UPDATE: A press release from the City of Brooks said that $57,589 was raised plus 34,000 lbs of non-perishable food items, toiletries and other supplies. Mayor Barry Morishita complimented the support from everyone involved, especially the volunteers and organizing committee "who in a matter of days created an event that usually takes months to coordinate."
Find our still image gallery here. You can purchase prints printed in our pro-lab and shipped to your door. All profits from these prints will be donated to those affected by the wildfire. The link will remain active until May 24, 2016, when we will be donating the money.
Well, its was a tight timeframe, but organisers managed to pull off another huge event in Alberta's Centennial City. Last weekend, the Centennial Regional Arena just south of Brooks was THE place to be with the Giving Back to Fort Mac event.
Kicking off the event were activities outside the CRA, taking advantage of the gorgeous summer day. A live entertainment stage, food vendors, bouncy castle, face-painting and henna tattoos were a few of the cool things to check out. All the while, Tyler Carr of 101.1 The One was interviewing local dignitaries on the radio and beaming that famous grin of his!
Among the main organisers were Frontier Signworks and the City of Brooks, with several local businesses donating time, money, or items to the cause.
Food and beverages were supplied by JBS, Tim Horton's and Freson Bros., who all had tents set up to feed the masses, and stage entertainment included the talents of In Sequins dance studio and the popular BMB Productions.
Vendors were also on hand to sell t-shirts and stickers in support of those displaced but the Fort McMurray wildfire, and a collection site for non-cash donations was set up on the north side of the CRA. The people at the sorting station were kept quite busy as items filled semi trailers.
Another surge in donations occurred later in the afternoon when local bikers the Sanctioned Souls pulled into the CRA parking lot, bringing with them the results of a day well-spent collecting for the cause. These folks travelled a huge chunk of southern Alberta, hitting centres like Vulcan, Lomond, Patricia, Rolling Hills and many stops in between.
Things moved indoors at around 3 p.m. when the bands hit the stage inside the CRA. Now how Canadian can you get with this fundraiser: silent auction, beer gardens, Bandits game and live classic rock on the stage. T'was a thing of beauty!
The bands were familiar to everyone around, with the likes of Gigglestick, Lobido, the Wine-Soaked Preachers, Pickle Juice, Smokepack, the Paragoners, and Freedom's Note (all the way from Fort McMurray). Even local politicians were on hand throughout the day to offer their words of encouragement, including Brooks Mayor Barry Morishita; Rosemary Mayor Don Gibb; County of Newell Reeve Molly Douglass, Bow River MP Martin Shields, Strathmore-Brooks MLA Derek Fildebrandt, Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo MLA Tany Yao, and Wildrose Party leader Brian Jean.
If you want to see video clips of the day and hear form the politicians, click here.
Early reports noted over $31,000 in cash alone was raised. This will be matched by both the provincial and federal levels of government, plus trucks have already delivered the physical donations to collection points up north. Im not sure when - or if - Mark Tanigami actually had time to sleep during the weekend!
In talking with MP Shields and MLAs Hildebrandt and Yao, similar turnouts were witnessed in fundraising events in Strathmore and Chestermere (held the same weekend). It's amazing the level of support out area can commit to our northern neighbours.