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First Avenue gets first Missionfest

When downtown business owner Rhett Nicholson came up with the idea for Missionfest he wanted to bring that small town community togetherness back to Mission.

Nicholson, who co-owns Sue’s Copy Place, said he remembers walking around downtown at events that drew the whole town when he was a kid, but there hasn’t been anything like that in more than a decade.

To that end, Nicholson applied for and was granted a request to close First Avenue on Aug. 13 between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. for the first annual Missionfest.

There will be a show and shine car show; a community stage with music entertainment and karaoke provided by Rockin’ River Music Fest (which is happening at Mission Raceway Park the same day); a bouncy castle for kids and a velcro wall; a skateboarding show provided by Vesper Sports; pony rides; as well as 20 non-profit vendors.

“We want this to be an annual event and we’ll see if maybe we can make it a weekend next year,” said Nicholson, adding this is the ideal way to show Mission the revitalization taking place downtown.

A developer recently submitted an application to council for a new commercial-residential three-storey structure on First Avenue beside The Mission Record, and the area has seen an increase in new business start-ups such as Sweet Spot Cafe, the Dawg Gone Good Grill and MTF Price Matters.

Nicholson said organizers are still looking for more cars for the show and shine contest, with prizes for best street, custom, muscle, hot rod, truck, special interest and unfinished cars. Registration is $10 and includes a grab bag, dash plaque and free grub.

Speaking of food, there will be a salmon bake, pancake breakfast, and other vendors.

Although downtown is known as “First Ave” to most younger Missionites, organizers are also referring to it as “Main Street” for those folks who remember the district when it was literally the main part of town, said Nicholson.

And that’s all part of the point, he added. Bringing together the old and the young to celebrate what Mission has to offer.

Missionfest begins Saturday, Aug. 13 at 10 a.m. and runs until 6 p.m.