The 53rd Hope’s Brigade Days was a great success this weekend (Sept. 9 to Sept. 11) despite concerns over poor air quality and the Flood Hope Trail wildfire.
People from all over — locals and tourists — gathered over the weekend in a celebration of community and enjoyed a vast array of festivities such as the Aaron Pritchett concert, TAIKO GO taiko Japanese drummers, Edison Big Truck Show, and the Laughing Logger Sports Show.
This show of support was greatly appreciated, said Lori Isbister, president of Hope’s Brigade Days, and it reassured her the festival was bringing people together.
“It’s about creating a healthy, vibrant community. And the more people that are a part of the event, the more engaged they become in [our] community,” she said. “And they grow to care ever more about what’s happening and what’s going on… I think that’s a huge positive for Hope. [And] well, I think overall the weekend was very successful.”
Though heavy smoke was visible on Highway 1 throughout the weekend, Isbister said the relatively clear skies that Hope enjoyed the first two days made Brigade Days the perfect place for people to pass the afternoon.
“The smoke did affect us a little bit, but Friday and Saturday were good and it didn’t set in until [late Saturday afternoon]. But Sunday, I think our attendance was affected with people coming from out of town — although we still had lots of people come.”
In regards to the fire, Isbister said the Brigade Days team was ready in case of evacuation; safety protocols were in place and, while there was concern, she said she and her team trusted the judgment of the firefighters working tirelessly to quell the blaze.
An annual festival that started in 1968, is the second major community event to take place after last year’s floods. Isbister, who has been president of Brigade Days for four years now, said she wanted to draw more of a focus on bringing the community together and celebrating the many identities, cultures, and nations living within Hope.
Highlights of the weekend included the $5,000 50/50 draw, which was won by Hope local Nicole Miller on Sunday. The Community Stewardship Award, a Hope Brigade Days award of $1,000 given to a student for their volunteer work in the community, was won by Claire Medlock, daughter of Coun. Scott Medlock.
Additionally, the Edison Truck show was able to raise $3,065 for BC Children’s hospital.
Festivalgoers got to witness the grand parade, enjoy a concert performance by country singer Turncliff McCoy, watched and participated in the Peters’ Family Memorial Ball Tournament (which Isbister says was a fan favourite), and tried a variety of games and rides at the Midway. Another fan favourite was the Motorsports Demo Derby where spectators were delighted by a variety of vehicular action, including jumping stunts performed by a truck with a trailer.
A Food Truck alley was also available with a wide variety of food such as bannock and salmon, burgers, sandwiches, gyro, popcorn, hotdogs, lemonade, and classic mini-donuts.
Of course, Isbister said that the success of Brigade Days couldn’t have been possible without the amazing work done by the volunteers. In addition to the volunteers from the Sunshine Valley Fire Department, Hope Crime Preventation, and Eagles Club, Isbister said around 88 volunteers helped during the three-day festival.
“An event like this absolutely could not happen without our sponsors, and the volunteers… and there’s so many levels and components to the layers of volunteerism. It’s too large of a number really to tell.”
Hope’s Brigade Days is already being planned for next year and Isbister said she hopes to take the learning curves of this Brigades Days and improve upon it. She says she welcomes all suggestions for the 54th Brigades Days. Those interested in sharing their thoughts about this year’s festival, or seeking ways to volunteer with them, can email the team at email@example.com or visit their site at brigadedays.com.