Free parking just part of the celebration next week

Cranbrook and Kimberley is preparing for one of its biggest events of the year – the Park On-Us Campaign.

Cranbrook and Kimberley is preparing for one of its biggest events of the year – the Park On-Us Campaign. The event is Friday, Sept. 13, in Cranbrook’s downtown core.

Donna Brady Fields, executive director at the local United Way, said the goal this year is to raise $7,500.

The event will go from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. and features free parking in the downtown. Finding the free parking shouldn’t be a problem, as businesses and organizers have jumped at the opportunity to sponsor the use of a parking meter for the day for $25 resulting in many meters covered.

“Our goal this year for selling meters was 300 and we are well over that total,” said Brady Fields. “I think we’re probably going to reach close to 350 this year, and that’s thanks to all of the businesses in the community. We had one of our local businesses purchase 40 meters this year – BA Blacktop.”

Brady Fields said last year the total sold was around 225.

“We’ve done extremely well this year. It takes a lot of work. This is one of our most work intensive events we have, but it’s an event that really reaps a lot of benefits,” she said. One benefit is being able to go around and talk to a lot of the businesses.

“We can talk about setting up workplace campaigns for them, employees and other community engagement things,” she said. “A lot of things come out of this. It’s very work intensive. But it’s really worth it.”

The donations for the campaign go towards local United Way campaign investments for next year.

“All of the money that we raise this year is money we have to invest in the community next year,” she said. “We are mandated by the government to only retain a maximum of 20 per cent — our United Way tries to keep it around 15 per cent of that, for operations and for running the campaign.”

The rest of that money goes back into the community.

Brady Fields said that youth and children are a big priority, from Bellies to Babies to Big Brothers Big Sisters, P.A.R.T.Y. program to the Boys & Girls Club.

The local United Way also funds some recreational activities for two senior facilities in Cranbrook, two facilities in Kimberley and the Hospice Societies in Cranbrook/Kimberley and the Columbia Valley.

“This year, they are adding a silent auction to the event,” she said.

There will be morning coffee set up for people, and then at 11:30 a.m. the barbecue starts up as well as the silent auction.

“We have over $5,000 retail value in items for the auction, so it’s going to be great,” she said.

That runs until about 4 p.m., with free parking running right up to 5 p.m.