clean up after the event.
“The people here are phenomenal and incredible. Very hospitable,” said church member Sam Fink. “Our drivers aren’t as careful with pedestrians, that’s for sure,” he added.
The group will remain in town throughout Seafest to take part in the volunteer effort.