Mike and Sheila Luniw think there should be more community meetings in Spallumcheen like the one held Monday.
Married 54 years, the Luniws were among the 100 people who turned out at the municipal office to help the township kick off its 120th birthday celebrations.
“It used to be back in the day, there would be lots of these community meetings,” said Mike, born and raised in Armstrong, a still-working electrical contractor who turns 88 in September.
“You’d come to these, meet your neighbours and friends, and discuss things that were going on.”
Owners of the Olde School House off Pleasant Valley Road – the first school on B.C.’s mainland – the Luniws had a chance to chat with friends and neighbours over celebratory cake, ice cream and Dad’s Old-Fashioned Root Beer.
“It’s been a very pleasant evening,” said Sheila.
The provincial government chipped in $75,000 to help the township with its birthday celebrations. The money comes from $800,000 the province doled out to communities to celebrate local arts and culture in milestone anniversary festivities.
“The generous support of the B.C. government has allowed us the opportunity to draw our community together for arts and cultural events,” said Mayor Janice Brown who, along with her entire six-member council and several township staff members, was dressed in 1890s-style clothing.
A number of people who attended the celebration also dressed up in outfits from the era.
Siblings Courtney and Wesley Graves were voted best-dressed kids, while adult honours went to Henk Denoudsten and Dianne Strohm, who was wearing a red-and-white full-length handmade dress complete with matching bonnet.
“I came here dressed up because it’s a party, a celebration of Spallumcheen,” said Strohm, who has lived in the township her entire life.
Coun. Andrew Casson, looking like he stepped off a riverboat, joined his brothers Stephen, James and Daniel as the Casson Quartet, serenading the crowd with their barbershop quartet renditions of Beautiful Saviour and Hello My Baby.
Brown was joined by former mayors Will Hansma and Guenter Rieger in cutting a celebratory cake.
During the council meeting, held after the celebration, Rieger – who was mayor during Spallumcheen’s centennial birthday in 1992 – presented Brown and each councillor with a token of his appreciation for being invited.
“I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Mayor Janice Brown and members of this council on this special day by celebrating the 120th birthday of Spallumcheen,” said Rieger.
“As I said many times when I was mayor, I was very proud to be the mayor of the most scenic municipality in B.C. I hope you will be able to say the same when you complete your terms.”
Coun. Rachael Ganson concluded Monday’s celebrations by handing out $33,000 to several organizations to help with 120th anniversary celebrations.
The next big birthday event is at O’Keefe Ranch Aug. 12.