Taking a tour of GRIZFEST

Grizfest kicked off with another delicious Pancake Breakfast put on by the Tumbler Ridge Lions Club. Our downtown streets were lined up with people to watch the colourful parade. Gloria Spratt who lives in Vancouver, remarked that the parade was a ?lovely representation of the Tumbler Ridge community, it?s great to see what a small town can do.?

Cheryl Hayden Grizfest Coordinator was very pleased with the increase in attendance. The numbers climbed from 1,500 last year to 2,200 people this year. ?Grizfest went really well, Colin James rocked the stage, Nick Gilder Sweeney Todd was awesome and the feedback was good,? Hayden reported. Chris Raque Volunteer and Billet Coordinator said, ?Without the excellent volunteer base Grizfest would not be as successful as it is.?

Bill Hendley and his team were selling bottled water, pop, chips and chocolate bars to raise money for an orphanage in Kenya, Africa. ?After I visited and experienced Kenya and saw the poverty and need, I was compelled to do something about it.? Hendley stated. The orphanage supports and accommodates 30 children, most of whom were orphaned as a result of the HIV/AIDS epidemic there.

There was candy floss, a food wagon, hand-crafted jewelry, pottery and more. Rita Thors from Delta, BC was staying with friends and she loves it up here, ?the parade was fabulous, wonderful, and the people in Tumbler are so friendly,? she commented.

Kathi Birosh from Hudson?s Hope said that this was her 3rd year attending Grizfest. She was impressed with the improvement of the sound system this year, ?Tumbler Ridge has done an awesome job!?

The children rode down the Ironman, and other huge blow up characters. There were horseshoe competitions, a Laser Gun tent, and artistic face painting.

Ed Clarke from Ft. St. John has been playing the guitar for 40 years. He started his musical career at the age of 13 playing a ukulele and banjo. His Jazzy/Blues style is polished, he has been singing in bars and concerts for years.

Art Napoleon, a former Chief of the Saulteaux First Nation in northeastern BC, is a wonderful guitarist and was inspired by his grandfather who was a recognized song-writer. His uncles, who were Metis-style fiddlers, had Napoleon start the opening acts for such musicians as Kashtin, James Keelaghan and Juno winners Bourne & McLeod.

The duo in Mindset, Mike Strandberg and Jay Dunfield from Ft. St. John rocked and swayed us to their beat and sound.

Allan Pickard of the Red Shag Carpet band plays an eclectic alternative rock style of music. My favourite was the Jack Connolly band. He began singing and playing his guitar at the age of 10. He collaborated with his Dad as they wrote songs together, his Dad would work on the lyrics and Jack on the tunes. Although rainy and cool, Sunday began with a Sunrise Golf Tournament. Workshops and Jam sessions were done by several of the musicians. People came to Grizfest prepared with their umbrella?s and raincoats to hear Folky Strum & the Post Modern Bluegrass Boys, Stand Together, Fair Haven, The Blue Voodoo and The Nick Gilder/Sweeney Todd Band. Gilder and Todd have both had a number of hits over the years as a rock n roll band.