It was a beautiful day today in Cookstown for the annual Boonanza event hosted by the Cookstown and District Chamber of Commerce, an opportunity for businesses and the community to interact with fun activities for all ages.
Heidi Visser, vice president of the Chamber of Commerce, took the lead in getting the businesses on board and overseeing the event.
“Boonanza is an annual Halloween trick-or-treat around the town and Cookstown; we have a merchant’s witch hunt, where families can go to all the merchants and collect a stamp like a Bingo card, and at the end of the day they can bring it back to win some prizes. It's a fun day,” she said.
It's a chance for businesses to open their doors and raise awareness on what local services are available in a way that generates community spirit.
Tigers, witches, skunks, ghosts, skeletons, dinosaurs, werewolves, and devils, were just some of the costumes worn by attendees. Commuters driving through Cookstown could be seen slowing down and smiling at all the activity happening on the main strip.
Trish Beesley, president of the Chamber of Commerce, was in a full princess costume and added some insight into the event.
“Boonanza has been going on for quite some time. Pam Playter organized it from its inception. It's a community event. It's a team effort. Visser is the lead, we go to her; Tabitha Kowalski is the behind-the-scenes person; all the graphics you see, the promotions, she’s just amazing,” Beesley said.
The Chamber also produces similar events such as the 'Light Up Night' event, which takes place at the end of November and the 'Wing Ding' event in the spring, all by volunteers.
Other contributors to the event are the South Simcoe Theatre, which has some exciting performances coming up, such as Five Alarm, Camelot — The Panto, I Hate Hamlet and others. The Cookstown library also participated in Boonanza with former Innisfil mayor and library board member Barb Baguley and Wendy Ricciardi, the town's community relations and partnerships representative who were handing out goodies to the kids. Baguley and Ricciardi say they are happy to participate in these events as it introduces many families to the services that the library provides.
“This is a great opportunity to interact with the public, so we take these opportunities anytime we can. This event brought visitors who had never been here (library) before," Baguley says.
“We’re happy to have people come through our door to discover and explore the library. Maybe some haven’t been here before. It's a great event in the community,” Ricciardi added.
Newly re-elected Innisfil Mayor Lynn Dollin also attended the event on Saturday.
“Thanks to all the volunteers who worked to make Boonanza such a success,” she said.