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Port Alberni in danger of losing its Canada Day parade

No volunteers have stepped forward so Folkfest Society will dissolve
A young parade goer waves a Canadian flag at the floats passing by on Third Avenue in Port Alberni on July 1, 2022. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)

Port Alberni might not have a Canada Day parade this year.

After years of struggling with dwindling volunteer numbers, the Port Alberni Folkfest Multicultural Society, which organizes the town’s annual Canada Day celebrations, has decided to dissolve.

The society put out a call at the end of 2022, looking for a new group to take on the organization of the Canada Day parade. All current society directors have decided they will not serve another term.

However, efforts to find a successor produced little interest.

“In response to our efforts since last October, only one person expressed an interest,” the society announced on Facebook. “Our email communication with the incoming members of city council following the election informing them of our plight produced no response.”

The society also sent a letter to city council, which was included in the Feb. 13 meeting agenda, but the topic was not discussed by council.

“We would like to thank the many people, businesses and organizations that have supported our efforts with their time and money in the past five years the PAFMS has led the organizing effort, as well as the parade participants who made the effort to create a memorable event for the people of the Alberni Valley,” the society announced on Facebook on Feb. 16.

The Port Alberni Folkfest Multicultural Society is not the only local organization that is folding due to a lack of volunteers. Groups like the Kiwanis Club, the Ladies Auxiliary of the Royal Canadian Legion and the Elks Club have also had to close down due to a decline in membership.

Another popular event, the Port Alberni Salmon Festival, was in danger of being cancelled last year, but a few local businesses and volunteers—including the Alberni Valley Tyee Club—were able to take on the derby and put together a smaller Salmon Fest in 2022.

Elena Rardon

About the Author: Elena Rardon

I have worked with the Alberni Valley News since 2016.
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