The 10th anniversary celebrations of the Sugar Shack brunch were a sweet and tasty sellout, much to the pleasure of the 350 attendees and L’Association des Francophones et Francophiles du Nord-Ouest (AFFNO). The annual event was held Feb. 1, at the Jim Ciccone Civic Center.
“It was an absolutely ‘fantabulous’ event this year,” said Danielle Dalton, President of AFFNO. “We can’t wait until next year. AFFNO is always excited to share it’s culture with the communities we are part of.”
The annual brunch to honour French Canadian heritage had dishes served up by members of the Prince Rupert Middle School Band, such as pancakes, baked beans, potatoes, ham, pork pie, sugar pie, fried bread, butter tarts and more.
There was entertainment and fun for all ages with a photo booth, face painting, balloon twisting, music, dancing, maple taffy on a stick and prizes. Via Rail donated the major prize of a $1000 voucher for travel any where in Canada.
Elaine Calli and her husband Mike Calli, have been supporting the Sugar Shack brunch for the full ten years by sharing blow up balloon art each year twisted into puppies, hats and whatever else imaginations and balloons can handle. Mike Calli used to be a Shriner’s clown, and Elaine would adorn children with face painting.
“I love the sugar pie,” Elaine Calli said, “It was exceptionally good this year. When ever there is a Sugar Shack, we are there.”
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Sugar Shack had guests and first timers from Terrace, Kitimat, Vancouver and as far away as Texas and China. Dave Boyle, whose first year it was to attend, recently moved to Prince Rupert from lower B.C. As a French first language Francophone he said he brought his three children to expose them to French culture. Xin Qi Wang said it was her first time attending and she was excited to enjoy the food. Wang attended with her father, Happy Wang, who also volunteered at the event.
Haida Gwaii resident, Katie Green also gave Sugar Shack a try for the first time this year, with her two children. She is visiting Prince Rupert for a few days and found it a welcome source of entertainment.
“Sugar shack was great fun. It was a pleasant surprise. The kids loved the singing and dancing by Will,” Green said.
Live music was provided by children’s entertainer Will Stroet of Will’s Jams televised on CBC. Stroet toured all of the elementary schools in Prince Rupert in the week preceding the big event. On the day, children of all ages were at the foot of the stage clapping, laughing and dancing a mini choo-choo train line, similar to an adult conga line.
Various events took place over the previous ten days to celebrate the tenth anniversary with a pub night at Cowpuccino’s, improv comedy at the Tom Rooney Theatre with Hook, Line, and Snicker, music from Prince Rupert’s groups the Mermaid Cafe, and Frances and Sarah, as well as a concert from French Canadian folk trio Bon Debarras.
“It was the best ever Sugar Shack” Patrick Witwiki, executive director of AFFNO said. “We had things this year, we haven’t had before. There was something for everyone. It was a great success.”
K-J Millar | Journalist
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