Happy Days are here again

Elmwood block party returns for 17th year

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 31/05/2018 (1708 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Mark your calendars, folks: Happy Days on Henderson is here again.

On June 9, the free, annual community block party returns to Elmwood for the 17th time. From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., 81 Henderson Hwy. will be hopping with activity. Live bands, children’s entertainers, bouncers, a petting zoo, zumba, tai chi, and face painting will accompany volunteers at 35 community resource tables.

The event remains a fun way for local residents to meet their neighbours and learn about the businesses and community organizations that also call Elmwood home.

Sheldon Birnie The organizing committee for Happy Days on Henderson is made up of representatives from community organizations and businesses from the neighbourhood. (SHELDON BIRNIE/CANSTAR/THE HERALD)

“That was my vision, to connect people so they would know what’s in their community,” said Jan Stuyck, one of the founders of Happy Days on Henderson. “It has the same spirit, now, but on a larger scale.”

While the first few Happy Days were organized by Stuyck and a small group of volunteers, the organizing committee has grown over the years along with the event. Last year, over 1,200 attended the party.

Since Day 1, visitors have been invited to fill out a passport by visiting the various tables set up by local businesses and community organizations. Completed passports are then entered into draws for prize packs.

Another popular tradition at Happy Days is the bike giveaway. Thirty bikes are up for grabs, with helmets donated by the Manitoba Aboriginal Sport and Recreation Council for those who need them.

“It’s as simple as showing up, looking over the bikes that are there that matches for your child, you just put a ticket in the draw,” said Dale Karasiuk, executive director of the Chalmers Neighbourhood Renewal Corporation.

“It’s free for all ages,” Trinette Konge, action plan support with the Chalmers Neighbourhood Renewal Corporation, added. “And if they live in the area and have limited mobility, it’s accessible.”

For those planning to get to the party by bicycle, a bike valet will provide a secure coat-check style option for storage during the course of the afternoon. Strollers are also welcome. Visitors are encouraged to bring cash to enter the silent auction, and a lawn chair to enjoy the entertainment on the main stage.

“For our organization and myself as someone who lives and works in the community, it’s something I want to see happening,” Alex Strange, volunteer and youth engagement co-ordinator with Sam’s Place, said. “It’s something my kids look forward to every year.”

“It’s a great way to connect with the families who come to the event every year,” said Mark Stine, operations manager for the Elmwood Community Resource Centre. “There are some families who have been coming for years, you can see their kids grow up.”

“It’s a great way for our community to learn about our resources and services,” Leilani Esteban, program co-ordinator for TIE Tykes. “Every year we get new families at the TIE coalition coming to TIE Tykes, and new seniors through the EK Active. Reaching out to isolated seniors who see the event, it can be a huge impact on their lives.

And while the event has been a success for the past 16 years, organizers aren’t resting on their laurels.

“New this year is free coffee, fruit and popcorn,” Konge added. “Animal services will be there this year.”

Along with the many volunteers who make the event happen, organizers added that the City of Winnipeg has provided plenty of assistance over the years, helping with setting up and taking down the event and providing a number of grants.

“They sit at every meeting,” Esteban added. “The City is here for the community.”

For more information on the event, or to volunteer, email happydaysonhenderson@gmail.com

Sheldon Birnie

Sheldon Birnie
Community Journalist

Sheldon Birnie is a reporter/photographer for the Free Press Community Review. The author of Missing Like Teeth: An Oral History of Winnipeg Underground Rock (1990-2001), his writing has appeared in journals and online platforms across Canada, the U.S. and the U.K. A husband and father of two young children, Sheldon enjoys playing guitar and rec hockey when he can find the time. Email him at sheldon.birnie@canstarnews.com Call him at 204-697-7112

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