Balloons and t-shirts were launched into the air after opening ceremonies. (Audrey Gunn/Grand Forks Gazette)

“It’s Lake Time!” Christina Lake Homecoming sees huge turnout after two year hiatus

The festival brought people of all ages to the lake for a weekend of celebrations

Christina Lake Homecoming Summerfest returned last weekend after a two year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The theme of this year’s Homecoming was “It’s Lake Time!”

The event was much anticipated after two years of the pandemic. The last Homecoming was held in 2019.

Festivities began on Wednesday July 6 at the Community Hall with a movie night, followed by an open mic night on Thursday at the Welcome Centre and a concert featuring the Holly Hyatt Band on Friday.

The main event was on Saturday, with events running from 8a.m. well into the evening.

From the morning until 2p.m. events were held at the community hall. There was a mini car show, along with a market, featuring many local vendors. Free ice cream was available, along with a pancake breakfast and hot dog lunch by donation to local community groups.

RDKB Area C (Christina Lake) director Grace McGregor said that this was an opportunity for people to see what Christina Lake has to offer, especially local arts.

“It gives people a better feel for what’s hiding at Christina Lake. And the arts just come out of the woodwork, it’s phenomenal.”

At 3p.m. festivities moved to the Christina Lake public beach. The beach was packed with people of all ages from Christina Lake and the surrounding area.

A kid’s fun zone featured a bouncy castle slide and face painting.

At 4p.m. opening ceremonies were held, beginning with a performance from the Métis Drummers. Christina Lake community and economic development coordinator and project lead for Homecoming Donna Wilchynski addressed the crowd alongside Grace McGregor.

Opening ceremonies concluded with a performance of the Christina Lake song, titled “Come Home to the Lake” by Bob Dupee. The crowd was invited to sing along.

Other beach events included a sand sculpting competition, featuring world-renowned sculptor David Ducharme and amateur-professional Robert Haacke.

There was also live performances from local bands, and the famous Christina Lake Fire Fighters Society Cook-out BBQ.

Later in the evening there was the grand finale, “Light up the Lake Boat Parade”.

The event would not have been possible without so many dedicated volunteers, said Wilchynski.

“I cannot do any of it without the amazing people that are standing behind me always, which is first the volunteers.”

This year’s Homecoming was wildly successful after two years of the pandemic. Wilchynski said that everyone was very excited to return to the lake and come together to celebrate.

“This is the busiest I’ve ever seen it, we have a record number of boats in the light up the lake boat parade.”

Homecoming is about celebrating the special way of life that is unique to Christina Lake, and bringing the community together, said Wilchynski. The festival is open to everyone, no matter where they come from.

“It’s the sense and the feeling of coming home.”

READ MORE: The Sandmen: West Kootenay artists compete in CBC sand sculpting show

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@audreyygunn
editor@grandforksgazette.ca

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Bob Dupee performs "Come Home to the Lake" as the crowd sings along. (Audrey Gunn/Grand Forks Gazette)

Donna Wilchynski and Grace McGregor address the crowd during the beach festivities. (Audrey Gunn/Grand Forks Gazette)

M├ętis Drummers perform at the opening ceremony. (Audrey Gunn/Grand Forks Gazette)

The sand sculpting competition ran from 9:30a.m. to 5:30p.m. at the public beach. (Audrey Gunn/Grand Forks Gazette)

This hippo was one of the many sand sculptures that could be seen on the beach. (Audrey Gunn/Grand Forks Gazette)

The beach and the water were full of people all day - a testament to the festival's popularity. (Audrey Gunn/Grand Forks Gazette)

This bouncy castle slide was a hit among the kids. (Audrey Gunn/Grand Forks Gazette)

There was no limit on the fun to be had at Homecoming. (Audrey Gunn/Grand Forks Gazette)