The second-annual community barbecue celebrating safety went off without a hitch Saturday, with about 400 people stopping by for a complimentary barbecued lunch and learning about community services while having fun.
“It’s something to educate people as to the different resources we have in our community, as well as to get people together in an environment that’s safe, free from substances,” said Tiffany Clifford-Smith, chair of the Rainy River District Substance Abuse Prevention Team, who organized the event with help from Safe Communities Rainy River District and the Fort Frances Kiwanis Club.
“And I think it went really well,” she enthused.
With nearly 400 people signing in, Clifford-Smith said there probably were some there who didn’t sign in.
“It was down a little from last year but we had more community participation in terms of booths,” she noted.
Last year’s inaugural event overwhelmed organizers when more than 500 people turned out. So this year they were prepared for the crowds and the event ran smoothly.
“The MNR was there this year and, of course, we had the EMS, the fire department, ambulance, and OPP,” Clifford-Smith said.
“We had West End Motors there to show some of the safety features on the vehicles because there are so many new ones, it’s overwhelming sometimes for people to know what is in the vehicles,” she added.
Some of the organizations on hand also included the Gizhewaadiziwin Health Access Centre, United Native Friendship Centre, Northwestern Health Unit, Fort Frances Tribal Area Health Services, Canadian Mental Health Association, Community Living Fort Frances and District, and Kenora-Rainy River Child and Family Services.
“There was also different [activities] for families and kid to participate in,” Clifford-Smith said, citing bowling, cookie-decorating, face-painting, sand boxes, bouncy castles, and various demonstrations.
She noted the event was set up in a circular way and flowed rather nicely.
“A committee member had a vision of how he wanted it set up and that was very nice of him to take the lead on that for us,” she remarked.
And it was great that the weather co-operated.
“We’ve been lucky with the weather,” Clifford-Smith said, noting last year’s weather also was pleasant.
“The night before it started raining, so I was worried, but it was a very nice day.”
But Clifford-Smith also stressed the barbecue wouldn’t have been such a success if it wasn’t for all the help and donations from the community.
“Of course, the Kiwanis did our barbecue for us again this year, which we’re very appreciative of,” she stressed.
“We had Webb’s, The Place, and Safeway donated hotdogs and hotdog buns, and McDonald’s and Tim Hortons donated the beverages.”
Clifford-Smith added the Seven Generations Education Institute donated the big tent and set it up for them.
“We’re really blessed with the community helping us,” she enthused.
Meanwhile, Clifford-Smith said the SAPT plans to continue on with the event next year.
“We already talked about next year and keeping it going,” she remarked.
“We’ve had great community response in terms of people coming out and enjoying it.”
She added it wasn’t just families who attended the barbecue.
“We had seniors and adults coming to see what was going on, and going around to the different booths and finding out about the services that are in place in the district,” Clifford-Smith said. “So I think that is really nice, as well.”