The sun broke from the clouds Saturday afternoon to light up the annual Stampede Street Party.
After two days of overcast skies and rain, many of the organizers and volunteers involved with this year’s street party were worried they’d be rained out. Yet, after a cloudy morning, the skies opened up and bathed the event in sunshine, raising people’s spirits and good cheer.
Held just after the annual Daybreak Rotary Stampede Parade, which went on for over an hour and drew a crowd of thousands, this year’s Stampede Street Party stretched throughout the downtown, filling up Oliver Street and the avenues branching off it. Their crowds of lakecity locals and tourists were treated to a wide range of food, vendors and activities to partake in sponsored and run by over 75 businesses, organizations and individuals.
Organizer Chrissie Gertzen said she felt this year’s Stampede Street Party had gone “absolutely amazing” and was the busiest she’s seen it in many years.
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“Our hope is that the energy and excitement that we’ve created this year will ensure the street party is going to happen next year. That the City is going to take up the reins and get it going,” Gertzen said.
She plans to take part in organizing the event again next year if called upon. Gertzen wanted to thank Williams Lake for all the support they’ve shown the party from the residents showing up in droves, to the various vendors setting up shop and the businesses inside and outside of downtown that helped out.
The Stampede Street Party, Gertzen said, is an important part of the Williams Lake Stampede, local culture and tourism and is something that will need support come next year.
Gertzen’s fellow organizer and the owner and operator of Kit and Kaboodle, Carl Johnson, was likewise ecstatic to see so many people, especially children, out enjoying the event. Johnson, along with Adventure Games Inc., ran the Kids Zone which offered prizes for children who collected eight stamps from playing a half dozen handmade mini-carnival style games
All of the mini-carnival games and attractions were made and donated by his sister-in-law Jan Erickson who originally built them two decades ago for her five children. Johnson said that Erickson put in almost 40 hours to refurbish and refresh them so they could find new life at the Stampede Street Party.
“The kids are playing. They’re lining up and they’re playing with actual games, they’re not looking at a device, they’re looking at something in reality,” Johnson said.
Overall, while the event was a little overwhelming and hard to organize, Johnson said the Stampede Street Party had been amazing this year.
“Street party is dear to me and I’ve got it from customers that it’s dear to them, so I’m glad we did it,” Johnson said.