The festival, formerly known as Whalley Community Festival, was first put on in 1999 to cultivate a sense of community pride as well as to showcase what the neighbourhood has to offer.
This year’s festival was dampened slightly by less than ideal weather conditions, but nonetheless, people gathered outside SFU’s Surrey campus to enjoy the provided live entertainment, food, and activities.
SFU co-op student Abby Wong worked to make the festival a success in her position as special events intern at the Downtown Surrey Business Improvement Association (BIA). She was responsible for seeking sponsorships and donations, coordinating entertainment, and making sure the event ran smoothly.
Wong believes that events such as these are important in bringing the Surrey community together — as one of the fastest growing cities in Canada, this is no easy task. “We want to create the kind of community where people know each other when they walk down Surrey streets and know they have great neighbours,” said Wong.
The rain let up around 2:00 p.m., yielding a turnout of approximately 400people at the event’s peak. Tents lined the plaza parking lot and offered people the chance to check out local vendors and organizations in attendance.
Entertainment included various local talent such as a Tom Petty cover band and two junior talent winners selected by The Now. Also featured was children’s performer, Music with Marnie, who had the youngest raincoat-clad members in the crowd bopping along to songs like “H2O on the Go!” The children’s zone boasted a large inflatable play area and bouncy slide, a carnival ride, as well as face painting.
Wong felt that the event would have benefited from sunnier weather, but was an overall success. “My favourite part of the event was watching the crowd get into the performances — dancing or singing along. It showed they were really enjoying the day and the entertainment I helped organize.”
She concluded, “It was a proud moment since this was my first time organizing any sort of event.”