Trail isn’t a newbie when it comes to hosting big events, and the city’s certainly not afraid to try something new.
That “something” is the first time the opening ceremonies for the BC Seniors Games will be held outdoors, according to director of ceremonies Eleanor Gatafoni Robinson.
“We wanted to do something different and something that people are going to remember when they leave our region and hopefully come back and visit,” she said.
“We feel Haley Park has the ambiance for what we’re trying to create with excitement and welcoming people into the Kootenays — not just Trail, but Castlegar and Nelson too.”
The opening ceremonies will be held on Aug. 17, with the pre-show starting at 5 p.m.
Closing ceremonies will be at the Castlegar and District Community Complex on Aug. 20 at 2 p.m.
Having the opening ceremony outside will also allow planners to accommodate the large number of people expected to attend and avoid having to mess around with other sports venues, she continued.
“We want to really make a difference — not that other places haven’t, but everybody has their own little niche in regards to opening ceremonies or whatever they’re doing and we’re hoping that people will say, “Gee, that was a really great opening ceremony and we’re happy to be in the Kootenays and we’re going to enjoy ourselves.’”
The theme for this year’s ceremony is “Forever Young,” but co-ordinators are keeping event details under tight wraps.
“We’re not divulging that yet because we’re keeping it a secret,” Gatafoni Robinson said slyly.
All she would say is that local performers from all three cities are slated to be a part of the evening, with local three-some North of 60 doing a pre-show.
Planning has been in the works for roughly nine months but events like this usually take about two years to plan, said Gatafoni Robinson.
Most of the $8,000 budget will be spent on the opening ceremonies because the closing ceremonies aren’t usually as pompous, she added.
“A lot of the athletes, once they finish whatever they participate in they leave after and travel around so the opening ceremony is much more visual, and the closing ceremonies are much smaller.”
The toughest part is planning for the unknown — mainly number of people estimated to show up for the ceremony and the hit-and-miss weather this summer.
“We’re hoping it’s a nice, beautiful Kootenay evening — not too hot and not too cold, that’s what we’re praying for and hoping it’s going to happen, but whatever happens we’re ready for it,” she said.
But it’s all worth it in the end for her.
“For me, it’s volunteering your time, giving back to the community and the actual joy of seeing this whole team (effort) come into fruition after all your hard work,” she explained.
“There are many directorates under BC Seniors Games but for me it’s just seeing everything unfold and hopefully everybody will enjoy themselves, leave with a lot of gusto and have a great Seniors Games.”