Events

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Growing up in Merritt, BC

Growing up in Merritt

Why I love growing up in Merritt

 

“…I never had any friends later on like the ones I did when I was twelve..”Richard Dreyfuss spoke these words in the final scene of my favorite movie “Stand by Me” . For me this quote reflects my growing up in Merritt with my friends. While we may have never searched for a dead body, we did have some memorable adventures. Whether it be getting my two friends and I lost on a mountain and picking ticks out of our hair on the way down, or floating down the Nicola River in dollar store rafts, my group of friends and I did it all.  

 

Being raised in Merritt, My playground was the outdoors. Everything was in walking distance, and even if it wasn’t, we would still walk 2.5 hours in the scorching 40-degree weather to find a new cliff to descend into the river.  Summers were spent playing on the river, or trying our best to leave early to get the ‘perfect’ spot under the shady tree at Monck Park beach. Dirt biking up to the lookout point up Promotory , and geocaching in Lower Nicola.  

Hunting season in the Nicola Valley

As the leaves changed colours, so did our interests. I had completed my hunting core that past April. All I wanted for my birthday was to do an overnight hunting trip with my dad. On one brisk September’s day my father and I set out for our overnighterWe set up our camp under an old fir tree, 15 minutes outside of Merritt.

After we finished setting up, with a few hours of daylight left, we started down the rough terrain below us.  Although we never shot anything, we did come across a small group of mule deer heading towards the timber. About 15 minutes after we had spotted a beautiful large black bear. We sat and watched the bear in admiration for quite some time. When we got back to camp, I sat underneath the fir tree with a breathtaking view of the Nicola Valley. I relaxed as my father prepared supper. The trip is one I will never forget. 

Wintertime in Merritt

When snow starts falling in the Nicola Valley and winter approaches, Doug’s once green lawn turns into an ice rink. If you don’t have skates to wear, he supplies them without charge.  Sledding and snowshoeing in the Nicola valley are a thing my family and I have always enjoyed and now it is our family tradition,

it’s not a successful sledding trip if you’re not leaving without a black eye (at least in my family anyway!) .

Kane valley in Merritt

The lights when I come into Merritt always put a smile on my face; the streetlights are always so beautifully decorated that you just can’t help feeling that Christmas spirit. Of course, my most favorite thing about living in Merritt at Christmas time is the parade. It’s usually me, my mother and brother’s tradition to go every year to the Christmas Parade. I wouldn’t miss it for the world. No matter how old I get, I will still get that feeling of pure joy when I see the ‘Frosty the Snowman’ Norgaard truck float, and even at the end when Santa appears.  

  

I really couldn’t wish for a better place to grow up in. I know that when I get older and leave for school, a part of me will always be here in Merritt. There are so many memories and adventures built here and I’m so proud and grateful to be able to explore The Nicola Valley and call it my hometown. The mountains and lakes have so much to offer that I hope that in the future more  kids grow up and have a similar childhood to mine growing up in a small town.  

  

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Country Christmas – Things to Do in Merritt, BC!

​Country Christmas Week Here in Merritt, BC!

Country Christmas delivers fun and community spirit…

​With a Festival of Trees, a Community Choir event, the Love to Dance Performance, our fabulous Christmas Parade, and shopping til midnight!

“We keep having to paint more little festive canvases as people buy them right off the tree!​”

Country Christmas

Tiny Painted Canvas Decorations

Our Country Christmas week is spectacular! It takes place during the last week of November and is one of the best things to do in Merritt.

My own experience started a few days before the week of celebration with the arrival of our tree at the Courthouse Gallery. For several years the Festival of Trees has involved an inspired number of businesses and non-profit groups. The groups each decorate a tree in their own fashion, from classic to creative, 

This means we have trees decorated with hockey pucks, ballet slippers, and peacock feathers-and everything in between. One year I decorated our Pop Up Shop tree with little dolls and teddy bears (all with sparkle halos on their heads) and rainbow feather boa garlands.

Festival of Trees 

Country Christmas

Festival of Trees Past at CMHF

For the first years of Country Christmas, all the trees were set up on the main street of town, in the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame. It’s a beautiful building with hard wood floors, high ceilings, and western-style chandeliers. The venue attracted locals and visitors from neighboring towns to see our Festival of Trees.

This year for the Festival of Trees event, all the decorated trees are spread out around the town, and people head out to do the tree tour. We adorned our tree at the Courthouse Gallery with tiny canvases, painted by local artists and interested Creatives. We keep having to paint more little canvases as people are buying them right off the tree! And all the money supports the Gallery.

Love to Dance Performance

Country Christmas

Love to Dance “Museum of Art”

This year, for the Country Christmas festivities, the Love to Dance Academy​ presented “Museum of Art”. Dance teachers Lizette Nel and Vanessa van Rensburg choreographed the dances which involved dancers of all ages, from adorable tots to graceful seniors. 

Herman Nel looked after the creation of the sets designed by Vanessa and Lizette, as well as the lights and music. Over a hundred colourful and gorgeous costumes and dresses were designed and sewn by talented members of the Merritt Dance Society. And there were plenty of volunteers, parents and dance lovers, who helped pull off the beautiful event. 

The two-hour long performance was presented at both an afternoon matinee, with classes of children arriving on school buses, and a stellar evening performance. 

Michelle Etchart, local songstress, performed two moving pieces while dancing continued around her. 

Country Christmas

Michelle Etchart

The night performance was captured on video, with CD’s available. I attended the matinee, and will be sure to acquire the evening performance CD. Worth watching again! And kudos to all those involved, with special recognition to the dancers showing such professionalism in putting on the two events in the same day!

Thanks to the Love to Dance Academy!

Christmas Concert!

Talk about things to do in Merritt! The night after the dance performances, several choirs and singing groups, duos, and soloists, provided a soul-satisfying musical evening to a large crowd at the Merritt Civic Center. (That’s the farthest away from the doors I have ever had to park in my many years of Merritt living!) 

Country Christmas

Merritt Community Band

The Merritt Community Band was there, the Community Choir, and more…

Also, Cecilia Dyck and Caitlyn Stephanie Walsh played piano duets, the four Snees entertained, and Michelle Etchart again performed with her spot on renditions.

And not only did the groups and soloists perform their own pieces, but the collaborations amongst them, and even the audience, brought the community together in inspired evening of music.

Well done! Bravo!

Then the Santa Parade…

I have heard that our Santa Parade is the largest in the world! The country? Our province? Well, I’ll wait to be informed properly but I do think the Nicola Valley Santa Parade is one of the best things to do in Merritt!

Country Christmas

Santa Parade 2018, Merritt Herald photo

​The Merritt Country Christmas Santa Parade’s success shows what stuff our community is made of. We are tough, determined, hard working, creative, and ready to have fun…and all in support of our businesses and organizations.

And this year’s parade tested all of those qualities because it started to rain as the parade entries were lining up, started to pour as it got going, and the rain didn’t quit until near the end, when big fat snowflakes started to fall. People knew they’d get soaked, but they didn’t stay home. The floors of the shops, open for business until midnight after the parade, had puddles from the rain soaked customers….

Check out the photos of the rainy event on Merritt Herald‘s online coverage.

Open Mic Night, one more thing to do in Merritt during our Country Christmas week!

Country Christmas

Donna Dixon, a regular at Open Mic night

On the Friday night of the Santa Parade, I jut got wet running out to my car, and then dashing in to Kekuli Cafe. We put on a special Open Mic night that night! And we watched the rain come down, then the snow, and then mopped up the puddles that our audience left on the cafe floor when they poured in after the parade and settled in to the cozy venue.

 Mugs of hot coffee, tea, and hot chocolate were in high demand! And we invited our musicians to warm up the crowd. Al and Denise, Robert Bertrand, Willard Wallace, Quade Lindgren, Jim West…

And regulars like Doug and Donna Dixon were there to enjoy the live music.

 

It was a special Country Christmas 2018 

Pouring rain during our Santa Parade only adds to the memories!

I hope there are always Country Christmas planners and volunteers. This week is a highlight in our community. It gets all of us who participate in any way, from young to old, in the mood for the holiday season, whatever our beliefs. We come together, show off our talents, have fun, support each other and are inspired to be thankful for each other. 

So kudos to the people in our community who plan Country Christmas, who put on the events, and who participate in them to make them all worthwhile. 

Let’s recognize each other for the contributions to community that Country Christmas brings!

Country Christmas

Painted Canvases on our Gallery tree

Now, does anyone want to come to the Courthouse Gallery to paint a little canvas for our tree? I found some empty spaces again! All welcome!

And you can wave to the LTD dancers while you are there. We share the Courthouse space.

Life as I know it, Jano Howarth

Creative Community

Nicola Valley Community Arts Council

 

 

 

Country Christmas

Phyllis Laage’s Tree Decoration

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WILD! Flies, Skins, and Skulls…

WILD! Flies, Skins, and Skulls…

Creative Exhibition at the Courthouse Arts Gallery, Merritt Canada

Fishermen, Hunters, Photographers, Collectors, Artists…

Things to do in Merritt

Taxidermy, fly ties, carvings

Things to do in Merritt…A nature exhibition Nicola Valley style: taxidermy, fly ties, rods, skulls, pelts, eagle photography, moose airbrush painting. Collections of stuffed birds, birds’ nests,  shells…lots to see!

Who’s showing their nature art and collections at the Gallery?

  • Peter McVey, fly tier and fisherman extraordinaire. 
  • Willie Kiegerl, providing us with a variety of animal skulls to identify. And other wildlife. 
  • Dawn Shackelly’s eagle photography, and owls, big horn sheep, baby ducks… 
  • Jessie Rabbit with her bull calf and fireweed, her beautiful airbrush painting. 
  • Cindy Trent with collections: skulls, BC shells, sea stars, and bird’s nests 
  • Rory Hepner has provided beaver and coyote pelts, and animal skulls 
  • Artist Renee Hartwigs’ tri coloured owl and Joel Reid’s “find the bird” painting 
  • Mischelle and Bill Pierce have contributed both creatures and colourful fly ties 
  • Fran McMurchy created three small watercolour creeks for three fly ties in oak frames. Unique! 

And Murphy Shewchuck, who put down his fly rod years ago. And picked up his camera… 

A nature exhibition Nicola Valley style…

Things to do in Merritt

Nature collections and Renee Hartwig’s Owl Art

Our Nicola Valley, surrounding the town of Merritt Canada, is filled with hunters and fishermen and women. Lots of families in the area raise their children with skills to provide for their families from the land around. From berries to deer to lake trout. Children and adults alike celebrate bringing down their first deer, or catching their first salmon.

We are set in a grassland valley, filled with creeks and lakes, surrounded by rolling hills and mountain ranges. There are a lot of choices, many paths to take, and backroads to follow- to hunt, fish, gather. Lots of nature.

Our exhibition reflects this focus on nature in the area!

I have long been fascinated with the art of fly fishing and fly tying. As a child, my family just fished with rods that fit in our Rambler. We fished enough, and I enjoyed it enough, to make sure my own kids had rods and gear enough to catch Lake Trout at Monck Park, which we ate for supper on the camp fire.

But we had friends who were hooked on fly fishing, and I watched movies with fly fishing action (looks close to meditation). And I could see the charm of those long, supple rods flashing the line out over water. And the flies…

We have one of the most well-known fly tiers in our area displaying his flies, ties, and accoutrement. Peter McVey not only told stories at our WILD! Reception, but left his book so we could read more about his adventures…

We have vintage suitcases displaying flies that others have created. Works of art!

What if you wanted to get started on fly tying?

From Gear Junkie

Catching your first fish on the fly will embed new levels of appreciation for all things fly fishing.

Things to do in Merritt

Fly Tie Watercolour art by Fran McMurchy

Most fly anglers hit a point in their fishing career when they think about tying their own flies…. There’s an entirely new level of satisfaction from catching a fish on a fly you tied yourself.

The path to tying amazing flies isn’t the easiest. And the reward is 10-fold compared to that of storebought flies.

Fly tying is an angling tool that can empower you to catch more fish. Tying flies enables an angler to not only replicate their favorite bug at the fly shop but also create their own custom patterns no one else has. The only limits you face at a tying vise are imagination and creativity.

Anglers construct flies to replicate the exact bugs found in streams.

Tying also offers the avenue to get in touch with the most artistic side of fly fishing. Fully dressed Atlantic salmon flies and modern articulated streamers can be just as artistic as painting, with the hook acting as your canvas. 

Yes! That’s what I thought when, as art gallery director in our small community, we were brainstorming Art Exhibitions.

This area is filled with fishable lakes and streams. One of our oldest slogans is “A lake a day, as long as you stay!”

The Nicola Valley is a perfect place for a Fly Tie show!

Things to do in Merritt

Ruffed Grouse, birds’ nests

And, my buddy said…taxidermy too! Well, sure!

Most of us have seen taxidermied creatures, in museums, at our uncle’s house… Taxidermy is an art in itself.

What does taxidermy mean? From answers.com

Taxi is Latin for move. Dermis is Latin for Skin. Taxidermist is a mover of skin. Taxidermy is what he does. A taxis is a division of classification especially when concerning animals. Dermous means skin, Dermy is an activity concerned with skin. So — Many types of animal skin activity.

In the Nicola Valley, we have several taxidermists. They do work for locals and also do spectacular mounts for clients outside our area. I’ve seen photos…

At the Gallery we have stuffed birds: ptarmigan, ruffed grouse, blue grouse (the smart ones), a beautiful owl… And a mounted fish.

We also have amazing carvings of birds and fish that look like the real thing…

And if you want a taste of the big critters, we have photographs of mountain sheep, bald eagles, an air brush painting of a moose calf. And real antlers of moose and deer, a buffalo hoof, a coyote and beaver pelt, two bear skulls…

Lots of skulls! Of all kinds! Coyote, beaver, raccoon, fish… Hummingbird skeleton! You can barely see it!

So here we are, in the middle of an exhibition showcasing the work of many people local to our area. Collectors, painters, fly tiers, taxidermists.

Things to Do in Merritt… Come and Visit & Get Involved!

From Oct 11-Nov 3, 2018, at the Courthouse Arts Gallery.

Things to do in Merritt

WILD! Poster by Kim Leclair

Got skulls? We are looking for donated animal skulls, bones, antlers, for a painting workshop!

This should be fun…. Want to join us?

Register for Saturday, Oct 27/18. 1-3pm at the Courthouse Arts Gallery in Merritt. $20. $10 if you bring your own skull…

Go to Nicola Valley Arts Council Facebook Page for more info!

And if you miss it, we’d love to collect skulls and antlers for more artwork, for another time. Call 250-378-6515 to donate.

Also fly tie expert and fisherman extraordinaire, Peter McVey, is telling stories, Friday Nov 3/18, 4-6pm at the Courthouse Arts Gallery, 1840 Nicola Avenue, Merritt, BC

Visit Nicola Valley Arts Council‘s site for more about the arts in the Nicola Valley.

Read my blog about Open Mic Nights in Merritt, held every Friday night at Kekuli cafe 7-9pm. Come on out!

Jano Howarth, promoting creativity in our community

Jordyn Lee

Jordyn Lee

Hi! my name is Jordyn Lee, i’m 15 years old, and i have spent my whole life in Merritt. I have been very interested in writing from a young age, and intrigued in adventure and the outdoors at even younger. I am very excited to share my stories and thoughts as being the youth blogger for Merritt!
Jordyn Lee

Latest posts by Jordyn Lee (see all)

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Artists of Merritt, Canada – Libby Dybikowski

Artist of Merritt- Libby Dybikowski

“I like to work quickly and spontaneously…”

Libby believes art can help you see the world in a different way.

Artists of Merritt

Turquoise Vase 16″x20″ Acrylic on Canvas

Libby Dybikowski is one of our popular and prolific Artists of Merritt. Her work is known for colour vibrancy, for bold brush-work, and for simple themes with lasting appeal. She says the enjoyment of the Nicola Valley surroundings and the pleasure of travel to exotic locations drive her choice of subject matter. 

I first met Libby at a Nicola Valley Community Arts Council meeting. And I discovered a focused, articulate lover of arts and cultures, with skills of great use to a social-profit organization. We worked together when I first took on the Gallery Director job for the arts council. She hung my first show, collaborating with the three lower mainland artists for the “Poetic Language of Landscape” exhibition. I will always be grateful…

Artists of MerrittI first encountered Libby’s art, when I invited her to fill some spaces for a community show we held. A lot of the art contributed by the community ended up, to a large part, smaller in scale than I anticipated. Libby’s work is all sizes. And she brought in several large canvases, covered with bold colour and form. I became a fan…

From the words of Anne MacKay, Chief of Conservation at the McCord Museum in Montreal, “Libby Dybikowski’s skillful handling of colour and form give her work an impact that is hard to deny. Strong, sensuous and daring, her paintings grab the observer at first glance, and continue to engage with every viewing.”

 

Montreal beginnings, Vancouver life… 

Artists of Merritt

Burrard Inlet, Before 18″x24″

Born in Montreal, Libby spent her first twenty or so years in Montreal. From her website: Libby has been a lifelong appreciator of the arts, including music, theatre, dance and fine art. A graduate of McGill University in French language and literature, with a year at the Université Aix-Marseille and two summers at Cornell’s Hotel School, her professional achievements prior to painting included management strategist, negotiator, and founder of a successful national executive search business. 

Libby enjoyed painting as a child, and watched her father, an architect, paint “en plein aire”. As a teenager she found more interest in music, and playing the clarinet and appreciating classical and jazz forms.

From age 20 to retirement, Libby worked in Vancouver, in human resources for Hilton International and the Bay, and as a university administrator at UBC, and finally owning and operating her own executive search firm, Provence Consulting, that specialized in searches for university administrators for universities across Canada..

Artists of Merritt – Libby Dybikowski in the Nicola Valley Artists of Merritt

Upon retirement, Libby and her husband spent more and more time in the beautiful Nicola Valley. Here she ran across a watercolour workshop given by Jean Kiegerl, picked up her brushes, and hasn’t looked back since. She switched to acrylics and now paints often, in spurts. Inspired by her surroundings: the landscapes, the animals and people around her, and her travels. Libby includes mixed media is some of her work, like paper and netting.

She has a studio where she can leave out her paintings in progress. Libby walks away from them when the artistic flow stops or slows down, and returns to them when the time is right.

One of her pastimes, between painting bursts, is spending time with her horse, Buttercup. For a while Libby also created jewelry with semi-precious stones.

More About Libby

Artists of Merritt

Libby and fellow artist Kim Vizi-Carmen

Libby enjoys playing bridge with friends.

She prefers coffee to tea, dogs to cats. 

Libby watches tennis and late night talk shows – or parts, like Stephen Colbert’s monologues. Her favourite movie is still Lawrence of Arabia. And favourite books are Dicken’s A Tale of Two Cities and The English Patient, by Michael Ondaatje

Libby loves to bake and enjoys French cuisine. 

And France is her favourite country to visit.

Libby loves to travel, creating her own travel adventures with her husband, Jim.

Support, Inspirations, and the place of Art in Society.

Artists of Merritt

Libby and husband Jim

Libby feels she gets a lot of support for her painting, from Jim, and her friends and fellow artists, like Kim Vizi-Carmen and Jean Kiegerl. She has received mentoring from many artists, including Joanne Beaule Ruggles and Patricia Peters. She has enjoyed painting alongside artists, like Cyndra Bradford in California. Libby says she has learned a lot in the company of other artists.

When asked about the challenges she has encountered in pursuing her art, Libby talks about the importance of pleasing herself when she paints and not being affected by the opinions of others.

 

She believes that art stretches society, that it can help you see the world in a different way. “Bigger and better…bigger skies, deeper oceans.”

Libby has long admired Canadian Group of Seven artist, Lawren Harris. She visits art galleries and museums for inspiration in cities when she travels- Paris, Barcelona, Nice. “Amazing!” And most recently, Marrakesh, a city she would return to…

Merritt 2 Marrakesh 

Artists of Merritt

Merritt 2 Marrakesh

Libby is showing at the Courthouse Arts Gallery. There are over 30 paintings depicting three themes: her recent trip to Morocco and the exotic city of Marrakesh, the city of Vancouver, BC, and the Nicola Valley. From horses, to mountains, to colourful city scenes, to flower still life, and in all sizes, Libby has something for everyone to enjoy. And all of us in the Nicola Valley have the opportunity to acquire a Libby Dybikowski painting of our own.

Come and see Libby’s work at the Courthouse Arts Gallery on Nicola Valley in Merritt. Or visit Libby’s website, where you will find her paintings are available for the world.

See for yourself and tell a friend! September 6-29, 2018

Merritt 2 Marrakesh

Read more about other artists of Merritt and art and culture in the Nicola Valley, here on Experience Nicola Valley.

Check out our local Nicola Valley Community Arts Council site to see what is happening in the arts in the valley.

Jano Howarth

Every work of art which really moves us is in some degree a revelation: it changes us.  Lawren Harris

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Bikepacking Merritt

Bikepacking Merritt – the Epic 1000

The BC Epic is a 1000km traverse across South Central BC

 I rode as fast as I thought I could, without injuring or killing myself…

Darch Oborne participated in the BC Epic 1000, and tells us about the bikepacking adventure. In his words…

The BC Epic 1000 is an offroad, unofficial, completely self-supported bikepacking ride/race in the spirit

bikepacking

The beginning in Merritt, BC

of the underground “Tour divide” style and under the same rules. No registration (other than on the website), no support, no insurance, no prizes – it is simply a plotted route with a suggested time for an unofficial group ride. Show up and ride at your own risk.

The BC Epic is a 1000km (1040 to be exact), 11,000m elevation traverse across South Central BC starting in Merrit and ending in Fernie (or vice versa if you choose) mostly along the Trans Canada Trail. The route is about 80% off road on mostly old decommissioned rail grades

The BC Epic 1000 bikepacking ride, since 2015

2018 was the third year of the bikepacking race, created by Dr. Lennard Pretorius of Kamloops. Jame Oborne and Lennard are also the first two riders to complete the Merritt 150 Epic on June 16, in eleven hours and forty-seven minutes. Lennard rode the first and second ‘1000’s’ and had a course record for a while. Virtually single-handedly, Lennard conceived and organized the Epic, seeing it grow from sixteen riders in 2016 to sixty-seven entrants in 2018. Quite an achievement! I predict there will be 100 racers in 2019.

I’d guess that of the sixty-seven riders entered, ten were extreme athletes, with three or four being extremely extreme, ie: 600 miles of off-road riding in less than three days, with less than six hours of sleep! Most of us “racers” chose to get at least some sleep (four to six hours in my case). nightly. Usually right at the side of the trail, after an evening meal at 9 PM, consisting of a couple of energy bars!

Many racers had lights and rode into the dark. My strategy was to ride as fast as I could without injury and to ride long, ie: from the crack of dawn at 4 AM to dark at 9 PM, to at least try to keep up with the middle of the pack.

The grades are less than three percent, but just relentless

The route is mostly old railway bed, including the KVR to Midway and Columbia Western to Castlegar. The grades are less than three percent, but just relentless, such as the climb out of Princeton to Summerland and Christina Lake to Castlegar–they just go on and on and on! But, through beautiful upland fields of flowers, several trestles, tunnels, raging rivers, beautiful forests, lovely meadows are all part of the Epic.

Many bikepacking racers stopped and took pictures of the beautiful features, often allowing me to catch up to them. Then there’s the torture of the Grey Creek Pass. Sixteen kilometers of ‘up’ on gravel, rutted road, at grades to sixteen percent–hike a bike for fifteen kilometers! No fun at all, after already being on the trail for four days.

It is self-supported, meaning you carry what you think you’ll need for each section ahead, including food and water. You can stop at towns or houses for provisions–root beers and double teenburgers–YUM! (I had some coupons from the mail).

I carried my small stove for a quick coffee

bikepacking

Darch begins the Epic 1000

You carry what you think you’ll need to give you a good sleep, dry riding etc. I carried my small stove for a quick coffee/hot choc in the AM (I only used it twice), and I used a Kelty Thermarest pad, summer bag, and Tyvek covering, all wrapped up in my 1/2 body bag from Kiwanis Surplus store. The bikes of choice are Surly big boys, with 2.5″ to 2.8″ width tires.

I used my Transition Smuggler 29″ with gravel tires (2.5″ on the front and 2.3″ on the rear) until I broke the Hammerschmidt bottom bracket bolt about 3 miles N of Beaverdell at 6 AM on Day 3. Luckily, my son James was in Vernon and after a two-hour wait, he arrived with his Trek hardtail 29″.

Within another two hours, I was on the road, with most of my gear mounted on it. It proved to be a lively, but “hard-on-the-ass” steed and I was able to finish the race with it. Thanks, James–my option was to hitch to Kelowna and buy or rent a bike (sure, on Canada Day)!

There are no support stations, no route markings

I rode as fast as I thought I could, without injuring/killing myself, which was mostly fourteen to sixteen in the saddle daily, with four to six hours of “sleep” at the side of the trail. I figured that if I rode slow and steady, and long, I could maybe keep up with some of the pack. After day one, I only saw two riders for the next five days. We were all so spread out over the 600 miles. Most riders carried a SPOT GPS tracking device, so I checked my relative position a few times, but that’s disheartening when I was (only) halfway, in Grand Forks and Evan Deutsche had finished in Fernie!

There are no support stations, no route markings (other than Trans Cda Trail signs) and you rely on your GPS (my old Garmin did not function well at all—should have tested it more thoroughly). I carried a SPOT tracker with an SOS button for extreme emergency, but it enabled my family to track my slow progress towards the finish in Fernie. The SPOT ate batteries and I had to re-supply twice–not able to find AAA Lithium in Midway or Greenwood. Carry more spares!

And speaking of spares, you have to carry anything you think you’ll need to repair yourself and your bike, and for any weather, etc. As for a Hammerschmidt bottom bracket bolt (we’d just changed the bottom bracket days before the race–go figure)! I carried three tubes and used only one, but a few racers slashed their tires and went through several tubes.

I kept looking for Lance Armstrong’s care packages

bikepacking

You carry what you need

Of the 29 scratches (non-finishers) in the race, most were for human failings, ie: tendons/hamstrings/chafing etc. Mechanicals played their part, but most racers had put many, many miles on their steeds and knew what to expect of them. I did several ‘long’ rides on local gravel roads, ie: six to seven hours and did an overnight trip to Princeton and slept in the bush.

I should have “trained” harder, faster, and longer, but at seventy-three, there’s a limit to my strength and endurance, which I knew beforehand.  All through the race, I kept looking for Lance Armstrong’s care packages, but alas, I found none.

I passed so many lovely lakes and streams that I desperately wanted to dip in and just stop and enjoy, but I did not succumb until the last evening at Koocanusa lake. What a joy to swim and wash after five days of hard riding! On reflection, maybe except for the awful Grey Creek Pass, the route would be nice to do in, say, two weeks, in a group–still riding hard, but stopping to smell the roses…often.

Who wants to do it? The Epic 1000

Nope, not again, for me…unless? I’ll be pleased to assist other Nicola Valley rider who wants to do it and I’ll continue to help Lennard with organizing a BBQ, home hosting, etc. The BC Epic 1000 is a free event, totally volunteer, which turns my cranks for sure. Any riders wanting to try bike-packing, I’d be glad to loan equipment and accompany you if desired. Go to Bikepacking.com for the best info. The kindred spirit of the racers was super, although, as stated above, I rarely saw another racer after day one, until the finish.

My thanks to my family and friends who sent texts of encouragement along the way, those who helped

bikepacking

Darch’s upports- Travis Fehr of Breathe Bikes, Merritt. And wife Catherine

with the BBQ, home hosting, and to Mayor Menard who came out at 7 AM to start the race. Thanks to MMBA for renting the Park for the BBQ, which was appreciated by all the racers, as they got to meet each other–often for the first time.

Racers filled over fifty Merritt motel rooms the night before, and many will be back to enjoy the hospitality they experienced as well as the mountain biking on our great trails. A win for all.

Ride On!

Guest Blog post (and ride) by Darch Oborne

Executive Director of Merritt Mountain Bike Association

Thanks, Darch! Epic effort!

For more on Darch, and his contributions to our biking experiences in the Nicola Valley, click here.

And for those of you who would like to get on board this sport…

From the site Bikepacking: Simply put, bikepacking is the synthesis of mountain biking and minimalist camping. It evokes the freedom of multi-day backcountry hiking, but with the range and thrill of riding a mountain bike. It’s about exploring places less traveled, both near and far, via singletrack trails, gravel, and abandoned dirt roads, carrying only essential gear. Ride, eat, sleep, repeat, enjoy!

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Open Mic Nights in Merritt, Canada

Open Mic Nights in Merritt, Canada

Open Mic’Apalooza Tonight!

Since last summer, Merritt, BC, has been hosting Open Mic Nights at the Kekuli Cafe.

Open Mic Nights

Kekuli Cafe

There is a wealth of talent in the Nicola Valley. And we wanted a place for the locals and visitors to enjoy some of the musical talent. Our focus is family friendly, encouraging and accepting of all skill levels, and we continue by donation.

We are also supported by the Nicola Valley Arts Council, who contributed funds for a sound system just the right size for our Kekuli venue. 

And our first year of Open Mic Nights has been a great success…

Beginning of Open Mic Nights

Open Mic Nights

Robert Bertrand

The provenance of this Open Mic experience began in the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame, on Quilchena Avenue. During the winter and spring of 2017, several of us encouraged musicians to perform there on Friday afternoons.

Robert Bertrand, newly local musician extraordinaire, came every week and was at times joined by other musicians. Guitars, banjos, violins, harmonica, and piano were played by Tina Vesper, Anna-Marie Forest, Willard Wallace, and others, both locals and visitors passing through. Musicians played on their own, or together.

The audience on those Friday afternoons was spare but enthusiastic. People showed up now and then, but not enough to make the performances more than a work out for the musicians, with a few coins in the donation box barely covering local transportation. And plans to put in speakers for the street, to lure people in, did not manifest in time to keep the afternoons going. How to continue, and in what form, was under discussion by those of us who loved the live performances.

On one Friday afternoon, Jeremy Ball took a seat in one of the empty chairs, while Robert Bertrand played.

And in a discussion with Jeremy, Robert, and the few of us there in the CCMHF, the seeds of our Open Mic took hold.

Jeremy’s personal initiatives, with collaborators, then carried the thoughts of an open mic night to fruition.

Mr. Mic, Open Mic Host

Open Mic Nights

Jeremy Ball

Jeremy Ball has hosted the weekly Open Mic Nights on almost every single occasion since it began last August 2107.

A local himself, returning after he left as a young man to explore the world, Jeremy had musical experience, as a singer and a band member. His career as an educator was apparent in his hosting: managing the room with humor filled firmness, filling the gaps on a slow night with English, and other, language stories, and quizzes about music and local events.

And Jeremy sang a variety of genre- from opera, to Moon River to Coldplay’s The Scientist, either alone or in duets.

But perhaps Mr Mic’s most satisfying “job” at our Open Mic Nights, was bringing a variety of performances together to fill an entertaining evening of music and spoken word.

Local Performers at Open Mic Nights

OM has several regular performers. Robert Bertrand comes often. He is a stellar musician, performing

blues, rock and country with energy, skill, and experience.

  • Willard Wallace covers favorites from Neil Young, the Beatles and more. (And he has contributed
    Open Mic Nights

    Willard Wallace

    to OM’s success, even providing his own sound system when he had a glitch with ours.)
  • Al and Denise bring a repartee that is as entertaining as their music.
  • Anita Wessel reads us amusing stories from entertaining authors.
  • The Strange Companions are a favorite when they come.
  • Michelle Etchart sings blues, show tunes and Basque honor songs.
  • Quade Lindgren shows up to perform often, with his own songs and favorites.
  • The younger generation of Lonsdales sing their own songs for us when they are in town.
  • And Jim West has been a consistent presence over the last couple of months.

We have dance, poetry, and music of such a variety, from Strings Plus duets, to opera, to bluegrass, to rap, to drum and flute music from First Nations.

We love our locals showing up to share with us.

Open Mic Nights

Joey Lonsdale

Performers from Outside the Nicola Valley

Also, Open Mic Nights has had a stream of musicians and performers from other towns, other countries….

Sometimes it is arranged, like Jim and Carol, coming from the Shuswap. This duo runs a Coffee House themselves near Celista. And as Carol was a local herself for years, the night attracted friends in the audience and musicians alike.

Sometimes it is serendipity, with a musician passing through town who shows up on an Open Mic Night.

Open Mic nights

Visitors passing through

One night a musician couple stopped for gas at the Seven-Eleven across the street from the Kekuli Cafe and saw our OM sign. They spent the evening with us.

On our opening night, Blues pianist Murray Porter, Juno Award Winner, was in town filming a documentary with students at our local post-secondary institute, NVIT. He showed up and played on a borrowed guitar.

We love the visiting musicians. They provide variety and buzz.

It’s Bobby Garcia!

Open Mic Nights

Bobby Garcia

And we love the nights that our own local stars show up, like Willard Wallace, Robert Bertrand, Paul Thomson, and of course, country and western singer Bobby Garcia!

Bobby has lived in the valley all his life, and has played music for most of it.

Bobby Garcia and Six More Strings has just released a new album. From Bobby’s Facebook page, “My Cd is ready! These Boots is Available on ITunes, Spotify, Amazon, Google Play, and I have hard copies available for sale! Thank your for your support! Stream my music!…12 songs…”

 

Open Mic Nights

Robert Bertrand and Bobby Garcia

Open Mic Night Fans

As with all events like Open Mic Nights, our audience is what makes it ongoing. And just as we have

Open Mic Nights

Open Mic Music fans Doug and Donna

regular performers, we have regular attendees. Like Donna and Doug who love all music events in town and rarely miss ours. And Mary Dickie, in her 90s, who arrives on her own or with friends. Another dozen or so show up week after week. All ages… 

Sure we have quiet nights. But we also have standing room only nights!

Open Mic Nights has its own Facebook page, where you can see what we have been up to, and what is coming next. We have a featured artist weekly and usually book them several weeks in advance.

Future of Open Mic Nights

Our host, and all-round talent, Jeremy Ball, is moving on to other adventures out of the valley. He will be missed. And missed a lot, by those of us who work with him and enjoy his many qualities.

One of Mr. Mic’s last songs says it all…

“It’s such a shame for us to part
Nobody said it was easy
No one ever said it would be this hard”

Open Mic Nights will carry on.

The Nicola Valley Community Arts Council continues its support. Kekuli Cafe is keeping the doors open.

Open Mic Nights

Elijah Stirling-Mack, Kekuli Staff

The amazing staff at Kekuli will still be there. The Open Mic volunteers will continue to plan and implement the evening. And Denise Kearney (of Al and Denise) has committed to hunting down revolving hosts and featured artists.

And we have a young crew of workers for the summer months…including Amrit Ahuja, an auditory engineer with a future in sound and music. Hand him a mic!

Open Mic Nights…an ongoing successful program of music and spoken word in Merritt, Canada, in the beautiful Nicola Valley.

Keep coming! Good music is planned for the weeks ahead.

Come on in, if your haven’t stopped in yet.

From out of town? Make Merritt a destination stop, there’s lots to do here! And be sure your plan around a Friday night!

See you there!

Open Mic Nights

Open Mic Nights Audience

Jano

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Merritt Summer Nights Market

Merritt Summer Nights Market

“People like to have a place to be able to shop unique items and congregate.”

Starting Friday July 6th, 2018

Small town summer nights markets…… if you haven’t experienced at least one, you should! StartingMerritt Summer Nights Market Friday July 6th, 2018 there will be more than ever to experience in the Nicola Valley. We want something new and exciting. Something to do on Friday nights. Merritt Summer Nights Market! A place to congregate and encourage business, and what better place than right down town Merritt?

An opportunity for local downtown and home businesses

There are a lot of small home businesses in Merritt, but not many platforms to sell their products. In the day and age of social media, it is easier than ever to get your business out there for free. But really, where else can you go to sell your products? Sure there is the odd craft fair. Maybe an event every so often like Canada Day in the Park, the Garlic Festival or the Fall Fair. But other than that, where do you go?

Merritt Summer Nights Market

Looking east down the stroll

The reality is, people like to have a place to be able to shop unique items and congregate. To take a little cash and maybe buy themselves something you can’t buy in a general store. Maybe it is just a garage sale antique, or something nostalgic from their childhood.

For me I like to find unique gifts for Birthday’s, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day etc. I like to find unique jewelry for myself. I love my “real” jewelry, but I am a lover of “junk jewelry” and hand made items. I like things that are different, often statement pieces. I often find it is the cheap earrings that I just happened to stumble upon on some crazy clearance that often are the ones people admire most!  

And there’s the food…

Then there is the smell of a Summer Night Market. You know the one- the fried onions, pulled pork,

Merritt Summer Nights Market

Will there be fresh berry pie?

donairs, hotdogs, and mini donuts. The smell of fried food we all know we shouldn’t eat, but secretly relish in enjoying.

We are inviting vendors for different food. And for now we know we have…home baked goods. Love home baked goods. The banana bread, zucchini loaf, cookies, pies and squares we all take home in two’s so we can eat one to ourselves, and serve the other to guests so they think we baked (or at least I do LOL).

Stroll down the middle of the road.

Merritt Summer Nights Market

Cars now…but wait!

There is something to be said about being able to stroll down the middle of a road. One that is otherwise occupied by cars. That feeling of seeing the road as something different than a path for cars. It is now a place to greet people, stop and have a chat. Seeing the businesses that line the sidewalks with their doors open letting the cool Merritt Summer Nights Market air in after the sweltering summer heat has eased off. I don’t know about you, but I always feel more prone to walking in to a business with the door wide open. Almost like they are inviting you to come in and browse without pressure. Somehow it seems friendlier, and I find it’s amazing how such a small gesture subconsciously makes you want to go inside.

 

Let’s get this going! Participate in the Merritt Summer Nights Market!

We are just starting out. We’ll see if we can attract all the amazing small businesses, nonprofit orgs, the delicious food vendors and music to make this a small town success in our town of Merritt. Join us in making this Friday night event a success!

I invite you, I encourage you, to come down to Quilchena Avenue and enjoy a Merritt Summer Night Market. Shop all the local businesses, come for the food, the fresh produce, and some great finds, but stay for the experience. The experience of the Nicola Valley!

See you there!

 

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Experience Merritt BC Living

Experience Merritt BC Living

“The diversity keeps life and living exciting!”

Experience the “Dream” of small town living in the heart of the amazing Nicola Valley, Merritt BC

Want to experience living in a small town? Wondered if would be all that you have dreamt it would be? Well I am happy to share with you the reasons I love Merritt BC living. 

Merritt BC living, in the Nicola Valley, has given me the chance to experience  amazing diversity with the people, the colorful cultures, the landscape, and many experiences beyond any other community I have lived in!

We are nestled in the Nicola Valley, with a charming community, Merritt. And we are also IMHO blessed to be surrounded by first Nations Bands and can experience all of the wonders of their culture people and history. Much more on that to coming blogs. I will just say, if you haven’t been to a POWWOW or a first nations event, get out and go!

There are winding rivers,  sparkling lakes, beautiful creeks, natural river pools to swim and fish, amazing wildlife and forests spread over this entire valley with landscapes from wide open grasslands to dense pine and fir forests.

And it’s not just our location, our diversity in nature and landscapes, it’s our people! And there is about 8000 of us!

We have the best People!

People who love small towns like me!  People who have had family ties go back generations! Like the Pooley’s, the Voght’s, the Guichon’s, the Garcia’s. Many people I meet tell me that they were born and raised here. Or they moved away for work or to raise a family, and then they returned.

If you spend time living here to experience the beautiful community and the surrounding country it grows on you! And you grow on Merritt! People get to know you, you grow roots. You can’t help it! It just happens! It is hard to go anywhere where you don’t run into a friend or acquaintance.

We have are very own “mystery masked dancer” and a grapevine!

Merritt BC living

Experience Merritt masked dancer

The diversity here keeps life and living exciting!

Like our masked dancer! He has become famous in Merritt! Everyone is talking about him, and he makes (most of us ) smile. Who is he? Why does he sing and dance with a creepy mask on in public! Stay tuned for more to come as we “unmask” the mystery! 

We have a grapevine! A Facebook grapevine that sometimes takes on a life of it’s own. Do you want to know who is doing what, where, or when in town? Do you want to know instant gossip? This is the place to be! Check the grapevine! It really brings out the diversity I am talking about! There are 6626 members. Join in or simply watch! Believe it or don’t. Your call.

I love the grapevine because it is a place for people of Merritt to express themselves. Also because it is amazing to watch the town’s people come together in tragic times, like the fire last year of an apartment building where so many people lost everything they owned! Love that I live in community of such caring and generous people!

Experience Outdoor Adventure 

I can say for certain that Adventure and Play go hand in hand for me! It is never-ending!  Of course you may have heard Merritt’s mantra? “A Lake A Day As Long As You Stay” Well, that is a true story. My plan is to discover them all! I want to share it here!  I love exploring! See a back road, take it. See a fork in the road, take both! You will discover the most magnificent beauty in the world! IMHO!

Merritt BC living is a different experience every day.  My best times are when I take my old 4×4 jeep and find the “roads less traveled”.  Most often I feel rewarded with something that ignites the senses. A big healthy  mama bear with cubs, a gigantic moose, colorful wildflower fields, or even just a glimpse of landscapes as seen from a perspective I have not experienced before.

“An Adventure a day, as long as you stay” is a good mantra we use for Merritt too.

Experience Diversity in  Music and Arts

Music Festivals, Art, Musicians and Artists. I must declare that we have the best of the best!  In 2003 we have the honor of being named Country Music Capital of Canada. Make sure to visit the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame when you are here. Music and Art are often combined together in events like the Bass Coast Music and Arts Festival or the Rockin River Country Music Fest.

I have been to these and they are just an exciting part of Merritt BC living. No words can describe the experience of actually being in the sun drenched valley with the Coldwater River flowing through your toes as you await the stars to arrive! Yes the twinkling kind in the sky and the Star artists for the shows! It is without a doubt, a natural stage for a festival that would rank best in the world! New Festivals arriving this year too! 

Merritt BC Living

Experience Music Festivals like these people at Rockin River Music Fest

Merritt BC Living

Or these people at Bass Coast

The Arts are everywhere!

Of course in the heritage Court House Arts Gallery, the walls of the buildings all around town, in the local cafes and our amazing Art Walk each July to showcase Local Artists in businesses around town! “Take a walk on the art side” when in Merritt BC.

Our Art Walk is a summer feature in Merritt, just like the music festivals!

Now, those are a lot of reasons I love living in Merritt BC!

If you have dreamt of small town living, come and see what Merritt BC living is like!

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Merritt Canada Art Walk 2018

Merritt Canada Art Walk 2018

“If you want to collect the beads for a bracelet, come early!”

Time to get out and see our local artists! July 3rd to July 31st.

We are excited to begin Art Walk 2018 in downtown Merritt! We want to show off the local art and culture. Our art walk this year has 19 artists Art Walk participating in several mediums.

  • painting on canvas
  • stone painting
  • tile painting
  • photography 
  • mixed media 
  • fabric art 
  • woodwork 
  • and pebble art! 

Seventeen businesses, services, and our Courthouse Arts Gallery are hosting the artists and supporting both the Chamber of Commerce and the Nicola Valley Community Arts Council.

In its sixth year, the Art Walk attracts community members and visitors alike. Our community is introduced to artists new to the local scene and well-known favorites. And some locals pop in to see businesses they haven’t visited yet.

Our visitors enjoy a walk around our downtown, seeing both sides-art and business.

Art Walks are everywhere!

One of the benefits of our Merritt Art Walk, is hearing the stories of other Art Walks elsewhere! From big to small, the opportunity to connect art to the workings of a town or city is a big attraction. Some of the people we meet are Art Walk buffs, and travel to different communities to take in the art scene.

There are communities with themes, like local landscapes. And contests for prizes, from the businesses for art pieces. And event hook ups like art auctions and dinners.

We love to visit Art Walks when we are visiting other towns, but our favorite is our own, in Merritt, Canada.

How about a Bead Bracelet incentive?

Art WalkIf you have heard, or read this in time, or if you participated locally last year, you know that 100 lucky people can buy a silver bracelet at the first stop at Community Futures on Voght, on the first day (or until they are gone). And at each of the locations they receive a bead, or charm, to add to the bracelet. When you are done they have a beautiful charm bracelet memento for the art walk.

I’ve seen all the 2018 beads and they are something! From the medical symbol (the caduceus) to a tiny cup and saucer, to a t shirt bead, Jeanine at Vision Quest has done a great job matching up beads to the businesses they are located in.

One, a rainbow bead, even symbolizes a town issue from several months ago, making the bracelet a topical one for 2018.

So, Who’s Matched Up?

Art Walk

Joan Jennings

1. Joan Jennings, a mixed media art quilter, is showing her new work at Community Futures. She loves to experiment with surface design variations, and try new things in her art form. Joan was inspired by her travels this year, and her art is colorful and lively!

2. Joel Reid, a prolific local artist, has his work in the office at the Civic Centre. He has a unique art style, with a graphic quality and signature of urban graffiti. He works in charcoal, acrylics, oils, and spray paint. Joel is also working on several community art pieces we hope will be on display soon.

3. Cindilla Trent, Pat Tombe, and Bev Veale are showing 3 kinds of art at the Courthouse Arts Gallery– fabric art, unique wooden bowl, and paintings respectively. Cindilla’s detailed and beautiful quilts are just one of her art forms. She also works with clay, mosaics, and beads (in the Gallery Shop). Pat Tombe creates unique wooden pieces- bowls, plates, and hollow forms. He adds embellishments such as carving, pyrography, dye, paint, and texturing. Our Bev Veale, painting in the valley for decades, and active for years in our arts community, has a summer collection of paintings and drawings on the Gallery Walls.

Despite the Odds

Art Walk

Wyatt Collins

4. Wyatt Collins, a 20-year old aspiring Nlaka’pamux artist, is at the Kekuli Cafe. Wyatt, despite having autism, is overcoming the odds and has discovered his unique style in Abstract Expressionism. He uses fluid form and drip painting techniques. This show includes some new pictograph work.

5. Glenn and Susan Parkinson, creators of glass art images, are at the Interior Savings Credit Union. They work in a variety of styles, including fractured glass mosaics, leaded stained glass, and fused glass.

6. Vicki Strom, a weaver, spinner, and potter, is displaying her creative garment weaving at the Community Policing Office. Vicki has studied the Sauri weaving art form in Japan, from the master Kenzo Jo, and brings the concept to her own pieces.

Connection with Nature

Art Walk

Natalie Rostad Desjarlais

7. Natalie Rostad-Desjarlais, a mixed media artist working with stone, natural pigments and canvas

painting, is at Earthwalker Spiritual Shop. Through her stone paintings and work, Natalie shows her connection with nature. She harvests and makes her own pigments from earth and stone, as well as using acrylics.

8. Fran McMurchy, a painter working primarily in watercolor, is at Espresso, Etc. Fran loves the feel of the watercolor and its soft color layers, but also uses acrylics with its bold and intense colors. She enjoys using both mediums.

9. Gale Simpson, a paint artist inspired on her walks and hikes. is at Lynda’s Cafe. Trees, birds, and animals fill her acrylic paintings. Gale, always interested in painting, began taking art classes when she retired.

10. Lori Desy and Jill Fitzer, with their popular pebble art, are at Black’s Pharmacy. They started making pictures for family and friends as gifts. Collecting their materials by hand. Jill and Lori spend hours lakeshores, river banks, and seaside beaches.

11. Renee Bauwens, a local painter using acrylics and watercolors, is at Spaner and Webb. Renee teaches art to children, initiating the Art Buds class at the Gallery. She also is creating digital paintings as home decor art to be sold internationally online.

Artists as Entrepreneurs

Art Walk

Pauline Ouellet

12. Pauline Ouellet, an artist working in oil, acrylic, colored ink and watercolor, is at Vision Quest. Her intimacy with Canadian landscapes evident in her work, Pauline has developed a passion for the mountains, valleys, and seascapes of British Columbia. She also makes hand painted jewelry.

13. Mordichai, musician, filmmaker, and artist, is at Breathe Bikes. Mordichai was the editorial cartoonist for the old Merritt News. Currently Mordichai enjoys multi -media expressions, including digital and oil painting, and things that fall in between.

14. Jean Kiegerl, an artist working with watercolor, acrylics and oils, is at Home Hardware. She finds an amazing array of colors in everyday objects. She says that educating her mind to see and then create that vision artistically is a never-ending cycle. Jean often gives classes for painters, and teaches drawing.

Capturing Journeys and Life Experiences

Art Walk

Faye Gustafson

15. Faye Gustafson, an experienced artist working in oil on canvas, is at Purity Feed. She paints people,

animals, and symbolic objects within their environment to capture their journeys and life experiences. Her goal is to expose the emotion and character that is daily life. Faye often teaches art to children and is giving a local painting summer camp at the Gallery.

16. Angelina Brooymans, a nature photographer, is at Save On Foods. Black and white images are her favorite medium, but she does color as well. Angelina also produces museum quality giclee prints, and helps other local artists by photographing and printing their art.

17. Diane Kiernan‘s work, creating beauty through painting, is at Nicola Valley Museum and Archives. Diane lived a creative life, from large murals to intricate tole painting, fabric art and jewelry making, gardening and decorating homes. Diane’s Art Walk show this year is curated by her daughter, Stephanie Kiernan.

Merritt Art Walk 2018

“I’m guided by my objective to leave parts of this world more loved, and more beautiful, and to leave a gentle footprint on precious Mother Earth”. Diane Kiernan

Art Walk

Diane Kiernan

We probably won’t be bringing a stylish red car like the one Diane is seen with here. Most Art Walkers put on their comfy shoes and head out with friends. Three of our locations are cafe’s, so there are even refreshments to buy along the way, while you are enjoying the art! Support our local artists, and businesses!

Come and join us on our Merritt Art Walk 2018!

And if you want to collect the beads for a bracelet, come early! Starts Tuesday, July 3rd.

 

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Things to Do for Seniors in Merritt

Things to Do for Seniors in Merritt

“I’m a senior on the go, never knowing what I’ll decide to do next.”

What an adventure! Starting a blog will be easy and fun, I thought. Right? Well, it’s not just about writing. It’s about things to do for seniors in Merritt!

Things To Do For Seniors In Merritt:

-the Seniors Spring dance

-the “new”  path along Voght Street

-a visit to the Community Garden behind the hospital

The Seniors Centre was not somewhere I had been before.  Honestly, I thought it would be a place where really old people sat around, played cards and gossiped.  Not so!!!  When I walked in, there were a number of women around tables decorating hats.  When I asked why they were decorating them they told me it was for the spring hat dance contest on Saturday night.  Now, I have to admit that I haven’t been to a Saturday night dance for umpteen years, so I decided I needed to go.

Seniors on the Go in Merritt

 

The Spring Hat Dance was a lot of fun

May 12/18     Two smiling, beautifully hatted ladies greeted me at the door and took my ticket.  Punch, both alcoholic and non, sat on a sideboard where we could help ourselves along with coffee and water. I enjoyed the three- piece band (music by Randy Chillihitzi) that played good old country dance music, a bit of rock n roll and tossed in a few modern tunes to boot. Since I grew up with these songs it was a trip down memory lane for me.  One thing for sure, we seniors really know how to dance and wow can some of us rock!

Seniors on the Go in Merritt

The food was tasty pot- luck appetizers.  Yumm.

Would you believe admission was only $10.00?

Will I go again?  You betcha!

For more information about what real seniors do and to find out what other fun is planned including:

  • swimming
  • shuffleboard
  • exercise
  • cribbage
  • carpet bowling
  • bridge
  • floor curling
  • horseshoes
  • pot luck suppers

Phone:  250-378-3763

Email:  msca2@telus.net

Have yourselves as much fun as I did.

 

Enjoy A Simple Walk – The Path

On the way up to the community garden I remembered reading an article in the Merritt Herald  about the new path that ran along the edge of Voght Street.  I was thinking it might be fun to walk there, particularly on a hot day.  It looked shady, cool and interesting- especially from the inside of the car as we flew by, always a quick way to check out new stuff.Seniors on the Go in Merritt

So here I am on the wide, paved, smooth path with greenery, trees and some recognizable plants at the edges of the pavement.  The sun is smiling down on me, a few fluffy white clouds are floating by and a cool breeze is blowing away the heat.  Life is good.  Some wild pea plants that grow back a little from the edge looked tempting so I confess to pulling a few shoots for a nibble.  They taste exactly like fresh peas if you get them very young and their little purple flowers are good too.  Just be absolutely sure you know what you’re eatin

If you make a mistake, the path starts across the street from the hospital.

Well!  The path went only about ½ a k and ends too near Mickey D’s for my own good.  Still, it is pretty and the peas were tasty.  Enjoy!

 

Fellow Seniors – Dig This! The Community Garden

Come with me today to visit Merritt’s community garden. It sits quietly behind the hospital in an alfalfa field, with parking on Reid to avoid crowding the hospital parking lot.

Seniors on the Go in Merritt

We are in the process of starting some new projects.  By the end of summer we will have:

  • a gazebo
  • a pollinator garden
  • a possible beehive
  • planters for the food bank and soup kitchen
  • a public area under the sign for people to pick a few samples

Most of the above are started already, the food bank and soup kitchen gardens are planted and our personal gardens are growing well.   I feel happy to see the tiny plants popping up out of the ground despite the cold, hot, rainy, dry weather we are getting.  Very unpredictable this year.

Visitors are always welcome

Anyone who happens to be working that day will be glad to show you around and tell you how we got started.  The part of the garden outside the fence is for public use so pick a few strawberries, snip some chamomile for tea or try the swiss chard.

The gazebo is a cool place to have lunch on a hot day, not only for the shade it provides but because there is usually a cool breeze too.  Please bring your own chairs and enjoy some peaceful down time.

By July, the height of the blooming season, the pollinator garden will be gorgeous.  Right now we are discussing which plants would give the best results and make the bees and other pollinators happy.

To protect our little plots we do request that visitors leave their pets outside the garden and thank you for  not smoking in the area.

If you would like more information or would like to join the community garden contact us at:

nicolavalleycommunitygardens@gmail.com

I’m a senior on the go, never knowing what I’ll decide to do next.  And with lots of things for seniors to do in Merritt, what would you like to do?