A new festival which aims to highlight the sense of community in Bridgeland-Riverside and support local businesses in the neighbourhood could be launched next summer.
A brainstorming sessions was held on Oct. 16th to generate ideas for the festival.
“There seemed to be a lot of enthusiasm,’ said Stacey Sudlow, the events director at the Bridgeland-Riverside Community Association.
While she would have liked to have seen a bigger turnout for the brainstorming session, Sudlow said she and those who attended had a good conversation, and a variety of ideas were pitched.
“[The ideas] varied from Oktoberfest to a winter carnival to something more focused on the arts, like music,” she said.
Sudlow herself does not have a specific vision in mind for the festival.
She said she is looking to gather additional input from the community and hear what they would like to see before she begins making plans.
“It’s about capitalizing on our great community and our fantastic location,” said Sudlow.
“As long as it is something that brings positive attention to Bridgeland, supports our local businesses, and gets us out and about and connecting with each other then that would be successful,” she said.
Bridgeland residents have mixed views on the planned festival.
Karen Bannister felt that a community project might be a better idea.
“Don’t we need another food bank instead of another festival? You can’t enjoy a parade if you’re hungry,” she said.
Leanne McGrath was happy to hear that a festival could be coming to her neighbourhood.
“It will be great for the community, and it would be nice to get to know more of my neighbours,” said McGrath.
The idea to bring a festival to Bridgeland-Riverside was sparked when long-time residents of the neighbourhood began telling Sudlow about Old Bridgeland Days, a festival the neighbourhood had held in the past.
Residents told her the annual parade held for the festival was the biggest parade in the city after the Stampede parade.
“I started thinking, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if we could do something like that again.’” Sudlow said.
Sudlow plans to continue brainstorming. She said she would like to begin some type of electronic brainstorming on Facebook or through email to get people talking about the festival.
Her next step will be to narrow down the ideas and focus on two or three of them.
“Then we will have to start doing some real planning, looking for volunteers, and start to think of the logistics and how it’s all going to come together,” said Sudlow.
The festival could be launched as soon as summer 2013.
“I would like to do something small next year, and something bigger the following year,” Sudlow said.
She is considering tying the festival in with an event Bridgeland-Riverside has in the summer called Community Day, but it will depend on which season the community members choose for the festival.