Railway museum hosting family fun day

Family Fun Day at the Central B.C. Railway and Forestry Museum will be filled with activities geared for the family on Saturday, Aug. 24 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

There will be a clown making balloon animals, a giant lawn chess game set up, interactive toys will be available for playtime for the children, while the blacksmith forges in steel. Everyone is welcome to explore the grounds, train cars and the Penny Station full steam ahead.

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The concession will offer hot dogs and hamburgers and admission is by donation to the Humane Society and Two Bunnies Rescue, who will be on hand with furry friends to answer any questions guests may have about their organizations.

Within the last few years the railway museum has undergone some expansion.

One of those comes in the form of the acquisition of the school house from Island Cache.

"We'll have the permanent story inside the school house," Katherine Carlson, executive director of the museum, said.

"We'll also use the building to hold different types of exhibits. So we're focusing on doing restoration and making some changes before it will be accessible to the public."

The focus will be showcasing the region's heritage, she added.

This year the museum was able to get funding through government employment programs for 12 summer students. There's students of horticulture who are working on the grounds, a curatorial team doing inventory and a group of heritage interpreters who conduct the mini rail train rides and offer tours to guests.

"It's thanks to these students that the site looks better than ever before," Nadine Fieber, events coordinator, said.

"We had a lot of people donating plants to us and we have plenty of room for them. Our urban orchards and heritage gardens are really producing this year."

The orchard trees are apple and cherry and are planted throughout the grounds, Fieber added.

Students can reap the rewards for their efforts by taking some of the vegetables grown in the garden home throughout the summer and at the end of the season the fresh garden-grown food is donated to St. Vincent de Paul Society or Positive Living North's Firepit that provide meals to those in need. It's important to support community efforts.

Another new attraction on site is the shop the Blacksmith Guild has recently set up. A blacksmith now does demonstrations on event days like Family Fun Day and the guild meets on location on the last Saturday of the month at 10 a.m. and new members are welcome to attend.

"It's been very popular during our special events and black smith Barry Schaefer always has spectators watching him," Fieber said.

"It's just wonderful because he fits in so well here. When he's here there's lots of hammering noises and smoke coming from the chimney and kids enjoy it and so do the adults. Some people watch for hours."

Weather permitting on Family Fun Day there will be some water toys on hand for children to enjoy and from 3 to 4 p.m. Huggleberry the clown will be making balloon animals.

The Spinners and Weavers Guild will be on site giving demonstrations and a chance for guests to try weaving for themselves.

"We always make each event unique so that it's different every time visitors come here and this one is for families to come and enjoy and have fun," Fieber said.

Admission is by donation to the SPCA or Two Bunnies Rescue. Suggested donation items for Two Bunnies Rescue are gift cards for grocery stores for vegetables for the rabbits, hay, including timothy or orchard grass, rabbit pellets from Spruce Capitol Feeds and Pine wood shavings and rabbit-safe small animal toys. For the Humane Society people can donate laundry soap, dog food, puppy food, cat toys and hand sanitizer.

For more information about Family Fun Day visit www.pgrfm.bc.ca.

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