Okay, I’m probably getting some of the facts wrong so don’t use this blog post to research your school paper or anything, but a long time ago Lord Dunsmuir, the esteemed robber baron and one of the founders of Cumberland, that is pictured in the banner of this blog, made a suspicious deal with the government of Canada that if he built a railway from I think Victoria to Campbell River that his company would be granted, in perpetuity, dominion over a vast swath of land, 20 miles wide and the length of the railway, worth an enormous sum and 20% of the land on Vancouver Island. Cumberland is in the middle of this, and because of it, all the forest around Cumberland is controlled by what is now TimberWest forestry company (and yet we have no railway).
The people of Cumberland really enjoy the old growth forest and the trails and animals and stuff around the village, so they started a society to try and buy back the forest around Cumberland and prevent it from being logged. It’s a pretty big deal around here and most people I know support it. The day after our Costumes & Candy 2015 party, Step and I went to the Cumberland Recreation Institute (CRI) and helped set up for a big fundraising party called Perseverance Party for the Forest.
The party happens after the Perseverance Trail Run, (another fundraiser for the forest) and is an ambitious undertaking involving countless volunteers and donators, plus there is a mysterious “Forest Fairy” who matches, dollar for dollar, and in an unlimited amount, all the money the party raises. There is entertainment, a silent auction, a chilli contest (everybody gets chilli!), a bar, a lottery, and I think you get the drift. Step was operating lights for the show and I was Team Leader of the volunteers at the bar, so I decorated the bar. I just did it with materials on-hand and it ended up looking like the bar was a bridesmaid but what can you do? It was a least an improvement on the blinding naked light and white walls of the canteen. (I am sorry all the pictures in this post are of the night before, and not the party itself, because it was dark in there and we had trouble getting good pictures).
The next morning I got up early, for me, and went back down to the CRI, since the party started in the early afternoon. I spent almost the whole party working, but I think it was a success! Meaghan, the tireless leader of the whole endeavour, and her Mom, spent I don’t know how many hours making 600 feet of amazing bunting that transformed the whole room. There were tons of items in the silent auction and Step and I got into a bidding war over Cathy’s painting which we got in the end (I am sooo happy about this because I really love this painting and we haven’t bought any art for a long time).
I tried 4 of the 5 chillies in the contest—the “samples” were huge—and they were all good but Guerrilla Foods was the stand-out and it even had a sprinkling of pork cracklin’s on it. Cumberland Brewing Company donated a bunch of beer and we sold almost all the other drinks we offered. (I think people liked my non-alcohol offering of pineapple juice not-from-concentrate with unsweetened cranberry and soda). To me it seemed like the auction and stuff did well, so in the end I don’t know yet how much was raised but it had to be enough to buy back a bear den or an old mine shaft or something, maybe two with the contribution of the Forest Fairy, and hopefully more, because (and I know I’m not alone in this) I really like the forest around here and it’s a lot better than a clear cut.