SUNDRE — A host of youth activities held recently at the local skate park for the second year in a row enticed more than 100 people to come out, an organizer said.
The second annual Sundre Youth Fun Fest, held on the afternoon of Sept. 17 at the Sundre Skatepark and surrounding green space, offered at no cost to participants face painting, balloon animals, glitter tattoos, bouncy castles, ice cream treats, and a DJ.
Of course young athletes with an affinity for skateboarding, biking, riding scooters or rollerblades also had full access to the skate park’s features that boast a variety of ramps, stairs and rails of ranging technical difficulty to cater to both learners as well as those who are more experienced.
“We had a great turnout with what I estimate being well over a hundred kids taking part in the various activities,” said Heather Hicks, executive director of the Sundre & District Chamber of Commerce, which made possible the youth fun fest in partnership with the support of local sponsors from the business community.
Last year’s inaugural event ran in conjunction with Alberta Culture Days celebrations, she said.
Although the chamber of commerce played an organizational role, Hicks told the Albertan by email in response to questions that Mark Crouch, a business owner and chamber board member, has largely spearheaded the initiative.
“The event is Mark’s vision,” said Hicks. “He believes strongly in the future of our youth and of our community, supporting them in any way possible. It is very important to him that the event be 100 per cent free to all participants.”
Being able to inform families that were looking for some fun, affordable local activities for their children that the youth fest was available at no cost felt wonderful, she said.
“What a great experience being able to tell families that everything was free, no need to get those wallets or run to the bank machines; something that I know many families appreciated in the current economy,” she said.
Contributions from several area businesses ensured that the cost of everything from the ice cream to the bouncy castles and even a couple of portable bathrooms was completely covered, she said.
“We would like to see this become a yearly event,” she said, noting Crouch’s effort on doing a lot of the leg work involved in soliciting donations and support from sponsors.
Above and beyond the activities that were offered free of charge, Hicks said there was also a prize table with more than $700 worth of loot handed out.
“Every child in attendance was given three ballot forms they could fill out and put in the draw for the item(s) they hoped to win,” she elaborated, adding prizes included items such as scooters, skateboards, skate park safety gear, apparel, toys, and water bottles.
“The chamber is proud to support youth events when we can,” said added. “We recognize that by supporting the children and families of Sundre, we create a healthier economic community for us all.”