On Saturday, July 19th, New West's Pier Park played host to Pecha Kucha New Westminster. It was by far one of the best community events I've attended during my three years living in this city. From four in the afternoon until sundown (around 9:15?), there was food, beer and dancing courtesy of Vancouver Urban Spaces Initiative's Summer Series. When the sun went to bed, ten presentations took place Pecha Kucha style with the amazing backdrop of the Fraser River, Golden Ears mountains and the Putello Bridge.
In case you don't know, Pecha Kucha style is a presentation format where you show 20 images, each for 20 seconds. This forces speakers to keep it concise, to the point and shockingly casual considering you're following such a strict timeline. The evening's speakers included MP Fin Donnelly, two high school students who ensured the theater arts didn't disappear from their learning and some buggy women talking pollinators (aka bees!). When the sun went down, the mercury did too and things became chillier than anticipated. A hot chocolate in hand would have made the evening that much more enjoyable. But for the most part, it was great to hear about inspiring initiatives taken on by neighbors, even if they weren't the best speakers. About 150 others must have agreed with me to stick around and watch, but I have to say I think more people showed up for the food and dancing.
I may not have danced, but I certainly ate. Hitting up the Fresh Cart from Farm City Co-op made the trip down to the river 110% worth it. Fresh, local fruits and vegetables could not have tasted better and I accidentally ate all the cherries I bought that night, originally hoping they would have lasted a week. I also shared a tub of waffle maple mixed berry ice cream with a Brick and Mortar Living co-worker that was to die for. Screw the saying 'nothing tastes as good as skinny feels' because honestly, nothing tastes or feels better than eating local foods and supporting our local farmers.
Not being a beer drinker, I was thankful Steel & Oak Brewing Co. also provided us with some wine. But, with that being said, Steel & Oak is the only beer I have found myself able to stomach. Sharing this tidbit with the guy serving earned me some extra wine too. I also was lucky enough to spend the entire evening alongside the most popular guest, Begbie. She's the Brick and Mortar shop dog with a bigger Instagram following than me (so please, follow me. All the attention gets to the dog's head!). Almost everyone recognized her and she soaked in all the attention. Honestly, she may have been the hit of the night.
All in all, it was a well done event contributing to the growing community feel in New Westminster. The biggest take away from the night is to go out there and be a part of your local spaces. Share knowledge and food - that act alone is good for the soul and grounding yourself within your community.