Children hold up fingers while Uncle Chris the Clown tries to fool them with a pair of balls at the 2018 festival. File photo.

Third annual South Cariboo Summer Fest promises fun for the whole family

From a local “Celebrity” Pie Eating Contest to Lawn Mower Races, the Summer Fest aims to entertain all

The third annual South Cariboo Summer Festival is fast-approaching, and there are plenty of exciting events to look forward to this weekend on Saturday, Aug. 10 and Sunday, Aug. 11.

From live entertainment to interactive demonstrations and displays, the festival is sure to feature something for everyone.

Robyn Angus, the events coordinator for the South Cariboo Chamber of Commerce, is responsible for the organization of the event. This is the second year that Angus has been involved in the festival’s planning.

“We have a great group of Festival Committee members and volunteers that are paramount to the success of the event,” she said, adding that there are many fun things planned for the weekend ahead.

“We have so many new aspects this year and I’m keeping all my fingers crossed that we have cooperative weather and can just enjoy every portion of it.”

Angus believes that the Lawn Mower Races will be a huge hit again this year, but she is also excited about the Kids’ Firefighter Challenge.

Mal Wood is a retired firefighter who was previously involved with the organization of a children’s firefighter challenge in Mission. He reached out to the local fire department to bring a similar event to the South Cariboo.

“This is brand new,” he said. “I brought up the idea to Roger [Hollander], the Fire Chief [of 100 Mile Fire Rescue] and he loved it, so I said ‘Okay, let’s get to it.’”

The challenge takes the form of an obstacle course, Wood explained.

“They go up [some] stairs to a wall, then they have to pull a hose over the wall. They have to stop, drop and roll on the mat. Then they have to crawl through a tube which represents crawling low under smoke, and then they have to pull a hose and carry buckets of water. Then they have to save this little mannequin that I have, which is dressed up as a firefighter. They have to drag him to safety.”

Every child that participates in the challenge will receive a certificate of completion and Sparky the firefighter dog will be around to visit, too. The challenge will focus on children aged 10 years and under.

Once the Summer Festival has ended, the challenge set-up will be open to all local fire departments for usage at upcoming local events. The firefighter’s challenge was created for public education, so Wood is happy to allow other local fire departments to run the activity themselves, though he’s been the one to put together its components.

The challenge must be run by firefighters, Wood clarified, and won’t be open to other public groups, but other fire departments will be able to add on their own components for their usage, if they choose.

The Wranglers hockey team will return this year to offer a pancake breakfast at 10 a.m. on Saturday morning, and the meal will cost $5 per person.

Related: South Cariboo Summer Festival packs a bite

The Celebrity Pie Eating Contest is another event to watch, as a handful of locals will be participating. That contest gets started on Sunday at 2:45 p.m. hosted by the Cariboo Chit Chat Club and sponsored by 100 Mile Vision Care.

“Guests of the festival will have the opportunity to vote for their favourite local celebrity with a chance to win a prize package worth over $400,” explained Angus. “The celebrities are Leon Chretien, Rob Fry, Nicole Weir, Mitch Campsall, Jon Lavigne, Shawna Norton, Al Richmond, Mel Torgerson, Chris Adams and Gisela Janzen.”

In addition to the Celebrity Pie Eating Contest, there will also be a Kids’ Pie Eating Contest on Saturday at 2 p.m. for children between the ages of six and 14. Registration will take place on the same day.

The festival also has a new location for its lawn mower track this year, which Angus thinks will bring great success.

”We have so many interested parties, with two great announcers that will be sharing all the action as it happens.”

The event’s full list of guidelines and rules for the 2019 Mow Down Show Down are available on the Chamber’s website, and a complete program guide has also been distributed to various businesses around town. Interested parties can register their lawn mowers for the Show Down one hour prior to race time.

The trade fair portion of the Summer Festival is a place where businesses can showcase their wares and get to chat with people in-depth about their products, said Angus, noting that approximately 30 vendors will be featured.

“There will be something for everyone.”

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