The giving spirit is going to be alive and well in Chemainus this Saturday, June 25, courtesy of the Chemainus Rotary Club.
Rotarians will be carrying out their ‘better to give than receive’ edict at two locations for the Chemainus Summer Fest celebrations.
“It’s a community-building event,” said Rotary Club Summer Fest committee member Shannon Bellamy. “We are doing this for the community.”
The first giveaway is at Doc The Barber at 9745 Willow St. from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. It’s a literacy giveaway, with books given to children 16 years of age and younger.
“We’ll have books for all ages of kids,” said Bellamy. “The kids love them.”
The second giveaway is in front of the Chemainus Legion on Chemainus Road where Rotarians will be serving up hot dogs and drinks from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and everyone is welcome.
It’s part of a continuation from the COVID years when the Rotarians had to shut down their normal parade and celebrations and look for other activities to fill the gap.
“Last year we did a giveaway there to celebrate the Legion’s anniversary,” added Bellamy. “This year, we’re doing it to celebrate Summer Fest.”
Residents could be caught unawares by surprises from Rotary.
“Other things in the community might be happening,” Bellamy hinted.
People might have expected a return to normal Summer Fest activity this year with the easing of COVID restrictions, but the timing and availability of personnel didn’t work out for Rotary.
“We cannot go back to our original format this year as we don’t have enough crew members to have the event,” noted Bellamy.
“We were happy to do it June 25, but that date became problematic. As many people are aware, part of our crew is taken up by the bunker. We had to keep that going.”
Rotary runs a highly-successful bottle drop for charity Saturdays where people can donate their refundables, with the proceeds going to worthwhile causes.
Thoughts of switching the regular Summer Fest event to July 16 didn’t work out, either, since many people are away on holidays during that time so there was no logical replacement date if June 25 wasn’t going to happen.
“We got a late start this year because of COVID,” said Bellamy. “We were going ‘should we do it, should we not? But we were behind the eight ball.”
There were also concerns about bringing in things like a bouncy castle that could be a COVID spreader. Nonetheless, Rotary intends to make it a priority for the return of the familiar Summer Fest event next year.
“We’ll start earlier and that’ll give us time to assemble our crew,” said Bellamy. “We need about 30 people to do a good Summer Fest and parade marshals and parade security people, a set up and take down crew, in-person activities at Waterwheel Square and we need people cleaning tables.”
It’s no small task to get organized and Rotary also received considerable help from Chemainus firefighters.
In the meantime, people can still enjoy the fruits of Rotary’s labours with the giveaways and other surprises.
“We sincerely appreciate the support of the community,” stressed Bellamy. “The community has come on board like you would not believe. We’ve been able to do lots in the community.”
Jennifer (Doc) Morrell takes over as president of the club from Derek Hardacker as of July 1 for a two-year term.
“She has a lot of energy,” praised Bellamy of the incoming president.
Combined with less restrictions from COVID and Rotarians’ willingness to go above and beyond the call of duty, it’s going to be an active rest of 2022 and into 2023 for the club.