Just look up in downtown Trail and you’ll know that something fun is coming this way.
Carnival flags were strung across the intersections on Cedar and Bay avenues this week, signalling it’s almost time for the city’s Homecoming Celebration bash to hit the streets of town.
Colourful strings of red, blue, yellow and green pennants are connecting the main corridors and downtown businesses, giving a heads up for Silver City Days (SCD), slated Wednesday through Sunday next week.
The flags are courtesy the Downtown Trail Business Group (DTBG) and were hung by the city to create flourish for the revitalized event as well as highlight shops along the main streets.
“I must admit I was pretty excited to see the flags go up, it looks like something is really going on,” says Daniel Haley, owner of Bay Avenue’s Casa Di Cioccolato.
This year’s event is all about showcasing what the city has to offer, including local talent.
A handful of teenagers are throwing in their busking know-how to add ambience to downtown storefronts on Saturday.
Haley contacted Rita Cain, the high school’s music teacher, and she jumped on board with J.L. Crowe students eager to sing and strum for the businesses. (students will also be on stage in the Trail Memorial Centre arena that day).
“What we are trying to do is create a new vibe downtown,” Haley added. “For Silver City Days, the business group has been working closely with Keith Smyth (SCD volunteer operations manager) to create a good atmosphere and to promote the downtown core in the event, and we are thankful for that.”
Dynamic window displays, interactive games and activities for the event’s younger guests are another feature that 21 businesses are offering.
Passersby will start to see themed storefronts this week, like a Cedar Avenue display put together by the Trail Historical Society in the window of Selkirk Security. The window dressing showcases humorous ads from Silver City Days gone by, and from Wednesday to Friday, a game of Snakes and Ladders will be on the sidewalk fronting Hall Printing.
“We are trying to get more traffic in town and make things more interesting,” says Ingrid Hope, Hall Printing owner and DTBG member. “Part of the window display contest is that we are putting out games for little kids,” she explained. “In the past, what has happened during Silver City Days is that everyone goes down to the Esplanade because that’s where the games, rides and food has been.
“So by putting out free games like Plinko and a (photo booth), for the younger kids, we are hoping to draw people back up into town and find the stores that are here, maybe do some shopping.”
For locals and out-of-town guests, the Trail business group has created a year round directory map that highlights all downtown businesses from financial, restaurant/hotel, retail and services.
Shoppers are encouraged to pick up a map at any downtown business.
Terry van Horn from the Lower Columbia Initiatives Corporation helped the group put together the colour coded directory, Haley said, adding the resource is already coming in handy.
“I just had someone come in looking for a Chinese restaurant, and I handed her our map of downtown Trail,” Haley added. “So that’s something we are all really pumped about.”
Another challenge during large events like Silver City Days is the lack of parking. The city tackled the matter this week, announcing a free weekend shuttle service for all event goers.
Beginning at 9:30 a.m. the shuttle will loop around three stops on Saturday, the Trail Aquatic & Leisure Centre, Gyro Park and Kootenay Savings Credit Union (KSCU) and two stops on Sunday (KSCU and Gyro Park).
The goal of the free bus is to create easy parking for the busy days of the event, so visitors are encouraged to park in East Trail near one of the three stops and shuttle into town for the Saturday parade, carnival and Sidewalk Café. With a large celebration happening at Gyro Park on Sunday, the city advises guests to park downtown and shuttle to the Family Day festivities.
As everything comes together for a jam packed Silver City Days, Trail Mayor Mike Martin says the city’s objective is to work towards creating an annual significant homecoming event for families and friends across the region.
<p style="margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 0.5em; color: #000000; font-family: Georgia, Times, serif, 'Luci