Leaders Wanted for European Festival

European Festival 2019
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The Eurofest BC Society is seeking a new President and it could be you! At this moment you are most likely saying “No, not me!” You might be new in town, or have no experience in managing a group of people, or just be an introvert who fears public speaking, but I would still encourage you to step forward.

What kind of leaders are needed? Mainly leaders who are willing to commit at least a solid year of effort in getting the European Festival off the ground. As usual, the Board would consist of a President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer and members-at-large. There are monthly meetings and executive meetings (Board only) at least 3 or 4 times a year. Members consist of individuals from various European backgrounds or Societies and Associations from Europe.

What is the European Festival? Mainly a festival that started in 1996 with ten countries at the Alliance de Francaise. A year later, they moved to Granville Island, where they soon had up to 20 countries participating and at some point moved to the Scandinavian Community Centre in Burnaby. From there, they moved to the Swangard Stadium and that is where things became a bit overwhelming and in 2018 no festival was held at all.

In November 2018, a much smaller Board of Directors organized a European Festival Christmas Market for the first time, which was held at the Stanley Park Pavilion. When it came time to find a place to hold the Festival in May, I thought of the Vancouver Alpen Club, who had recently hired a new General Manager. When we contacted Lorenzo, he was happy to agree to hold a Festival on the last Sunday in May 2019 and the organization got started.

Moving from a gigantic venue like the Swangard Stadium to the tiny Alpen Club was not easy, but we all managed. We had cultural tents in the parking lot, a flag parade in the big hall, a marketplace in the Jägerstube (smaller hall downstairs) and food at 2 stations inside. The tiny “Weinstube” was used in various ways throughout the day: to host a champagne reception for VIP’s, to hold a panel discussion on the EU election and as a change room for the performers.

Performances consisted of dancing, singing, costumes and lots of tradition. The RCMP sent along a representative, who sang “O Canada” along with the young volunteer, Natalya Porter. We invited the newly elected Vancouver City Council, the parks board and Consuls of all the countries involved in the festival to attend. One thing that was missing were tables for the children, but that is something we are working on for next time.

Also a beer garden outside!

So, the next AGM is September 30th, a Monday evening at the St. Mark’s Church at East 18th. If you are interested in joining the Board, or becoming a manager or just volunteering in the planning session, please let us know: info@europeanfestival.ca. Otherwise, we would be happy to get sponsors involved, but I will write about that in another post.

We look forward to hearing from you! Elke Porter

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