Greater Trail residents showed their true colours Monday afternoon as they rang in Canada Day with face painting, good eats and live music in Trail and Fruitvale.
Among the approximate 150 people who turned up at Beaver Creek Park was a white and red parrot, a retirement gift for 31 years of working at Teck, said Larry McAulay.
He and his wife May decided to bring “Binjo,” their male bare-eyed cockatoo, out for the first time this year for a day of socializing in the sun.
Though he was a little shy, his owners said they knew he was game on the outing when he stuck his head right through his harness himself.
Eight year-old Ayla Ferguson has come to the community celebration for the past eight years in support of her great uncle Leroy Pederson, a Kiwanis volunteer who helps put on the event.
The festivities wouldn’t be possible without the organization, according to Trail councillor Kevin Jolly, who stood out in the crowd.
Jolly was the “tall guy wearing the big Canadian flag” in the kids scavenger hunt organized by Camp Cowabunga.
“The weather couldn’t be better, the fellowship is great, we’ve got some good entertainment and we’re here to have a great time and celebrate the best county on earth,” he said.
The crowd rose to its feet to sing the national anthem, led by Leanne Harrison, and dug into cake served up by Jolly.
“I think in the last few years we’ve become more vocal about how proud we are,” said the patriotic man.
“When you look at the Olympics in Vancouver and you look at the place that Canada has taken on the international stage, in many different ways our prominence, in terms of the type of country we are and what we represent, is much better known now than it ever has been.
“I think Canadians feel some sort of license to celebrate more openly and that’s what I’m seeing here today.”
In Fruitvale, a crowd of just over 100 people was doing the same at Haines Park but with a greater nod to the past with a focus on the War of 1812.
Tracey Johnson added her voice to the event, singing classics that kept the crowd tapping its feet all while enjoying barbecue served up by the Beaver Valley Rotary in partnership with the Greater Trail Stingrays.
For the past four years, village councillor Jill Prince has organized the community event with a special hand reached out to village youth.
The festivities included eight kid stations centred around a historical scrapbook game.
“I’m a real history buff, personally,” said Prince. “When I was in high school, my social studies teacher told me those who choose to forget the past are doomed to repeat it and I’m a big fan of teaching Canadian history so that we can move forward in society, instead of being stuck in the past and repeating mistakes that we’ve already done.”
Adding the historical tie to the village’s event scored the community a $400 grant from the federal government to help cover the cost.
A lot rested on her younger daughter, 11-year-old Clara Halbert, who was managing the interactive stations ran by 18 youth.
It was a hectic day for the pre-teen who got a taste of management when she scrambled to fill last minute positions when workers pulled out. But the work experience was worth it, and the community effort was definitely felt by those who attended.
Her older sister, 13-year-old Julia Halbert, was also there to celebrate the country’s 146th birthday.
“I think that in the States they talk about Canadians like we’re some kind of crazy, foreign weirdos but really we’re not much different from them,” she said.
Prince was pleased to see her daughters getting involved in their community.
“You get lost in the milieu in a big city, whereas in a small community people know each other, people benefit from that relationship and helping out in the community teaches them responsibility and starts a lifetime commitment to volunteering.