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Annual Entertainment Night in Alvina

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What are your plans for Saturday, June 10th? For 225 people, Alvena Community Center’s annual entertainment night will provide them with dinner and musical entertainment, provided by hometown favorite violinist Shelby Scherbanuik and Saskatoon’s Ukrainian Connection 2nd Edition. Ukrainian Connection features Walter Kyliuk on violin and banjo, Norman Woytowich on accordion, Darlene Hupaelo on rhythm guitar and vocals, Ken Pokoway on bass guitar and vocals, and Doug Martin on drums. Those listening to Saturday Night Dance on CJWW Radio will hear promotions for Alvena’s event when excerpts from the Ukrainian Connection show are played throughout the May dance.

There will be no ticket sales at the gate, with only 225 advance tickets sold and advertised to CJWW’s wider listener market and on their website, tickets for the event can sell out quickly. At just $35 each, it’s very reasonably priced for everything that’s included. In addition to a sumptuous meal and amazing musical entertainment, there will be a cash bar, sweepstakes and a 50/50 raffle. Ticket sales will end on Saturday, June 3rd, as meals are being served. You can buy tickets at Alvena Co-op and Alvena Insurance until Saturday, so don’t delay or you may find yourself sitting at home on June 10th.

The Arvina Community Center first opened in 1977 as a gathering place for residents of Alvina and surrounding communities. Forty-five years later, the center still exists, but the number of volunteers involved in the effort to make the community center a viable part of the community has dwindled to just seven. Over the years, the community center has hosted weddings, funerals, family reunions and various community events for those who still live in the village and elsewhere, but as the population in the village and surrounding Fish Creek Township dwindles, the challenge is keeping the center open and accessible. It becomes more difficult to use for such gatherings. Entertainment nights are a major fundraiser for the center, which has struggled through the pandemic with gatherings banned or severely limited in attendance. The center resumed its monthly bingo last fall, but attendance has still not returned to pre-pandemic levels as people seem to have gotten so used to staying at home.

Over the past few years, residents of small towns may have had several options for hosting social events, but with schools and churches closed in towns and villages across the province, facilities such as community centers are the last venues that can still host local events. Heat, electricity, and insurance are expenses that need to be maintained whether or not there is an event, just to keep the building in good shape. Without insurance, the building cannot be used. Without electricity, the furnace cannot function, and if it does not, it will not be long before the interior of the building begins to show signs of disuse.

Like so many other things in our small communities, the viability and viability of facilities depends largely on the willingness of local people to support efforts to maintain them.

Carol Baldwin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Wakaw Recorder

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