New contests highlight annual United Way Day

The fourth annual United Way Day in the Park returns to Gyro Park this weekend.

The fourth annual United Way Day in the Park returns to Gyro Park this weekend.

Between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday families can expect to enjoy children’s activities, live music and food in the park beside the Columbia River.

This year the event is bringing something new, something old, something borrowed, but strangely, nothing that’s blue.

“There will be free games for the children like races, face-painting and fishpond,” said Trail-based executive director Naomi McKimmie of the United Way.

For the first time ever the United Way Day (UWD) is orchestrating two day-long contests.

The Green Thumb contest is open to anybody of any age, and it’s a competition for aspiring gardeners. It has two streams: the first is searching for Trail’s largest sunflower; and the second is looking for fresh-cut garden flower combinations, in any way gardeners can imagine.

“We want people to bring down their arrangements so that everyone can enjoy them,” said McKimmie. “And they can register online or on the day of the event.”

The Lego contest is an activity for children between the ages of five and 12 years old. Participants are divided into two groups based on age (grouped between children aged five to eight, and nine to 12) and will be instructed to build a community out of Lego.

“The children are to construct an item that goes along with our theme for this year, which is building strong communities. So it would be a park setting or a neighborhood setting, or a downtown community setting—like a city setting,” she said. “They are allowed to get ideas from their parents, but mom and dad are not allowed to help them (build) it.”

Parent signatures are required to enter the children’s contest. Both contests require participants to be in the park by 8:30 a.m., and completed before judging at 11:30 a.m.

Based on the success of previous UWD events, the organization is bringing back the Toonie barbecue (quarter-pound beef burger, a bag of chips and a cold beverage for $2) for the second year, an initiative sponsored by Ferraro Foods and United Steelworkers 9705.

In addition, there will be in-park raffles, pie for sale by the slice, vendors, artisans and live entertainment performed by Tracy Johnston and Garth MacKinnon.

The Pastry Shop is donating several fruit pies for the traditional pie by the slice sales, and the VISAC Art Gallery will be making donations for some of the in-park raffles.

The money raised during this year’s UWD is intended to be used for local non-profits that United Way works to support. Financial aid is awarded based on allocation forms distributed in late October.

“This helps to build community awareness about the organizations that the United Way helps to support and fund within the community, and it’s a good showcase for these organizations, letting them know what it is that they do in the community and how far their reach is,” McKimmie said.

For more information, contact McKimmie at 250-364-0999 or Or visit online at