Pemberton showcase planned for Nov 24 

Soul Down drums up 2010 support

By Cindy Filipenko

What will Pemberton bring to the table in 2010? Will it be a series of nightly barn dances or something different?

To help define this vision, the Chamber of Commerce and Village of Pemberton have joined forces to present Soul Down on Nov 24. The event, to be held at the Signal Hill Elementary School gym from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., is being put together by community organizer Lisa Richardson.

Richardson, best known for her work on the annual Slow Food Cycle Sunday, applied for the Arts Now grant in conjunction with the VOP earlier this year. She acknowledges the idea of a community exposition is not new.

“The Community Centre used to run a showcase in conjunction with the youth soccer registration,” says Richardson.

However, changes to how the soccer registration was conducted influenced the community showcase and the event disappeared. With the 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games on the horizon, Richardson felt it was clearly time to bring the idea back in a somewhat different form.

The free event will showcase a year in the life of Pemberton, emphasizing a unique festival and event calendar that includes Lumpy's Trail Run, Winterfest, Equifest, the Daddy-Daughter Dance, Caribbean Night, the Skate Jam, the Port Pemberton dinner, the Strawberry Tea, the Lily Puddle and the iconic Barn Dance.

“Our festivals and events tell people what this community is about,” states Richardson.

A variety of groups including the Pemberton Arts Council, Slow Food Cycle Sunday, the Youth Centre, the Green River Riding Club and VANOC will also take part in the event. Part year in review celebration and part welcome wagon for newcomers to Pemberton, Soul Down has another motive.

“It sometimes feels like organizing Pemberton events is a secret club. When you start thinking of events a handful of names comes up, when really there is a very deep talent pool,” says Richardson. “We need to build capacity and increase community engagement.”

Richardson points out that to host a series of Barn Dances to coincide with the 17-day Olympic period would require participation of most of the adult population of Pemberton.

“It takes nearly 100 vollies to put on the Barn Dance,” she says.

The Soul Down open house will conclude with a presentation by Dolly Hopkins, Artistic Director of the Public Dreams Society. Hopkins, a well-known figure in the Vancouver arts community, has guided events such as Illuminares, a lantern parade at Vancouver’s Trout Lake Park that attracts upwards of 25,000 people annually, and the popular Commercial Drive area Day of the Dead parade.

Hopkins will also host a hands-on Community Celebrations planning workshop on Nov. 25, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The workshop, part of 2010 Legacies Now’s Arts Build Communities program, encourages the planning of arts and cultural community celebrations throughout B.C., especially during Spirit of BC Week, held annually in February.

“2010 is an opportunity for Pemberton — if we’re smart, it can be a great catalyst for exposure, revitalisation and celebration. We’re excited that the entire community can harness this common goal,” said Paul Selina, chamber president and chair of the Pemberton Spirit of B.C. Committee.

“The Celebrations workshop is a great opportunity for Pemberton,” added Lori Pilon, chief administrator of the VOP.

“With construction on the new Community Centre underway, we are going to have a fantastic venue for community festivities and gatherings by next fall that will really contribute to Pemberton's sense of place. The Soul Down will be a chance to bring the entire community together to articulate the things we value about Pemberton, and how we want to showcase and celebrate them.”

Community groups interested in attending the expo and restaurants interested in contributing to the catering are asked to contact Lisa Richardson at . Local businesses that would like to make contributions to support the event are invited to contact Paul Selina at

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