Mud, Tires and Water

This time last year, in order to write about the Swim, Drink, Fish Festival, I researched the Elk River and its incredible journey to the Pacific Ocean through lakes and hydro dams and cities in Canada and the USA. I learned that our beautiful river is part of a system that covers an area the size of France and sustains over 6 million people. Pretty amazing eh?

This year I’m going to keep it a little more local, and check out the banks of the river at the Elk River Regatta and Shoreline Scavenger Hunt on Saturday September 29. The kids will be back at school, but learning doesn’t have to be all about the classroom. Bring them to down to the Elk River for a day of exploration, adventure and some splashing around at this interactive water-thoughts day where the emphasis is on fun and participation. Decorate a boat, gather a crew, head for the river and paddle from the North Bridge to the South Bridge between 2-4pm. Entry is just $5 per person and goes towards the Elk River Alliance’s community-based water education program. If you don’t have a boat, you can participate by picking up a scavenger hunt clue sheet and exploring the river’s edge on foot. Registration for both events is at 1pm, and everyone will be able to visit three stations to discover more about water quality, aquatic critters and river ecology with a team of experts on hand.

At 6.30pm, the Our River Rocks Social is a celebration of all things Elk River related at the Bridge Bistro, tickets are just $20 per person and include dinner. On Sunday, you’re invited to give a little back at the Great Elk River Shoreline Cleanup. In any inhabited area, rivers become polluted with garbage and debris that causes damage to the delicate ecological balance, becomes dangerous to aquatic life and reduces the water quality. While it would be great if this never happened in the first place, the sad fact is that it does, and it needs to be cleaned up. Meet at 2pm at Annex Park to join a clean up crew assigned to a section of the river. A volunteer appreciation BBQ will follow at 4pm, with prizes for craziest found object, largest item and more. The biggest prize will be the beautiful and clean Elk River for future generations to enjoy. Remember your gloves and boots!

For more information on this year’s Swim, Drink, Fish Festival, contact Lee-anne Walker by emailing or visit the Wildsight office at 891 2nd Ave.

I may be stretching the education theme here, but automotive mechanics, welding and how to manage a concession stand and beverage garden on Labour day weekend are skills most people would be the better for knowing. The Lions Club Demolition Derby has been held in Fernie for over 30 years, starting in Hosmer in the late 1970s. For 2012 the entire set up has taken a hop, skip and jump over the golf course to the old Hutchinson Farm and has a brand new layout, more space with extra parking, renovated bleachers and concrete barriers instead of the old rail and log set up.

The event is on Sunday, September 2 and is a mainstay of Fernie’s social calendar, attracting around 3000 spectators for smash-‘em-up entertainment, including the powder puff round for female drivers and the ever popular truck bout. All money raised is used to help kids, seniors and the handicapped in the Elk Valley, so bring the whole family to support this major fundraiser for the hardworking volunteers of the Lions Club. Ticket prices have not changed this year and adults are just $10, $5 for seniors and students and free for 12 and under. Beverage gardens and the concession booth will once again be running so enjoy a day off from the kitchen! Teams are encouraged to register in advance for discounted entry fees, but can register on Saturday 1st for an extra $50 or on race day for full price. For more information, visit the Fernie Lions Demolition Derby Facebook page or call Tom on 250-423-3052.