Stó:lō Nation prepares to host its 26th annual Children’s Festival

Titled Battle for the House Cup, this year’s event adorns a Harry Potter theme

During the past nearly three decades, what started off as a small event to celebrate the youth of Stó:lō Nation has grown to a nearly valley-wide festival for all children. On July 11, from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., the Stó:lō Nation will be hosting its 26th annual Children’s Festival.

A little boy enjoys himself in 2017’s Sto:lo Children’s Festival. (submitted)

“This year’s theme is Harry Potter,” said Brianna Nakagawa, events administrator for the Stó:lō Service Agency, which organizes the yearly event.

Started in 1992 for the nation’s children, Nakagawa says the Festival was “a way to get everyone together and celebrate” their successes and accomplishments. Due to its success and popularity, the Festival was eventually opened to children across the Fraser Valley.

“We’ve really expanded over the past few years,” said Nakagawa. “We have kids from Agassiz, Abbotsford, Chilliwack, and Surrey already registered. Last year we had about 1,200 kids, so we’re expecting (a large turnout) this year.

“This year we’ll have face painting … a slahal tournament … a craft station, and the train will be running … as the Stó:lō Express because of our theme.“

READ MORE: Youth in the spotlight at annual Sto:lo gathering

“(Slahal) is a game with sticks,” explained in Michael Suedfeld, who works with the Stó:lō Nation’s communication’s department. “It’s hard to describe: it’s a team game trying to outwit the other players psychologically. It’s very mental but it’s a lot of fun to watch because there’s lots of singing and other stuff going on.”

“There will also be a talent show called Stó:lō’s Got Talent,” said Nakagawa. “It is geared towards First Nations, but ages up to 15 are allowed to participate. It’s either singing, or playing an instrument, or dancing. If they have the courage to go up on stage, we’ll welcome them with open arms.”

There will also be a bouncy castle and food vendors handing out yummy samples such as bannock, poutine, ice cream, and fish bites.

However, as it’s run by a services agency, Nakagawa explains that an important part of the Festival is also the display of services offered, of which there are many.

READ MORE: Ts’elxwéyeqw tribe captures the art of its historical storytelling with new book

“For the most part, the Stó:lō Service Agency is a service provider for indigenous people, but they have now expanded so it’s not just for First Nations anymore.”

This means, “where we can, our services are available to the general public depending on the program’s funding and its parameters,” added Suedfeld.

To make the day as interactive as possible, all children who attend the Festival will be given event passports; for every booth or activity they interact with—be it the craft station or ice cream vendor—they’ll receive a signature in their passport, and once its complete, they can turn it it for a prize and have their name entered into a draw for family-friendly door prizes.

In addition to their passports, like their Hogwarts counterparts, children attending the Festival will be sorted into Stó:lō-based houses based on nature’s four main elements: Sqéweqs—the raven—for air; Spá:th—the bear— for ground; Syó:qwem—the sun—for fire; and Sthéqi—salmon—for water.

There will even be T-shirts for sale representing each of the houses that were designed by participants of the Nations Creations program. The shirts are $15 for children sizes, $20 for adults, and $5 from the sale of every shirt will go back to the Stó:lō Service Agency’s Christmas hamper program.

Normally the program’s artists get to keep their royalties, explained Suedfeld, but this year, the artists generously donated their designs to the event.

“We just want everyone to come out and enjoy (the Children’s Festival),” said Nakagawa. “It’s great to get together as a community.”

This year’s event will be held on the Stó:lō Nation’s Coqualeetza grounds, located at 7201 Vedder Road in Chilliwack.

For Information on Children’s Festival and to register online, please visit StoloNation.bc.ca. To purchase T-shirts ahead of this year’s Festival, please visit StoloGiftShop.com.


@SarahGawdin
Sarah.Gawdin@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

GW Graham whallops Ballenas Whalers in junior football playoff

Logan Buchwitz scored four touchdowns for the Grizzlies in a one-sided 40-0 win.

GW Graham grad Ethan Mastin wins Atlantic University Sport football title

Mastin helped his St. Francis Xavier X-Men top St. Mary’s U in last weekend’s AUS championship game.

Sardis Falcon Nick Butler named to Nissan Titan All-Canadian Team

The receiver is one of 70 high schoolers who will travel to Edmonton during the CFL’s Grey Cup week.

Country talent Petunia returns to Bozzini’s in Chilliwack Saturday

Petunia, performing Nov. 17, is referred to as ‘The Savior of Country Music’

Superstore steps into vacancy left by Sears to help every family celebrate Christmas this year

Ann Davis Transition Society has paired with the grocery giant to host a Christmas drive on Nov. 17

People flocking to Vancouver Island city to see hundreds of sea lions

Each year the combination of Steller and California sea lions take over Cowichan Bay

Protesters confront Environment Minister in B.C.

Protesters wanting more for killer whales confront Catherine McKenna

Humans reshaping evolutionary history of species around the globe: paper

University of British Columbia researcher had the paper published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society

Toronto ‘carding’ activist Desmond Cole stopped by police in Vancouver

Cole says his experience reveals what daily life is like for black and Indigenous residents

Tubing, skating, light display part of new winter festival in Vancouver

Set to open Nov. 23, the six-week festival will take over Vancouver’s Concord Pacific Centre

Commercial trucks banned from left lane of Coquihalla

B.C.’s Ministry of Transportation has introduced a new program that hopes to prevent accidents and closures on the Coquihalla Highway.

B.C. on track to record same number of overdose deaths as last year

128 people died of overdoses in September, bringing the total to more than 1,100 so far in 2018

B.C. firefighters rescue horse stuck in mud

‘It happens more often than you’d think,’ says deputy chief

Regulatory confusion over ‘toxic’ stink near Abbotsford school

Officials sniffing out which regulators responsible for enforcing compliance at neighbouring property

Most Read