Mike Butler and his dog Joy enjoy the view from the new Canada 150 benches at the east entrance of the Columbia River Skywalk. The crossing’s grand opening is slated for Thursday night from 7-9 p.m. (Guy Bertrand photo)

Special stroll on the Skywalk tonight!

The City of Trail invites everyone for an “Evening Passeggiata” from 7-9 p.m. at the Skywalk.

Trail’s newest gem is set for the Silver City Days limelight tonight (Thursday).

After months of planning, the City of Trail invites the community for an “Evening Passeggiata” from 7-9 p.m.,to celebrate the Grand Opening of the Columbia River Skywalk.

“We encourage people of all ages to come out and stroll the area between the Aquatic Centre parking lot and the White Garden on the Esplanade, by way of the Skywalk of course,” says event organizer Andrea Jolly.

Mayor Mike Martin and other delegates will launch the fanfare by saying a few words in the East Trail parking lot before unveiling one of the commemorative plaques that will be installed on the bridge.

After that, 50 members of the Trail Maple Leaf Band will gather for a noteworthy performance – throughout Trail history, even now in its 100th year, the concert band has always been part of the city’s grand openings and special events.

Once the pomp wraps up at 8 p.m. it will be time for a Skywalk – or on this occasion, a “Passeggiata.”

Pronounced “pas eh jata,” the word means a leisurely walk, stroll or promenade especially one taken in the evening in Italy or Italian-speaking communities.

“Hosting a passeggiata-themed event was an idea that I thought of during the construction of the Columbia River Skywalk,” Jolly shared. “Knowing we’d be hosting events to draw attention to the new structure, I thought “an evening stroll,” much like one experiences in Italy, would be very suitable to celebrate the bridge and its nearby amenities.”

Not only does the event celebrate the Columbia River Skywalk, it’s also a great tie-in to Trail’s Italian culture and history, while providing something new to the citizens, Jolly said.

“Having grown up in an Italian household and having visited Italy, I have always found the tradition of a passeggiata intriguing and very welcoming, and I really wanted to share this concept through one of the city’s community events,” she added. “Setting up community group stations along a designated route is somewhat a Trail twist to the custom, but it will allow us to capture the feel of a passeggiata while showcasing our new bridge.”

During the stroll, guests can expect to see station hosts, or local community groups and businesses, set up at the east and west bridge approaches, showcasing their services and programs.

The Rock Wall Project Entusiastico Society will have their new Rock Wall route map on hand and host a fun activity; mobile groups, like the Trail Ambassador Programme, KidsSport Greater Trail, CBAL and the Gondoliers of Century 21 will be strolling the bridge providing information in an interactive way; and the Trail airport will have giveaways along with a rendering of the new terminal building.

For those who continue toward town and nearer the midway, more Italian goodies and music await.

“At the White Garden, La Banda Italiana will be playing some live Italian music while the Italo Canadese makes and gives away pizzelle,” Jolly said. “And the City of Trail will be there to give away ice cream cups.”

The event will take place rain or shine.

Some may wonder why the city is hosting such a festive event this week. After all, the Skywalk has been open for five months, excluding the past few weeks when crews were finishing hardscapes.

Due to weather constraints, the Dec. 15 ribbon-cutting ceremony was considered a “soft launch” because the finer details of the project such as detailed walkways and landscaping were not complete.

The city has long planned to highlight the $15.5-million Trail landmark, said to be one of the longest suspension bridges of its kind in North America, in grand fashion during Silver City Days 2017.

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