Kudos where kudos are due for the 2018 edition of the White Rock Sea Festival.
As organizers of the event for the first time in its 69-year history, the City of White Rock – particularly hard-working staff, including recreation and cultural director Eric Stepura and cultural development manager Claire Halpern – deserve a pat on the back for a job well done, as do the many energetic volunteers who pitched in to make it happen.
The festival – smoothly and seamlessly combined with the Semiahmoo First Nation’s Semiahmoo Days activities including the salmon barbecue and Pirates in the Park – seemed to work well, without any major hitches.
Wise was the choice to enlist the aid – and heed the advice of – such longtime volunteer organizers as Maureen Beales and Cindy Poppy, in co-ordinating the torchlight parade, and Jim Black, in coordinating the weekend’s entertainment. If it isn’t broken, as the saying goes… and such resource people bring a wealth of experience to the table that the city would not be able to conjure up overnight.
The only serious glitch, from early reports, seems to be the decision not to keep shuttle buses running after the parade was over. City policy it may be not to provide shuttles for such events as Canada Day By The Bay and the Snowbirds flying exhibitions. But a bus ride up the hill, especially for seniors, as the Sea Festival wound down would seem to be essential, particularly since the shuttles and trolley buses were providing such yeoman service throughout the rest of the festival.
Halpern noted to Peace Arch News that the city acknowledges there is some room for improvements in future years – may we respectfully suggest that this be one of them?
It is curious, in a way, that this should be the first time the city has run the festival – one suspects that in earlier years, when everyone in the small town wore at least three hats, figuratively speaking, city staff were in the thick of the organisational work.
This weekend’s success does, indeed, seem to support the logic of an event in which volunteer input sparks the creative process, but the city takes care of the logistical nuts and bolts.
Such collaboration truly showcases White Rock at its best, and that is, surely, the whole point of Sea Festival.