Sept. 30 saw plenty of sunshine and record high temperatures, a perfect day to hang out with family, friends and neighbours at a block party.
Riverwood Community Church played host to an Elmwood block party held on the grounds of the Elmwood Winter Club. It was beautiful to see so many people of all cultures and ages from the community gather together and enjoy the free food and festivities.
The event brought out about 2,000 people according to pastor Jon Courtney, who was responsible for running the event. The church was able to offer the event at no cost to guests because of the support from city councillors Thomas Steen and Jeff Browaty, as well as a grant they received from Neighbourhoods Alive.
There was definitely no shortage of fun things for children to enjoy. They could go in one of the several inflatable bouncers on the grounds; visit Prairie Exotic animals and pet the snake and check out all the other creepy crawlies; or visit the petting zoo, and take a ride on a pony. There was face painting and balloon creations and kids could take a seat in the police cruiser and chat with officers in attendance.
There were two locations you could visit and play the guessing game with a jar full of candy. The closest guess not only received the jar of candy, (every kid’s dream prize) but also an iPod shuffle.
There was also live entertainment on the stage that you could sit and enjoy while having lunch.
The barbecue food tent was a popular place to visit. I asked Jon how much food the volunteers served to visitors. He estimated they served up 2,750 hotdogs, 15 litres of ketchup, 87 pounds of munchies mix and 2,700 cookies. That’s a lot of food!
A party of this magnitude required a lot of preparation. Jon told me that more than 200 volunteers and in excess of 550 man hours made it all possible. I asked him why they would put so much effort and time in throwing a party. His response? "We absolutely love being situated in the heart of Elmwood. We took so much joy in seeing the smiles on kids’ faces, the families that came together, and all the connections we were able to make with out neighbours."
The church runs many different programs on a regular basis, all specific to Elmwood. There is a deep pride for the community among members of the Riverwood parish that’s quite contagious and would make any Elmwood resident proud of their neighbourhood.
Pastor Jon showed me this pride when he said: "We have really strived to not just be located in Elmwood but to truly be a part of it and to be a part of seeing it move forward."
Riverwood offers a great website if you want more information about the church. You can visit it at www.riverwood.cc.
Melissa Bigras is a community correspondent for Elmwood. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.