This weekend was, admittedly, the first in some time yours truly has worked the weekend coverage shift due to staff vacation schedules.
And, quite frankly, I don’t think there could have been a better weekend to highlight the community spirit and talent of Prince Rupert.
Taking in Salmonfest at the Jim Ciccone Civic Centre was both enjoyable and impressive. You don’t often get a crowd that large gathered in the Russell Gamble Gymnasium, save for the All Native Basketball Tournament every February. Aside from the crowd, I must confess to having a soft spot for events that include people proudly displaying their culture — in this case it was First Nations dancing and drumming with a Chinese Lion Dance thrown in to mix it up a bit.
From the civic centre it was a short walk up the road to the Oldfield Creek Hatchery for Smoltfest. Arriving at the hatchery at almost exactly 1 p.m. for the start, there was already a line of cars and dozens of parents and children awaiting the chance to release some smolt into the creek. It’s a rare opportunity for young people to get hands-on with the salmon that play such an important role in life on the North Coast. The intrigue expressed by the kids, coupled with the volunteers manning information booths and games, make this a community event families won’t want to miss in the future.
After a brief break for dinner, it was off to the Lester Centre of the Arts to watch young performers take to the stage, some for the first time, to sing and perform for a mostly-packed crowd at Rockstock. As well as listening to the great vocal performances, it was nice to see some of the younger players perform songs that are truly classic but well ahead of their time.
It’s weekends like this that highlight the amazing quality of life people in Prince Rupert can sometimes take for granted. If you get a chance to take in some of the lesser-known community events throughout the year, you should check them out. It will be worth it.