It’s been a year of keeping your distance, not getting out of the house and avoiding the crowds, so finding something for the masses that would be fun and encouraging activity is a rare treat at this time of pandemic.
Saturday’s EGG cruise was all it took.
An estimated 2,500 people took the opportunity to move their screens away and go outside to participate in the 25 activities that created the Easter weekend for the afternoon.
The cruisers were challenged at the Pine Center Mall and at City Hall / Rolling Mix Concrete Arena parking lots to try to find a character dressed in red and white stripes and thick-rimmed glasses to observe Where’s Wald. The fox on the run played hide-and-seek and posed from a safe distance on Moore’s Meadow, and at large was a moose entertaining the children at Cpl. Darren Fitzpatrick Park of Courage.
Traditional Prince George drummers beat the skins for five hours straight to entertain people who had fallen out of the northern internal health unit. People took selfies in front of the Terry Fox / Bridget Moran statue and at the Ginter House Foundation. Ron’s Towing was set up at the Hart Center mall to share bubble and colored chalk makers, while volunteers housed in church parking lots handed out Easter eggs and potato chips to everyone who came to visit.
Jes Gagnon and his wife Robyn loaded their two young sons, five-year-old Micha and three-year-old Sam, into their vehicle, and they went to all 25 stations set up for the five-hour event.
“We thought it was really great,” Jes said. “The boys had a lot of fun driving around trying to find characters and taking driving candies.”
Gagnon is a marketing / communications officer for community and continuing education at New Caledonian College, and has been working from home since the job began in October because of the pandemic. He and his wife and sons welcomed the opportunity to do something different, because most of the recreational events did not happen, and the city facilities are still locked in order to reduce the danger of the virus.
“It was interesting to be home all the time,” he said. “Micha is in kindergarten, so there are some parties there, but Sam hasn’t yet, so he stays at home a lot doing nothing because he has nothing to do. This is much better than staying home and watching TV all day, and they kept us safe and distanced us. “
Jane Gauthier had about 300 search engine cars at Estate North Lights Estate for the passing bean bag throwing game that came with COVID – all hop-aimed throws had to be performed from your vehicle.
“I just loved spending all and every smiles and families together,” Gauthier, community development coordinator for the Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Northern BC, said. “It was so awful to see so many people enjoying the day. We had children with grandparents and multigenerational families. The kids were tossing from the car seats, and I was pretty impressed with everyone.
“We also saw a lot of students and it was really great to see. They were just hit hard by COVID. It’s so great to be a part of something like that. “
People who took part in the cruise are asked to send their photos on Facebook and Instagram to #pgeggcellentcruise to be eligible for prizes. There is a special award category for students of the College of New Caledonia and the University of Northern BC who determine their student status with I am a student when they upload their photos. Therefore, they qualify for food / merchandise / restaurant vouchers, a $ 500 CNC tuition voucher, a $ 500 snowboard, and an iPad. For children, bicycles, scooters and the Nintendo Switch game console are among the coveted prizes to be shared next week.
EGGcellent cruise organizer Dave Horton, whose usual job as Bible Camp Director Ness Lake was temporarily wiped out of the pandemic, was also prompted by a Halloween candy cruise in October and a Family Day Adventure Cruise in February, to try to get people out of their pandemic funk. These events were also extremely popular and Horton was thrilled to see so many sponsors, volunteers and participants gathered behind the finish line again on Saturday.
“It wasn’t crowded, but there were a lot more people at each station I went to than I expected, we were shocked by the numbers,” Horton said. “We wanted to push people into parks and open spaces and there was no reason to crowd in line in your car.”
Although Saturday’s cruise was geared toward children and families, Horton wanted to give students a reason to get involved, and sponsorship awards certainly did.
“This year has been terrible for those guys,” Horton said. “They pay the full price for online learning, and then all the restrictions in dormitories and housing, so we focused a whole series of awards on them, and a lot of students showed up.
“Our city just had 2,500 people involved in city activities, what else can the community do besides Prince George? It is devastating how united we are as a community through COVID, trying to meet the mental health and social needs of the people we currently have. We try to give people a safe opportunity so they don’t just take any option they want. If we don’t do the job of providing families with safe opportunities, they will find insecure ones.
“I look at this EGGcellent Easter cruise in a lot of ways as fun before wrapping up,” he said. “We have to be so close (to the end of the pandemic).”