10th anniversary edition
By Sue Stefko
The Glebe Annex Community Association (GACA) somehow picked a perfect day to host our 2023 Party in the Park. In a summer marred by smoke, heat waves and thunderstorms, September 9 was amazing – clear, sunny and “juuust right,” not too hot and not too cold.
The event celebrated GACA’s 10th anniversary. We were lucky to welcome every president since our founding in 2013, each of them saying a few words about what the community and association mean to them. That portion of the event culminated in our founding president Sylvia Milne leading a group of youngsters in bashing a piñata, a piñata she made herself! There was also a GACA trivia game, with skill-testing questions about the association and the neighbourhood, and a cake-cutting ceremony to pay tribute to our first decade as an association.
The highlight of the party was the children’s band Monkey Rock, which was a big hit, especially with the younger crowd. The children listened to music, sang songs and played a parachute game as part of the festivities.
Dalhousie South Park was an ideal location to accommodate the various ages and interests of partygoers. Many adults enjoyed chats at the park benches, older children played on the park equipment, and the younger children gathered at the sandbox to enjoy Monkey Rock.
The party featured some favourites from last year’s party, such as Gabrielle and Neil’s home-made crepes made fresh on site. Our trusty barbecue team of Richard, Avery and David were back as well, grilling hot dogs for the hungry crowd. The party also included some grassroots community participation, with Heidi, a Butterflyway Ranger with the David Suzuki Foundation, handing out native seeds and plants with detailed instructions on how to make them grow.
As a rather optimistic bunch, we assessed the crowd as the biggest ever at a Party in the Park. It’s an assertion we seem to make every year, but it could well be true this time! We estimate that about 100 people flowed through, which is encouraging for such a small community. We were especially pleased to see so many students join us this year, possibly because we held the party after Labour Day. This is something we will consider for future parties.
Both during and after the Party in the Park, we received some terrific feedback from appreciative neighbours. GACA works hard for the neighbourhood by trying to improve local development projects, promote safety and traffic-calming and provide information on issues that impact the neighbourhood. However, what many people seem to appreciate most is when we bring people together at our events, and the feeling of community and inclusiveness they inspire. Our parties are occasions where we can connect with neighbours, share stories and discover what we have in common.
Buoyed by this success, we are already planning our next event. While it’s expected to be a bit more modest, we plan to hand out candy at Halloween, also at Dalhousie South Park, which seems to be the hub of our small but close-knit community.
Sue Stefko is vice president of the Glebe Annex Community Association.