Events

Nicola Valley Pro Rodeo

Celebrating 60 Years

Dedicated to celebrating and preserving the western culture and way of life 

Experience Nicola Valley

Rodeo action at the Nicola Valley Pro Rodeo – Merritt Pro Photo

Our western culture and lifestyle is important to us.  Not only has the Nicola Valley Rodeo Association (NVRA) spent the last 60 years celebrating and preserving this culture , it also hosts a wide range of equine and livestock events. Furthermore, the NVRA hosts everything from professional rodeos to 4-H and high school events! The Nicola Valley Professional Rodeo takes place on the September long weekend every year. For 60 years, our Nicola Valley has welcomed competitive professionals. They are now vying for $20,000 in prize money. This is  the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association’s (CPRA) Nicola Valley Pro Rodeo.

60th Annual Nicola Valley Pro Rodeo

September 1 -2 , 2018.  Celebrate 60 years with us!  

We offer close-to-the-action covered grandstand seating, free parking, food concessions and beer gardens. We also include crafters, saddle makers and vendors selling all things uniquely western.  In addition, come watch the professional cowboys and cowgirls  fight for a position at the Canadian Finals Rodeo (CFR). The Labour Day Weekend is busy in Merritt, not only with our Annual Nicola Valley Pro Rodeo but also with the Fall Fair.   Come visit our valley this September long weekend and celebrate 60 great years with us!

 Performance Times:

Experience Nicola Valley

Bronc Riding – Merritt Pro Photo

  • Saturday, Sept 1st @1 pm
  • Sunday, Sept 2nd @ 1 pm

 2018 Rodeo attractions:

  • Wacey Mulvahill Wild Pony Events
  • Stock saddle bronc and peewee barrel racing
  • Beer Gardens, food vendors and onsite concession

Admission:

Tickets available in advance at Merritt Summer Nights Market at the gate, or by contacting: 

Melissa Dinsdale: 250-315-9305,  or  Haley Rutherford: 250-378-5059

Pricing:

  • Kids 10 & Under: Free 
    When accompanied by an adult (maximum two children per adult) 
  • Students & Seniors: $13
  • Seniors over 80 – Free
  • Adults: $15 
  • Admission:  CASH ONLY- No dogs allowed

Bus service is available to the rodeo grounds. See the schedule below for full details. Bus schedule

What you can find at the grounds

Experience Nicola Valley

Out of the chutes – Merritt Pro Photo

The Nicola Valley Rodeo Association operates and maintains grounds that host not only the annual professional rodeo but also the little britches rodeo and everything in between. This venue is  perfect for equine and outdoor events. It offers stalls, bucking chutes, announcers, box seating and even a covered grandstand.

Rodeo History

Rodeos in the Nicola Valley area started with people just wanting to have fun! We still do!

July 1st always brought out crowds eager to see the Cowboy Race, Hurdle Race and the Ladies’ Race.  not to mention any other entertainment on offer!

Victoria Day was always a major celebration. It included horse racing, gymkhana events, athletic sports and of course,  the big parade! There were marching bands, floats and huge crowds!

Lower Nicola offered special train fares for any events held there. Of course, people took full advantage of these deals and lined up for tickets! They looked forward to these early stampedes for months ahead!  They also prepared for them months in advance! The annual Bachelors’ Ball was the gala event!  Personal invitations were sent out to the valley’s single ladies who hoped to find that “special someone”.

It began as a Stampede

The Rodeo began its life as a Stampede 1934.  Workers scrambled to build corrals and chutes right in Voght Park. Zack Walker became manager, Leo Morrissey secretary-treasurer. Hans Richter brought a string of bucking horses from Kamloops Reserve to challenge the riders. The real action took place on August 3 and 4, 1934.  John Guichon, Harry Ferguson, Sid Brueke and Tom Shuter were the judges presenting prizes.  Winners took home prizes up to $100 for bronco riding, steer wrestling and other events.

Storekeepers decorated their windows, restaurants offered ‘Stampede Specials’.  Pioneer families held mini reunions.  And, of course there was the giant parade! No one missed that unless they were unconscious!

Advertising for the 1935 event at the Voght Park Stampede Grounds guaranteed “a fast, snappy exhibition” as well as “a clear view from the grandstand”. Admission was 50 cents. Of course, the parade was as big a draw as the stampede.

In 1941, the Stampede was cancelled due to the second world war. It was revived in 1959 by the Nicola Valley Riding and Roping Club. Vern (Blondie) Ellingson, Gordon Walker and Ted Spencer took the reins  in 1966 and ran the Stampede as a private enterprise. The organization and volunteers helped wherever they could.

The Stampede soon grew beyond an amateur rodeo and attracted high calibre professional cowboys. Soon, it became a 3-day Labour Day weekend event. When Ted Spencer was killed in an accident in 1969, his widow, Larein, handed the venture over to the community.

The Rodeo Association is formed

The Nicola Valley Rodeo Association was formed and then renamed the NV Memorial Rodeo Association in honour of Ted Spencer. John Collett managed it over the next decade. Furthermore, with a lot of donated material and man hours, the rodeo arena was erected at Collettville.

Scaled back to two days, the 1978 rodeo saw 196 competitors, including 46 of the top 50 Canadian Rodeo Cowboys. They were  vying for $10,000 in prizes!

The 1981 joint Rodeo Fall Fair land purchase started the task of building new facilities.  All levels of government and many local businesses contributed. 1982 saw the first official Rodeo Fair Days.

This Labour Day Weekend we will enjoy the Nicola Valley Fall Fair in addition to the Nicola Valley Pro Rodeo, and the parade! 

Street Market Art – Merritt, BC 

Community Art in Merritt, Canada

Youth Take Leadership and make Summer Nights Street Market Art

Street Market Art

Amy Maclaren’s creative flower crown

Street Market Art is happening every Friday night for the whole summer. Amy Maclaren has laid out a plan for character creation – decorating crowns and hats, belts and sashes, masks, and even shoe fun. And her fellow workers, Amrit Ahuja, Felize Omori, and Alexia Clark are a part of the action on the downtown Quilchena block in Merritt Canada.

The Nicola Valley Community Arts Council is employing these four young people through the Youth Employment Program. So this summer, the arts community has help with all kinds of projects and programs!

From the Street Market, to Open Mic Nights, to Corbett Lake Paint Outs this young group is pitching in to make our summer events successful.

 

From Prep to the Market

Street Market Art

Alexia and Felize create flower crowns

First comes the idea of setting up an NVCAC gazebo at the Friday Summer Nights Market, and enlivening it with activities.

With Amy leading the way for this arts project, the activities planned are all about costume and character building. As a student in Costume Design, Amy’s creative direction includes everything from coloured sketches to rainbowsequins.

Amy sources her materials for the market activities in town, materials accessible to everyone who lives here or are visiting the Nicola Valley.

 

Street Market Art

Everything tied or taped down

Gazebo and other necessities are gathered and set up on Quilchena Avenue, the main block. Our first night’s set up was a gusty wind challenge. Duct tape and bricks were in place before flowers and feathers. 

Merritt is a windy town, so the locals are prepared.

But after our first night, we are adding a few bungee cords and table clips to our bin.

The YEP workers get everything set up, and then two of them leave to set up and help at Open Mic. Amrit works the sound and Felize and Alexia welcome the audience there at the Kekuli Cafe..

 

Neighbours on the Street Market

There is room for over 20 vendors or non-profits to set up on the town’s busy block. From a big food truck to gazebos, to small tables, the block is almost full. The Farmer’s market is to the west of us. And a variety of displays is to our east. 

Janet Roth is overseeing the Love to Dance Academy’s table. She is there to let people know what a great dance studio we have in town. And encourage memberships in the Love to Dance Society that supports it. 

Street Market Art

Janet Roth at the Love to Dance Academy table

Charlene Lively has set up the Pro Rodeo display, with information and some news about the High School event that was taking place just that weekend.

Street Market Art

Charlene Lively at the Pro Rodeo display

There are jewelry tables and displays of woodwork by local craftsman.

Tina has set up her Humble Hobo Hotdogs Stand at the end of the block. And there is a new Curried Chicken food truck that has line ups for their generous portions.

And there are baked good tables to pick up something sweet.

Music at the Friday Nights Market

Street Market Art

The Strange Companions

We can hear country music coming from the speakers on the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame, right on Quilchena Avenue, our main street.

And if we keep going, more music…

A favourite local group, the Strange Companions, have committed to several Friday nights at the street market for the summer. They have created a board of info and calls to action, like “Go on over to Open Mics…” Read while you stop to listen!

This group has been playing together for years, with musicians and singers coming and going. We never know who is going to show up when we know The Strange Companions are playing… 

 

Back at the NVCAC Gazebo

Street Market Art

Felize and Amy help kids fancy up at the Arts table

Amy and the Youth Employment workers lay out the week’s art activity. Their first work was fancy name or character cards creation with foam letters, sparkles, and shape stickers.

The second week flower and birds were provided for crowns and embellishments like coloured feathers and foam sparkle stickers were attached to cowboy hats

Last week, the YEP workers got busy with face painting and created characters for the children coming by.

What’s up this week?

Support from the NVCAC Directors and Members

Beside our art activity table, the NVCAC Directors set up a membership table under our gazebo, ready to encourage passersby to join our Arts Council and support the arts in all of the the Nicola Valley. 

Street Market Art

Mischelle and Gale discuss the Street Market action and the dancing nearby.

Two active members, Director of Programs Mischelle Pierce, and artist and Gallery supporter, Gale Simpson, discuss all the arts action happening in town!

This week, right at the end of our Friday Nights Street Market, some good music and dancing is happening at the Adelphi Hotel. Some of our great country and western musicians play there regularly. And people come from far and wide to hear them and get up on the dance floor.

This weekend there was a group from Arizona dancing up a storm. Not sure if they were heading out to the Rockin River Fest event in the Valley. Or if they just staed in town and enjoyed the action right here on the main street.

 

Visitors from Hobart, Tasmania

Street Market Art

Jane, Jasper with mom Lani, and Jean

It’s Jasper! My grandson from down under. Jasper is chatting it up with Jane Bartle, NVCAC Treasurer, mom Lani, and president Jean Kiegerl. I think Jean is selling Jasper an Arts Council membership.

And I know Jasper ended up with enough RCMP Musical Ride tickets to take all of us! 

Jasper and family weren’t the only visitors from out of town. We have travelers weekly, often from Alberta, the States, Europe, coming to experience the Nicola Valley.

Join us for some  Street Market Art!

Come down on Friday nights 6-9pm. See what’s up, buy or make an embellished cowboy hat or flower crown. Check the current week’s activity!

Street Market Art

Wearing their embellished cowboy hats

Sashes? Shoes art? What Street Market Art are we up to?

It’s usually free, with people making donations to help us buy the next week’s activity materials….

Go to Nicola Valley Arts Council Facebook page to check out the next event!

And be sure to come down and see us, listen to some music, grab some food, stop and chat. Make yourself a crown!

Jano, Arts and Culture Blogger

 

 

Street Market Art

Vanessa Trenholm led a community canvas painting again!

 

Coffee House Music in Merritt, Canada

Another Great Thing for Seniors to Do in the Nicola Valley

Coffee House Music – On to the Future

Remember the old underground Coffee House of the 60’s and 70’s? Come with me and enjoy all the nostalgic fun of that era minus the toke smoke and obscure poetry.

No sneaking around in dank, dark cellars either. This Coffee House is in the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame at 2025 Quilchena Avenue, smack in the heart of downtown Merritt! It’s a spacious well- lit venue with great acoustics and good lighting. Add live, mostly country, music, a mix of songs from earlier times, some blues, a bit of sing-along fun and of course, coffee. Welcome to the future of the 1960’s coffee house, Merritt style.

Coffee House

Coffee House Jam in Merritt, Canada

On June 23rd, we went to check it out. Not only did we have a fantastic time, we also met several old friends and made a few new ones. Imagine my surprise when I looked around the room to discover not only the expected seniors, but also a family with five (very well-behaved) little boys and a good mix of younger people. It seems that everyone loves coffee house music!

Coffee House Entertainment

Al Horne and his wife Denise hosted, and they entertained us royally! Everyone enjoyed their music. We seniors because we remembered most of the “oldies” they sang and could sing along. The kids caught on to the chorus quickly.

They especially loved the hand clapping and foot stomping bits.

I so love to watch Denise and Al perform. A sweetness shows between them as they peek at each other for cues or just flash a quick, encouraging grin back and forth. Their give and take banter always gets a laugh too. They offer us these naturally, warm, “feel good” moments without even realizing they are doing it! It’s obvious to everyone that they’re having as good a time as we are. Makes the coffee house atmosphere so friendly and personal.

Coffee House Feature Act – Bobby Garcia

Every coffee house needs a feature act and Bobby Garcia certainly delivers! In person he

Coffee House

Bobby Garcia

seems quiet, polite and a little shy, but on stage he sure can sing up a storm! Backed by Herb MacLellan, we were surprised and delighted to hear this young man sing the oldies that we grew up with, as well as some modern country. This talented entertainer not only writes a lot of his own songs, but sings them as well! He was nice enough to let me take his picture during the break. And as you can see, he’s a cutie!

Bobby has been a popular singer/songwriter in Merritt for some time. But did you know that he recently recorded an album in Nashville, which is  available online and here in Merritt? Nashville’s interest can only be a good sign! Best of luck to Merritt’s own Bobby Garcia!

Coffee House Entertainment – Robert Bertrand

Coffee House

Robert Bertrand

What fun we had with Robert Bertrand on stage. That truly was a trip down memory lane! I have to admit I’m pretty good at recognizing country songs as far back as the 1930’s. My dad used to sing them to me when I was a baby and they really stuck! Robert stumped me but good though when he took the old cowboy songs and blues back past that era. We all enjoyed the music but some of the older audience really got it! I wonder, did their daddies sing to them too?

If you like Kenny Rogers and Willie Nelson, you would certainly enjoy Robert. He sings like a bit of both of them, with a little gravel of experience in his voice. All those “Don’t love me honey or “I might do you wrong” lyrics are delivered with a twinkle in his eye and a wicked, knowing grin. He sure can get the crowd smiling and toe tapping! No wonder he is asked to play so often.

During the break he, too, was nice enough to let me take his picture. Doesn’t he look as if he would fit right into his songs?

Coffee House in the Hall of Fame

Al and Denise, and the Coffee House crew, host a monthly coffee house at the Hall of Fame here in Merritt. Featuring both new guests and repeat favorites, it isn’t just an entertaining evening, but a social event too. In this coffee house, visitors are welcomed, friendships renewed and new friendships formed.

If good friends and entertainment aren’t enough, there is always the Hall of Fame itself. The exhibits tie in nicely with the music and atmosphere and are worth exploring in themselves. Quite a few of the the exhibited stars are seniors. I was glad we arrived early so I could check out some of the costumes that I missed last time. Some of those women were so tiny! Hmm, maybe I should take up guitar and singing.

Coffee House Wind-up

What did this senior learn from doing an evening of coffee house music, Merritt style? This is one experience I will definitely repeat.

Do you enjoy coffee houses?

From your senior on the go,

Diane

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

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!

 

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.

 

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?