Forget about April. November is the cruelest month. Not only does it get darker sooner, but we are also saddled with the onset of miserable weather. And what amounts to the biggest effrontery of all, our major league hockey fix is in lockdown mode. No Canucks, no Flames, no Oilers.
Still, amidst the despair there is a glimmer of hope. Quest University and the Squamish Historical Society have teamed up to host the inaugural Squamish Culture and Heritage Festival at Quest on the evening of Friday (Nov. 23) and all day Saturday (Nov. 24). It promises to be an ambitious undertaking that will yank us out of the November doldrums.
Organizers hope the event will boost community pride and participation alongside other keynote local gatherings like Squamish Days, the Test of Metal, the iconic Brackendale Fall Fair and Live at Squamish. If all goes according to plan, the festival will be an opportunity to increase our understanding of who we are, where we've been and where we're going as a community.
With more than 30 displays and presentations it will contribute to building a network of resources, both human and material, for future reference and access. Festival goers can choose from a smorgasbord of topics ranging from the volcanology and geology of the Sea to Sky Corridor, to the archaeological remnants of an indigenous First Nation culture dating back more than 5,000 years. They will be introduced to our extensive railway, forestry and maritime history. They will hear about pioneers who tilled the soil in Brackendale and learn about the groundbreaking journeys of backcountry explorers in Garibaldi Park and the vertical exploits of legendary climbers who scaled the Stawamus Chief.
Traditional wool weaving, cedar bark weaving and wood carving workshops will be offered by members of the Squamish Nation. The Cedar Valley Waldorf School will showcase their hands-on activities for children. More than 300 local elementary and secondary school students will hook up with the festival, either as field trip participants, or by displaying a broad range of research topics. A by-product for festival participants will be an increased familiarity with the campus, the curriculum and Quest's active and collaborative learning philosophy. For Quest students, the festival will open a window on the community they will call home for a short but formative period in their lives.
Festival organizers and many generous sponsors have written the script, set the stage and secured the actors. All that is required now is an audience.
I encourage you to head to Quest University and support this groundbreaking event. A full agenda and information about access to the festival is available by visiting www.squamishhistory.ca or the Squamish Historical Society at www.facebook.com.