Bravo to Margot Venema and the other members of Clearwater Rotary Club for a very successful Christmas Tree Light-Up on Sunday evening, Dec. 2.
Locating the event at the Wells Gray Infocenter was such an obvious improvement it makes one wonder why no one thought of it before.
It’s obvious now, after the fact, but no doubt it wasn’t so obvious before Margot Venema thought of it, convinced the rest of the club that it would be a good idea, and then put in a lot of hours organizing the event.
Congratulations too to all other organizations and individuals in the community that jumped on the bandwagon and made the event a success.
For the past four or five years the Christmas Tree Light-Up has been held in the parking lot at Clearwater Secondary School. That location was cold and windy, and didn’t really have a lot of character. Perhaps most importantly, there wasn’t a large conifer nearby to decorate. Instead, a deciduous tree was used – perhaps attractive in its own right, but not a traditional Christmas tree.
Before that, the Christmas Tree Light-Up took place in the parking lot of what is now the Clearwater Stop, located kitty-corner from Wells Gray Inn. There there was an appropriately shaped tree of the right size, but the traffic situation was so dangerous it was a wonder no one was injured or killed.
The Infocenter site has its choice of large conifers to decorate. It is away from the main highway so it is relatively safe from traffic. The parking lot in front of the building, where most of the action took place, is in a shallow bowl and sheltered by trees. If people got too cold, the building was nearby to go inside and warm up. Once they got inside they would find a craft market happening with many unique Christmas gifts for sale. Also inside was a table for the kids to try decorating gingerbread men while outside was a space where adults and others could decorate Christmas trees.
Wells Gray Gallery, which is located in the Infocenter’s ground floor and features works by local artists and craftspeople, opened up for several days starting on Sunday.
Several local residents commented that they hadn’t been in the building in many years and were interested to see some of the changes, such as the new art gallery.
Venema has said she would like to see the Light-Up at the Infocenter grow into a bigger winter festival that extends over several days. Judging by the success of this year’s event, we should encourage and assist her in that plan.