It might be reasonable to describe the recent Booth International Festival as somewhat out of this world.
After all, one table sported guests in interplanetary attire, offering a buffet of green fare for the tasting – and, of course, Mars bars.
“They won best table, easily,” organizer Maia Scott said.
A tradition launched eight years ago, the South Surrey festival raises money for the Mood Disorders Association. This year, the Aug. 27 event collected $8,500 for the cause, bringing the total since inception to $58,500.
Started by Jim and Ilze Booth – after the couple spent 30 years travelling the world together – the first five events were held at the Booth family home, with people attending each representing a different country.
It moved in 2009, after Jim Booth was diagnosed with cancer.
Booth, who died from the disease last October at the age of 67, was passionate about raising support and awareness for people living with mood disorders. He told Peace Arch News last year that his ultimate dream was to establish three mood-disorder support groups for every 50,000 people.
Scott, who is Booth’s daughter, said Friday her dad’s passion for the cause showed through in guests’ continued support for the festival. Many who attended donated more than in past years, and those who couldn’t attend due to its later-than-usual organization still chipped in, Scott said.
“Probably less numbers, but way more per person. People were donating $200, $300, $1,000,” she said. “It was so important to my dad.”
Scott said getting the word out about support groups that are available to those living with mood disorders, and their families, continues to be a challenge.
The groups are offered free-of-charge and run on a drop-in basis at locations throughout the Lower Mainland.
Local groups include one that meets on the second Wednesday of the month at Meridian Centre, 2040 150 St. (call 604-536-4221); and one for Punjabi women, from 6-8 p.m. Tuesdays, at 12725 80 Ave. (604-596-7722). In Langley, groups are offered from 1:30-3 p.m. on the second and fourth Wednesday of the month, at Arbour Creek Estates, 5756 57A St. (604-873-0103).