Columnist Margaret Miller is a longtime Creston Valley resident. File photo

Columnist Margaret Miller is a longtime Creston Valley resident. File photo

Valley Views: Building Community

‘The past months and years have been difficult, but we are moving on.’

By Margaret Miller, a long-time Creston Valley resident

May is in full swing and a host of popular community events are underway in Creston Valley. After months of winter temperatures and lingering snow, and years of cancelled events and necessary public health protocols, that’s exciting news.

Last weekend saw a flurry of outdoor events. The third outdoor Farmers’ Market of 2022, held beside Millennium Park this season to allow for construction of Market Park adjacent to the Chamber of Commerce. The market is always worth a visit to support the more than thirty friendly vendors who provide a variety of quality, locally produced foods, art, crafts and plants.

The well attended Creston Valley Bird Festival celebrated its 10th anniversary last weekend with a fine array of options for attendees – guided birding tours, farm tours, star gazing, art and food events. The popular festival was a testament to the biodiversity of our valley and the talent and energy of the organizers. Two thumbs up to all involved!

Last week, audiences at the Kootenay River Secondary School Theatre were treated to a special musical event in honour of the late Anita Stushnoff. The voices of the Blossom Valley Singers blended in a moving tribute to their late director, their efforts supported by other local vocalists and musicians. It was a wonderful event that says a lot about the heart in our community and the power of appreciation and co-operation.

On a lighter note, May 14 saw a hive of activity at a Creston Refugee Committee (CRC) fundraiser – a manure sale. Some urban dwellers might well grin to learn a manure sale is cause for excitement in our community. But the replenish-the-soil, plant-the-seeds, harvest-the-food folk among us know that it’s hard to beat a truck load of the good stuff!

Funds from the sale will assist the Refugee Committee in their year-long sponsorship of the next refugee family to come to Creston – a Myanmar family of eight presently in Malaysia. The arrival of the family has been delayed for some years by the pandemic and the international surge in refugees claims, and the CRC hopes for their imminent arrival. The volunteer group has welcomed 92 refugees to Creston since its formation in 1979 and the arrival of the new family will raise that number to 100. Another find example of local kindness.

This coming weekend will see the return of the popular Blossom Festival. The theme of this year’s festival, the 81st for Creston, is one of appreciation for the front-line and essential workers who supported our community through the pandemic. “Friends before… during… and after”, the 2022 festival theme button reminds us, with a big red heart wrapped by a medical stethoscope.

The Festival Parade on May 21, I imagine, will be fun. But the significance of it is also worth considering. Hundreds of locals and visitors gathering downtown. Adults and kids with happy faces. Smiles and friendly faces lining both sides of Main Street. A community coming together, sharing the fun.

I thank the many volunteers, council members, town employees, and business owners who worked to bring back this important community celebration.

The past months and years have been difficult. A health crisis. Cancelled public events, quarantines, and social distancing. Protests and counter protests. Anxiety and mistrust. But we are moving on, and in this new phase we should acknowledge the large number of locals who have responded to difficulties by doing something to benefit others.

These community efforts remind me of an old song my dad sometimes quoted when I was young. Composed in 1958 by Richard Adler, it was made popular by Eddie Fisher. Dad preferred the version by Peggy Lee, one of his favourite jazz singers of the 50s.

The song was titled “You Gotta Have Heart” and included these lines:

“When your luck is battin’ zero

Get your chin up off the floor.

Mister you can be a hero

You can open any door.

You got to have heart,

Miles n’ miles n’ miles of heart.”

The lyrics are certainly dated, but the message remains clear in the new millennium. And it’s a message that many in Creston Valley have converted to action.

READ MORE: Valley Views: Outdoor Therapy

Creston Valley