Hodge: Awareness raiser for youth in need takes a break

…after 10 years we’ve decided to take a break and put our dwindling energies to other things than Night of the Arts.

The chocolate withdrawal I am about to face is my own fault.

Once again I failed to know when to shut up and I will now pay the ultimate price. Chocolate deprivation.

Normally by about now I would be safely gorging on several mini-chocolate bars, jelly beans, gummy bears (nothing like fresh gummy bears) and/or various other forms of candy and junk food.

In other words, test eating the goodies ready for Halloween handouts.(Someone has to make sure they are safe and edible.)

Sigh.

Even thinking about the missing chocolate makes me feel sad and deprived.

In reality I never should have said a thing when Teresa suggested we just not bother with buying candy or decorating our house for Halloween.

I should have disagreed when she suggested no one shows up for trick or treat anymore, that no one cares.

If I had been thinking I would have countered her comment that one can never be too prepared, that we needed to stock up with crap food just in case.

Alas, I did not, and now the folly of my failure is affecting my diet.

Normally a few days before hobgoblins and ghosts rampage the neighbourhood I am happily tucked into bed early sampling a big bowl of candies.

However, a dearth of trick or treaters in our neighbourhood the past five years has taken its toll.

Halloween is not what it used to be.

Seems as a society we have lost a lot of the innocence and sense of adventure from the past when Halloween and other evenings of similar ilk seemed safer.

Apparently the urban Halloween legends of pins in food, pennies heated up, and other such nightmares eventually eroded the enjoyment of the long held fun door knocking tradition.

More and more parents are taking their youngsters to organized events or house parties and the visiting of neighbours for goodies has faded. During the past five or six years the numbers of youngsters at our house have dwindled down to less than a dozen kids stopping by in an evening.

Last year only two kids showed up and that sealed the deal here I suppose.

So yesterday when Teresa suggested we not decorate with pumpkins, forget buying candy, and simply hide in the house —I foolishly agreed. (Must have been watching the hockey game and not really thinking).

The reality of my flippant reply, agreeing with her suggestion, has suddenly registered.

What the heck was I doing?

Hmm…I suppose it is not too late to maybe come up with a costume of my own.

Perhaps I could dress up as a grouchy old man looking for chocolate or something.

***

On another note, or perhaps non-note despite the encouraging (and one actual ‘demand’), the annual Night of the Arts will not be taking place again this year.

After 10 straight years of holding the fundraising night of music to raise awareness about youth in need, addictions and homeless issues in Kelowna, Curtis Tulman and I decided to wrap up the event.

Originally, the first Night of the Arts was simply meant to be a one-off event to boost awareness of those issues in our community.

Neither Curtis, John Adams, myself or any of the other long standing volunteers of the event originally planned it to become an annual concert.

The success and popularity of the evening simply led things that way.

Curtis, John, and I had a wonderful time making the night of magic take place, but after 10 years we’ve decided to take a break and put our dwindling energies to other things.

While we’re not sure if the Night of the Arts may return, I am thrilled and thankful for all those who assisted over the years.

I can’t begin to guess the amount of money raised over that time but I do know the awareness, fellowship, and fun was well worth the time and energy.

During the 10 years of shows a plethora of talent donated their time on stage. Here is a list of those various performers.

Ari Neufeld, Balmoral Orchestra, Corey Doak, Colors and Tone, Cowboy Bob, Cruzeros, The Davidson’s, Day Late and a Dollar Short, Deb Stone Band, Dirt Road Opera, Evan Jeffrey and Hip Hip Hooray, Gary Smyth, Greg Szebel, Inkblot, Jane Eamon, Jimmy LeGuilloux Band, Joyful Door, Justin Dueck, Ken Byrka and Eric Funk, Keith ‘Papa’ Thom, Kurt Phillips, Kyle Tubbs, The Magirescu Family, MacGregor Sisters, Mitch Howanyk, Nixie, Noel Wentworth, Olga Osipova, Poppa Dog and Dog Skin Suit, Raquel Warchol, Robert Fine and the Dreamland Band, Ryan Donn, Rod Neufeld, Sami Al-khalili, Sarah Mainland, Scott Thielman, Sleddogs, STIL, Stolen Coast, Ten2Nine, The Trips, Tom Stinson, Warhag, and the Zamboni Brothers.

Deb Stone played the concert ever year which shows the quality of her character while folks like Jim LeGuilloux and Scott Gamble were always there when asked.

Off stage, Bernard Shelvey, Les Thompson, Dave Stratten, Yvonne Moorish, Jim Krahn, Marion Krahn and others were there to support from an artist or volunteer role every time.

Thanks for everything you have done, folks. Never forgotten.