For one week each January – for nine straight years now – various community facilities open their doors and numerous volunteer and non-profit organizations come together for families to have some free fun together all around Campbell River.
Family Literacy Week, a collaborative effort by The Campbell River Literacy Association (CRLA), the Vancouver Island Regional Library, Tidemark Theatre, City of Campbell River, School District 72 and others, is a chance for families to come together, unplug from their electronic devices, and just play.
“This year is shaping up to be super great,” says Kat Eddy, executive director of CRLA. “As usual, we have tons of support from our community partners and we’re excited to see everyone enjoy everything happening all around town next week.”
Once again this year, the week kicks off with a free family swim at Strathcona Gardens on Sunday, Jan. 21, which Eddy says is one of her personal favourite events every year.
“It’s so loud,” Eddy says with a laugh, “but it’s loud in the best possible sense of the word. It’s so great to see parents getting into the pool with their kids, tossing them around and laughing and having fun. It’s just a really great event to start the week.”
Other free activities include free family admission to the Museum at Campbell River from Tuesday to Friday. All the “Toonie” programs at the Sportsplex are also free next week.
Of the new activities planned for this year, Eddy says she’s most excited for the Parent and Kids Art Class with local artist Charlotte Deptford on Jan. 25.
“It’s such an awesome idea,” Eddy says. “I mean, you get to sit down and do some art with your child, talk about why art is important and make something meaningful together. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the events where space is limited – there are only 10 spaces – so anyone who wants to come play at that should get registered at the front desk of the Community Centre.”
The week wraps up with a high-energy prop-based comedy and magic show by internationally-renowned performer Alex “The Zaniac” Zerbe at the Tidemark Theatre.
“He does the Mr. Bean, physical comedy kind of thing, but he does it in an educational way,” Eddy says. “It’s super high-energy and super fun.”
Unfortunately, the tickets for Zerbe’s show are sold out, but Eddy says that doesn’t mean you can’t attend if you haven’t gotten yours. Because tickets for the event have always been free, Eddy says, thanks to the Tidemark’s Theatre Angels program, many people “buy” tickets not knowing whether or not they can make it, and the theatre ends up only partially full come show time.
“What we’re doing that’s different this year is we’re having a ‘Play in the Square’ event in the area between the library and the Tidemark – we’ll be inside if the weather isn’t wanting to play along with us – and we’ll have hot chocolate and popcorn and be having lots of fun. Then at 1:45, any tickets that have not been scanned at the Tidemark will be released to anybody in the square who wants them. So if you didn’t get tickets but really want to go to the show, chances are good that you can get in if you just come on down.
“This way we can make sure that more people who want to go to the show actually get to,” Eddy continues. “We’re going to try to fill the house this year.”
Next Saturday’s “Play in the Square” begins at noon. The full schedule of events and updates can be found by following CRLA on Facebook or by picking up a schedule at various locations around town, including Strathcona Gardens, the Community Centre and the Sportsplex.