A ceremony was held Sunday to cap of Cranbrook’s summer festival of Sam Steele Days and to launch the countdown to what will be a key event in Cranbrook and Kimberley’s autumn — indeed, of all British Columbia’s autumn.
A torch-lighting ceremony was held in Balment Park Sunday, June 17, in celebration of the approaching Kimberley/Cranbrook 2018 55+ BC Games.
The Kimberley/Cranbrook 2018 55+ BC Games will take place Sept. 11-15, with sports being held in venues throughout Cranbrook and Kimberley.
Sunday’s event was emceed by Kaytee Wheaton on the stage at the main Sam Steele Fairgrounds at Balment Park, by Western Financial Place.
“Today we light the torch that signifies the countdown is on,” Wheaton said. “The 2018 55+ BC Games, which to will take place Sept. 11-15. We will welcome 2,500 athletes age 55 or over. These participants will compete in 23 sports and activities. They will spend time in our communities, and we hope they receive a very warm welcome, so they will return again and again.”
Ktunaxa Elder Dorothy Alpine gave a greeting in the Ktunaxa language.
Kimberley Mayor Don McCormack said that with the lighting of the torch, the real work begins, and reiterated the call for the many volunteers that will be needed.
Cranbrook Mayor Lee Pratt said the coming Games will be a great showcase for the Cranbrook and Kimberley area.
Host society Joint Presidents Sandy Zeznik and Jaret Thompson also spoke at the occasion.
“We know this will be great for our tourist industry and our economy,” Zeznik said. “It will also be an exciting time for our volunteers.
“Our athletes from across the province, and those particularly from Zone 7, will be here. The people from Cranbrook and Kimberley and all areas in between, we hope they’re out and welcoming everyone.
“Let’s strive to make these Games successful, and above all, let’s have fun.”
BC Seniors Games Society President Cindy Simpson offered greetings and thanks from the society and all 12 BC zones.
“Shared games are a great experience for our members. I’ve been to about 14 Games — many of them have been shared, and those are the best ones. Because we get to experience the best of two cities, and their wonderful surrounding area.
“The lighting of the torch symbolizes the pathway to our competition your board, the volunteers and your citizens are preparing for.”
Cranbrook Olympic Ski-Crosser India Sherret carried the torch on the the site, whereupon she, McCormack and Pratt proceeded to light the Games cauldron.
As the flame burns in Cranbrook for the coming months, the Games society is looking for volunteers to help make the event a success. Go here to register as a volunteer, or for more information.