Dynamic duo return to lead fundraising efforts for Canada Day fireworks display

By on May 7, 2014
Sisters-in-law Emma-Mae Pratt (left) and Annette Star will be leading the fundraising efforts once again for the Osoyoos Fireworks Committee. This is the second year the local ladies have volunteered their time to visit hundreds of local businesses to ask for donations to the annual Canada Day fireworks celebration in Osoyoos, which remains the second-largest fireworks display in the country on Canada’s birthday. Frank Zandvliet, who was the fundraising co-ordinator for 17 years, will remain the man in charge of setting up and firing off the fireworks. (Keith Lacey photo)

Sisters-in-law Emma-Mae Pratt (left) and Annette Star will be leading the fundraising efforts once again for the Osoyoos Fireworks Committee. This is the second year the local ladies have volunteered their time to visit hundreds of local businesses to ask for donations to the annual Canada Day fireworks celebration in Osoyoos, which remains the second-largest fireworks display in the country on Canada’s birthday. Frank Zandvliet, who was the fundraising co-ordinator for 17 years, will remain the man in charge of setting up and firing off the fireworks. (Keith Lacey photo)

Osoyoos’ dynamic fundraising duo is ready to hit the pavement once again as the fundraising co-ordinators of the Osoyoos Firework Committee.

After 17 consecutive years of not only setting up and firing off the Osoyoos Canada Day fireworks display – which has long been the second-largest in Canada behind only the one in Canada’s national capital in Ottawa – but also leading the fundraising effort, Frank Zandvliet stepped down from his fundraising duties last year.

In stepped sisters-in-law Annette Star and Etta-Mae Pratt.

After doing a terrific job last year, Star and Pratt are back and will be visiting hundreds of Osoyoos and area businesses over the next seven weeks asking business owners and citizens alike to contribute what they can to the fireworks fundraising efforts.

“I’ve loved the fireworks since I moved here 12 years ago,” said Star. “It’s absolutely my favourite thing here in Osoyoos.

“When we found out Frank was stepping down last year, me and Etta-Mae decided we wanted to do our part to help out and we decided to take on the fundraising. It was a lot of work, but a lot of fun.”

Local businesses and citizens contributed more than $31,000 to the fireworks committee last year and Star and Pratt have set a goal to surpass that total.

“Osoyoos is a very generous community and everyone knows how important the Canada Day fireworks are to the town, so we think we can beat last year’s total,” said Star.

Star and Pratt have a long list of local businesses that have contributed to the fireworks committee in the past and they will be visiting each and every one of them asking business owners to donate what they can.

Donation bins will be set up at several local businesses as well, including Buy Low and Family Food grocery stores, Osoyoos Home Hardware and the 7-Eleven convenience store.

Star and Pratt started their annual fundraising drive on Monday and will continue throughout May and will be more than willing to accept donations right up until July 1 and beyond, said Pratt.

“A lot of businesses don’t start generating a lot of their revenue until the tourists come in late June, but we’re more than happy to accept their donations after the event,” she said.

All businesses and citizens are asked “simply to donate what they can … we know some businesses aren’t doing as well as others, but every penny counts and we appreciate every single donation we receive.”

Zandvliet said he’s thrilled with the job Star and Pratt have done since taking over the fundraising duties.

“I’m very pleased with the job these two fine ladies are doing,” he said. “I know how much hard work it takes to visit all of these businesses and I know how dedicated they are, so I really appreciate their efforts.”

Zandvliet promises he and his volunteer crew of six will set up another spectacular fireworks display on Canada Day.

The Osoyoos fireworks display has attracted more than 20,000 tourists to this community every year for more than two decades and it’s estimated that as many as 30,000 people have viewed the spectacular event over Osoyoos Lake on some occasions.

Collection bins will also be set up at town hall for citizens wishing to make a donation over the next several weeks, said Star.

Any local citizen wishing to donate can also call Star and Pratt at 250-495-6227.

KEITH LACEY

Osoyoos Times

 

 

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