Fundraising for a washroom in Wakamow

Nathan Liewicki
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Moose Javians give back at the Winter Blues Festival

“It’s unlike any place in Moose Jaw,” Crystal Froese said of Wakamow Valley.

Moose Jaw's Whiteboy Slim plays one of his blues songs at the fourth annual Shake Off the Winter Blues Festival in support of Wakamow Valley on Friday evening. Money raised at the event will be used toward building a new washroom in Wakamow.

Froese, the director of community relations for Wakamow, said there were about 150 people who escaped freezing temperatures and spent Friday evening at the Heritage Inn for the fourth annual Shake Off the Winter Blues Festival.

“We hold Festival of Flavours in the fall and then we do this one mid-winter,” Froese told the Times-Herald. “They're the two big, public fundraisers that we do to try and raise money for the park.”

Last year, Wakamow’s focus was on constructing a new playground. It’s already been complete and will officially be unveiled in the spring.

This year the focus is on raising enough money to pay for an all-season washroom.

“They're just outhouses and they've gone way past their due date,” Froese said of the current washrooms in Wakamow. “The place we want to put it is a high traffic area. Lots of people visit the park all year round and we just really need a normal washroom.”

The estimated cost of a new washroom, Froese noted, is $30,000.

Money used to pay for park projects, such as the washroom, comes from a mix of grant funding, donations and Wakamow’s two public fundraisers.

Froese said raising about $8,000 was the goal of Shake Off the Winter Blues.

The exact dollar figure raised from Friday’s festival is not yet known.

Although fundraising dollars are important to Wakamow, the event shows – more importantly – how much support the park gets from Moose Javians.

“Without support from the community we wouldn't be able to maintain the trails and carry out the projects we do, like putting in beautiful playgrounds and upgrading washrooms,” Froese said. ”It just wouldn't be possible.”

Frank Schelf was at the festival. He spends time at Wakamow every week and said fundraisers are important to help give back to the park and the city itself.

“I’ve been at each of these Winter Blues Festivals and every time I’m here it reminds me that there are so many people who truly value every part of Wakamow,” he said.

MonkeyJunk, along with Moose Jaw’s own Whiteboy Slim, provided the blues entertainment for the evening.

Nathan Liewicki can be reached at 306-691-1256 or follow him on Twitter @liewicks

Organizations: Heritage Inn, Times-Herald

Geographic location: Moose Jaw

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