It was a great weekend for festive events in the Lower Similkameen.
The late summer weather, which can usually be counted on, was exceptionally great this year. The sunny, hot weather probably helped boost attendance numbers throughout the day for both the Sizzlefest and Grist Mill Heritage Fall Fair events.
Even so, one can’t ignore the efforts of all those involved in bringing these events to fruition. The handful of dedicated volunteers who create Sizzlefest every year do a superb job. The festival continues to mature, as more vendors bring more variety to the event, and more things to do. The music continues to impress as do the numbers who partake in the festival throughout the day, many of whom come from far beyond the Similkameen.
This year’s Sizzlefest weekend was also especially successful due to a new element introduced by Grist Mill Manager Chris Mathieson, who used the weekend to his – and ultimately everyones advantage by putting together the first Grist Mill Heritage Fall Fair.
Mathieson once again showed an exemplary spirit of community cooperation and work ethic in assembling the event to coincide and compliment Sizzlefest Saturday. He capitalized on the visitors and venues from Saturday’s Sizzlefest, many of whom attended both weekend events.
As a result, the Lower Similkameen saw some great tourist numbers over the weekend, including one of the largest single-day gates at the Grist Mill ever seen on Sunday, September 21. Visitors from all over B.C. and Alberta toured through the mill grounds throughout the day Sunday.
The weekend provided us with a great example of what a handful of dedicated volunteers are able to do. It also provided us with a great example of what a single individual can do with the right attitude and vision.
It’s worth noting government – at any level – isn’t a big part of either of these events.
Mathieson said Monday he would definitely be staging a second heritage fair next year, “if he’s still here.”
We can’t think of a reason why he shouldn’t be.
(The province’s Request For Proposal with respect to the future operation of the Grist Mill ends on September 26.)