Polishing up Hope for community competition

Volunteers work through weekend sprucing up town for CIB judges

Victor Smith

If the town’s wooden chainsaw carvings are looking a little more lustrous and smooth under the summer sun today, it’s not by accident.

Victor Smith spent his weekend polishing the landmarks, giving them quick coats of varnish to get them looking like new. As a volunteer and the president of the Communities In Bloom committee, it’s just one of many tasks Smith had on his to-do list recently.

“They just needed a little TLC,” Smith said, standing on Wallace St. Saturday afternoon, taking a break from polishing the large bear at the entrance to Memorial Park. Like many of the carvings, the cedar bear was created by Pete Ryan in 1992.

While Smith takes pride in seeing Hope’s best attributes shine, he had an ulterior motive for the massive project. The Communities in Bloom judges were expected in town on Monday, to get ready for their tour on Tuesday. Hope is again competing provincially, with the goal of earning the coveted Five Bloom award.

But, Smith said, the competition isn’t just about things that bloom.

“It’s a lot more than flowers,” he said. “It’s an overall picture of the town.”

Communities in Bloom judges look at things like volunteerism, infrastructure, tidiness of the town, special developments and projects and partnerships. With the carvings being an important tourism asset, it’s important they look their best, Smith said.

And when it comes time for the provincial CIB awards ceremony, to be held in Kamloops in October, the committee will bring along a donation to the silent auction that is befitting of the town.

“Every year we take a carving because, well, it’s all about us,” Smith said.

While he was cleaning the bear, he marveled once again at the craftsmanship and vision that goes into each of the carvings – especially those of Junior Henderson.

“It’s just amazing,” he said, how the artists can see a large piece of wood and imagine something greater inside of it.

Many businesses make sure their gardens are neat and tidy through the year, and volunteers have been out and about weeding and generally tidying up the town, he added.

The judges arrived Monday night, and toured the town throughout the day Tuesday, making short stops at numerous points of interest, including You Grow Food Aquaponics and Thacker Marsh.

The judges were also treated to a tour of the area in the air, courtesy of Valley Helicopters. The committee, including Bev Smith and Crystal Medlock, won’t find out how they placed until the awards night in October.

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