The third-annual Kootenay Game Changer Awards are set to take place on September 22, 2018 at St. Eugene Resort, and the deadline for nominations is coming up on Tuesday, July 31.
The awards are the brainchild of Councillor Danielle Eaton, and represent a collaboration between local media including Black Press, Total Country B104, 102.9 The Drive and e-KNOW.ca
“Basically we all got together, and there’s all kinds of business awards out there and we recognized that there wasn’t an award system to really acknowledge the various sectors of the community, in terms of great people who volunteer their time,” Eaton said. “And so basically media makes a living off of telling those stories and so we wanted to feature a few of those people, honour them.”
Eaton had a friend who was awarded a game changer award out in Calgary, recognizing his creative work as a blogger and Eaton realized that facets of society like arts and culture are often overlooked in conventional award ceremonies.
“It was something that I thought was a really good opportunity to acknowledge good people,” she said.
There are numerous categories that have changed a little over the years, representing the trends in the community. For example, this year technology was dropped unfortunately as they didn’t have a tonne of uptake, but Eaton said she hopes to bring that back in the future. This year they have added food and agriculture.
“We didn’t previously have that category but we’ve noticed that the food and agricultural realm, the culture of it in the East Kootenay is growing really quickly,” Eaton said. “I think that all the local farmers markets, seeing how quickly that they’re growing and the number of food and agriculture vendors that they’re getting is really indicative of that, so we’ve added that category.”
Another example of the awards moving with community trends is the number of nominations in the youth category this year.
“Youth is a huge category, we’ve gotten quite a few nominations this year in the youth category, it’s going to be difficult to decide on our four finalists.”
Four finalists from each category are chosen to attend the dinner, paid for by Gipman Kitchens & Cabinetry, at the St. Eugene, who do a “wonderful job hosting” said Eaton.
Another important aspect of the awards is that they give each year’s gala a Kootenay theme. For example, the previous two years they had rising Cranbrook musician Dawson Rutledge perform, this year they have Kimberley’s Darren Welch.
They have also been talking with St. Eugene’s new chef Aaron Day, who is really excited about putting together a Kootenay-themed dinner, using as much as he can from Kootenay vendors.