Communities in Bloom (CiB) volunteers filled Madawaska Valley Township Yard 2 garage with winter baskets on November 22. They scheduled just one morning to produce enough baskets not only for the downtown Business Improvement Area (BIA) catchment area in Barry’s Bay but also for Railway Station Park and Zurakowski Park. (Above from left: Eden Guidroz, Wendy Zakrzewski, Debbie Marshall, Elser Lee Faith Archer, Janet McCarthy, Ann Isbister, Jeneene Brunton, Don Isbister. Photo: Frances Mawson.)
The CiB winter basket session is another example of the partnership formed by the BIA, CiB committee, Madawaska Valley Horticultural Society, Township of Madawaska Valley and individual community volunteers. Ted Williams of V&S Stedmans provided the lengths of red ribbon used by Cathy Stevenson of Valley Living to produce many of the oversized bows for the baskets. Township staff ensured the garage was warm enough for the volunteers to work without freezing their fingers.
CiB Co-chairs Debbie Marshall and Elser Lee Faith Archer (above with the finished baskets in the Yard 2 garage) were joined by volunteers Don and Ann Isbister, Janet McCarthy, Wendy Zakrzewski, Frances Mawson, Ritsuko Honda, Jeneene Brunton, Phyllis and Bob Liebregts, Rose Yantha and Eden Guidroz. BIA executive members Williamson and Neil O’Reilly (Barry’s Bay Metro) arrived with cookies and fruit to help keep up the volunteers’ energy as they worked to make 44 festive arrangements. At one point volunteers had to go out to cut even more materials. Archer and Marshall encouraged the volunteers to create their own unique designs from the greenery. Each hanging basket and planter is not a “cookie-cutter” arrangement but something a volunteer can point to with pride as their own work that helps to beautify the community. This is the third year that the festive winter baskets in Barry’s Bay have been produced by volunteers. Marshall says it is a win/win example of community involvement and holiday spirit.
Township staff worked quickly to get many of the baskets in place for Black Friday shoppers to enjoy.