Celebrate Mission is no more

The annual September event at Fraser River Heritage Park will not happen

Celebrate Mission has been cancelled.

The planning committee for the event, formerly known as the Celebration of Community until two years ago, announced it will discontinue the gathering and focus on creating a new one when there are more volunteers.

According to a report submitted to council by Kirsten Hargreaves, manager of social development, the planning committee met in the fall of 2011 to discuss concerns of sustainability due to a lack of staff time.

As the only paid staff member, site coordinator John Taves was responsible for an immense amount of work, including booking events, setup and takedown, and collecting donations. Taves has since resigned and moved away from Mission.

Celebrate Mission has taken place on the third Saturday of September for the past 12 years at Heritage Park, averaging 700 attendees, although many of these are volunteers themselves.

It had been decided that without achieving an increase in foot traffic to the event, a limited budget, few donations, and a lack of staff, it wouldn’t make sense to continue.

“With all the other events that are taking place in Mission, we sort of see that Celebrate Mission can evolve into something even better to prepare for the 2014 Winter Games and to try and bring in more of the community,” said committee member Pam Alexis, adding the group sees this as a transitional stage into a new event.

Robert Keys, executive director for the Mission Association for Community Living, will present a delegation to council April 16 to request funds for the Illuminaria evening event Sept. 15.