Several local businesses are considering organizing the Stampede Street Party, after learning Downtown Williams Lake was not planning to due to a shortage of volunteers. Here Jasmine Alexander with the Downtown Williams Lake BIA created a community art project where she encouraged people from the community to make their mark during the Stampede Street Party in 2018. Monica Lamb-Yorski photo

New businesses consider organizing the Stampede Street Party

Downtown Williams Lake announced in March it would not be going ahead with the street party

Several new businesses in Williams Lake are keen to organize the Stampede Parade Street Party.

Downtown Williams Lake has organized it in the past, but announced earlier this year it was not going to in 2019 because of a lack of volunteers.

Read more: Downtown Williams Lake plans new spring festival

One of those newly-opened businesses interested in supporting a street party is Poppy Home Store, owned by Chrissie and Janna Gertzen.

”I am part of the committee, however, until funding, a location and participating businesses and other details are confirmed that is really all I can say,” said Chrissie Wednesday, adding if businesses are interested they are welcome to message her on the store’s website.

Stefanie Hendrickson, executive director of the BIA, said they are pleased to hear that a group of downtown businesses and community members are looking to organize the Stampede Weekend Street Party.

“Engagement has always been a difficult piece for this event and seeing a group of people step forward with interest and enthusiasm is a really positive outcome,” Henrickson said. “Though we have adjusted our annual events so that we will no longer be providing the Street Party, we have always been open to supporting another group in taking this on.”

Hendrickson said they are happy to provide successes and failures, contacts, as well as business engagement support through the e-newsletter, to downtown business owners, and asocial media channels to ensure that any downtown businesses who wish to participate have the opportunity to do so.

“There are multiple reasons why we believed that the Street Party was no longer in the best interest of our organization’s strategic priorities or our operational capacity,” she added, noting the new event schedule looks to welcome the community to the downtown core in each the Spring with Spring Into Downtown, Summer with Downtown Williams Lake Artwalk, Fall by supporting The Realm of Toys with Trick R’ Treat Downtown, and Winter with Winter Lights and at times when many businesses are open and able to participate.

Acting mayor Craig Smith told city council during Tuesday’s committee of the whole meeting he had been contacted by some downtown businesses asking if there were any funds available from the City to put on the street party.

He said he did not want to name the businesses without checking with them first.

Coun. Scott Nelson said there is money available in the City’s Economic Development Corporation in the amount of $20,000 and perhaps some of that, possibly $5,000, could be allocated to the street party.

“I think we can give them a nod that there is money available,” Nelson said.

Smith said often businesses in the downtown are closed on Stampede weekend because of various reasons.

Coun. Marnie Brenner said it was exciting that there were other groups interested in volunteering to put on the event.

“Anytime we can host these types of events and showcase our downtown is a good thing,” Brenner said.

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