Willie Nelson, Shania Twain, Tina Turner — visitors to Youbou will be treated to an inordinate number of celebrity sightings later this month, thanks to a dedicated group of volunteers and their artistic abilities.
Members of the Youbou Community Association have been gathering each Sunday over the past month to assemble a team of celebrity mannequins that will be placed throughout the community, bearing directional and historical signage to help newcomers find their way and also get a sense of the local heritage.
“Cassy [Emerson] is the catalyst for the mannequins. It was her idea,” said Kim Ring, YCA spokeswoman. “She had some involvement with Mill Bay because apparently they do… ‘The Good Old Daze’ and they do historical mannequins throughout Mill Bay. I guess it’s part of their museum presentation.”
Volunteers have made 10 celebrity mannequins (including Elton John, Michael Jackson and Sunfest headliner Carrie Underwood) that fit with the theme of a big music festival.
“It’s been fun,” Ring said of the weekly volunteer gatherings at Cassy’s Coffee House. “It’s given us a chance to get together with people you might not otherwise.”
On Saturday, July 30, the YCA is hosting West of Sunfest, a one-day mini festival running from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., with the goal of engaging Sunfest visitors and hopefully raising money for the community association.
The activities will be held at the community hall in Youbou and start with a pancake breakfast, organized by the Youbou Community of Peace church group. At 10 a.m., the hall will host 21 market-style vendors from throughout the Cowichan Valley.
“We had no trouble filling vendor space,” said Ring.
The market will run until 4 p.m.
From noon until 8 p.m. there will be live music at the hall, including Billy Chernoff, Mary Egan and Whitford Bronco (a performance ‘donated’ by Sunfest, where the band is playing on Sunday). The hall will be a licensed facility during the day for anyone interested in a beer or other alcoholic beverages.
The Youbou Church will be open to the public in the afternoon and have some displays for those interested in learning more about the community’s history.
The YCA has been working hard to raise enough money to host an event like this.
“We’ve done a really intensive fundraising campaign. We’ve raised close to $2,000 in one month,” Ring said.
“We have secured some funding from our Area I rep, and we’ve had donations. People in Youbou have been so, so supportive. They’ve donated money, they’ve been at every hot dog sale, at our garage sale, at our bottle drive. It’s just been really, really incredible.”
Right now what the group needs is more volunteers.
“Lots of people are willing to be in the hall with us, like serving and doing that sort of stuff. We need some help with setup and take-down,” said Ring. They also need help coordinating parking, which is limited in Youbou.
Ring emphasized the support the YCA has received so far from Youbonians, but also noted that the community has been pretty sleepy the past 10 years or so when it comes to large events.
“One of the challenges has been getting people out again and to realize that if we want something to happen, we all have to do our part and do the volunteering thing again,” she said.
Anyone interested in helping out should contact volunteer coordinator Karen Dunnigan at 250-745-3586. They can also reach her through Facebook.