MELANIE MINTY: Culture Days event was a very big deal at Surrey City Hall

SURREY — Did you participate in Culture Days last weekend? I did. My main event was attending the official launch of Culture Days at Surrey City Hall. This was my first trip to the building and I was suitably impressed with ease of access and inviting environment. Parking is underground, well-marked and easy to enter off 104th Avenue. Parking is $1.50 per hour, or 12 hours for $7. Bring exact change or a credit card for payment. There, now don’t you feel more comfortable about perhaps attending a function or event at the new Centre Stage? The venue doubles as city council chambers. Interesting.

Any new space needs breaking in, and thanks to Surrey’s dedicated parks and recreation staff (notably those at Surrey Arts Centre), Surrey was selected as the official provincial launch site for the fifth annual, Canada-wide Culture Days. Yes, it is a very big deal. You should be impressed. I was. The stage featured performers like Lisa Brokop and John Mann. Christopher Gaze emceed. If you don’t know who Gaze is, then you need to brush up on your Shakespeare.

CTV’s Marke Driesschen gave the noon weather report from the stage. Live. Did you see me waving in the background when the camera panned the audience? What fun.

Remember, this is being broadcast across the province. Looking good, Surrey.

A letter from Carolee Oakes, Minister of Community, Sport, and Cultural Development, stated, “The government of B.C. is a proud supporter of arts and culture.” I’ve included this so you can make note of our current minister responsible for arts and culture. Always good to know these things.

Surrey also launched – or unveiled – its new marketing brand for Arts and Heritage (AH). “Say AH for Arts and Heritage in Surrey” promotes the city’s contemporary art gallery, state-of-the-art civic theatres, heritage attractions, museum exhibitions, archival collections and public art installations. “A collective brand for Surrey’s arts and heritage venues and services is a critical step toward fortifying the image and building awareness of the numerous and varied cultural opportunities in Surrey,” said Coun. Judy Villeneuve, chair of the Culture Development Advisory Committee. “‘Say AH’ will raise the profile of arts and heritage within Surrey and the region by engaging new audiences and welcoming volunteers to share arts and heritage with their communities.”

The campaign has been developed to support improved access on the city website through a new arts and heritage landing page with quick links to facilities, services, exhibitions and special events. For more information visit I tried this website, and I love it! It is easy to use and find things – what a concept! Say ‘AH.’

Here is another ‘AH’ we all need to support right now. Seriously. Get your tickets today for A Night on Broadway…After Hours. This fundraiser for the Surrey Food Bank has two performances, both on Saturday, Oct. 4. I was checking out tickets and availability and I am just appalled that this glorious night of music is not already sold out. Good cause, good show, buy your ticket! You will hear pianist Angus Kellett (who just played for Wicked when it was in town) as well as the Lindbjerg Show Choir. Event originator Debra DaVaughn says, “This is an event that will leave you humming as you walk out of the door. I hope knowing that 100 per cent of your ticket purchase has gone to help the food bank will give your heart the extra joy and thankfulness the Thanksgiving season is all about.”

Envision Financial has helped sponsor a large portion of this event for the past three years. Other contributors are Thornley Creative Communications (they helped on the ‘AH’ campaign), Green Timbers Covenant Church and The Arts Council of Surrey. The show is at Surrey Arts Centre’s main stage on Saturday, at 3 and 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $27.50 for adults and $25 for seniors and students. For ticket details, click here.

This month, Avenue Q, the Broadway musical for adults, is the opening show for Arts Club Theatre Company On Tour this season. It will be at Surrey Arts Centre from Oct. 15 to 25 (shows Tuesday to Saturday at 8 p.m., Saturday and Sunday at 4 p.m.). Tickets are $29 to $51, including all fees, via 604-501-5566 and Warning: Full puppet nudity and other vulgarities will induce laughter. And maybe you can imagine that this show could be set in Surrey.

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