Monday, June 9, 2014

50th anniversary of the Transcona Hi Neighbour Festival

This past weekend was the 50th anniversary of the Transcona Hi Neighbour Festival! Created by the Transcona Jaycees (with help from the Kinsmen and the Elks), the festival continues to bring the community together through the hard work of volunteers. The philosophy has remained the same all these years –community involvement and fun!

The first festival was in 1964, and brings in anywhere between 30,000 and 40,000 people over the 3 day event.

I’ve never been to the festival, but after one of our JCI Senators Bill Enefer reached out and gave me some insight to the history JCI has with the event, I was curious to learn more and get in on the fun!

Transcona Jaycee's & Hi Neighbour Float

Saturday’s parade was my first event, and it was great seeing the community out and engaging with their neighbors; cheering on the floats as they went by! Every year there are prizes for Best Floats awarded by the judges, and I think the crowd reaction has a part in who wins!

Later, “Hi Neighbor Sam”, the festival's official ambassador, announces the float winners, along with the “Good Neighbor” Awards, as nominated by members of the community – how cool is that?!

Interesting fact – did you know that the “Hi Neighbour Sam” Character was created by Roger Tychonik, a Jaycee member, and became the official mascot in 1967? A statue of Sam welcomes people into Transcona as you head east down Regent!

JCI Winnipeg President Danelle Hueging and "Hi Neighbor Sam"

After stopping at the “Whistle Pig” for lunch we were able to catch up with some of the festival’s founding members and current JCI Senators local legion celebrating a successful parade!

Active as ever, JCI Senators remain involved with the management and operation of the Transcona Jaycee Daycare Center on Winona Street, which was the first daycare in the area.

Wandering through the midway, catching up with familiar faces on the sidewalks and being swarmed by flamingo t-shirts, it was clear that this event is good for the community – it gets people involved, and engaged with each other, celebrating the true spirit of the “Hi Neighbour” festival.

It’s amazing what a group of like-minded people can get accomplished when they put their minds to it; 50 years later the festival is a testament to that! Hats off to the former members of the Transcona Jaycees for their good example of active citizenship  and community spirit; and thanks to them for their continued support of the JCI Winnipeg Chapter!

JCI Winnipeg Director Joel Mabon and JCI Winnipeg President Danelle Hueging

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