Young musicians perform at a summer Neighbourhood Fun Night ( Neil Fernyhough photo)

COLUMN: Welcoming a summer of festivals and fun

Working at Alexandra Neighbourhood House provides an excellent perspective to experience the cycles of the season.

Last month, we welcomed dozens of budding horticulturalists as new members of Alexandra and Crescent Park Community Gardens. Our 86 plots are now filled with plants reaching toward the light – joining the hundreds of new community-garden plots that have sprung up in Surrey and White Rock over the past few years. These projects underscore our commitment to engaging and growing community through food security.

We’re now turning our attention to the next big event – the biggest of the year, in fact – the 45th annual Alexandra Festival, happening Saturday, May 25, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

In addition to top-notch entertainers, we will have a bike parade for the kids, vendors selling locally-produced crafts and other items, a variety of food trucks, an installation by Telus World of Science, a beer and wine garden, and so much more.

Alexandra Community Garden will host its ever-popular plant sale, and we will have a silent auction for a gorgeous quilt made by local crafters Mary-Lou Morden, Wendy Wulff and Gloria Friesen; as well as an autographed Vancouver Canucks hockey stick from a few years back.

The funds raised help support our non-profit programs and our goal to keep financial barriers to accessing them as low as possible.

In addition to all of this, we will be mounting an exhibition on the theme of climate change.

“Our Common Future: Signs of Hope in the Midst of Crisis” will include visual, literary and performing arts in Alexandra Hall and on our Centennial Plaza stage. Our hope is that the exhibition will inspire a community conversation on the ecological crisis we are experiencing, and motivate people to move from a sense of anxiety and helplessness, to one of hope built on individual and collective activism.

Around here, we consider Alex Fest our unofficial kick-off to summer.

Once again, we will host day camps for school-age kids; as well as a two-week residential camp for supported adults.

We will also be enjoying a return of Neighbourhood Fun Nights on Wednesdays from 5-7 p.m. throughout July and August. Join us in the Centennial Plaza for a low-cost ($7 adults, $5 kids 12 and under) picnic-style meal; children’s games and activities and music provided by local young people. If you are a musician aged 18 and younger, and would be interested in performing, please get in touch.

Our mission and goal at Alexandra Neighbourhood House is to build a spirit of community by empowering our neighbours to teach and learn from one another; and to provide support to give back to the place we call home. If you have a skill to share, or would like to volunteer in any of our programs, let me know. I can be reached at, or 604-535-0015.

Neil Fernyhough is manager of Alexandra Neighbourhood House’s community programs.


Ron Kelman photo Children enjoy a performance at a previous Alexandra Festival.

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