Feature Story                                                                                                              Monday, July 14, 2014


And We Partied!

Downtown Chilliwack summer music fest series kicks off

Staff/Voice photos


Steve Elliot makes Party in the Park explode with excitement Friday at Central Community Park. Below, violinist Hannes and his mother Karin.


t's just not summer unless it has Party in the Park in it. On Friday, the annual summer music festival series downtown blasted off at Central Community Park at Young Rd. and Victoria Ave.


This year, the script calls for just four Fridays, instead of the eight as in previous years and the organizers have brought in the same local bands who played there 2 years ago. Back also, is the Family Funzone with an army of face painters, the food fair and the merchandise market.


A ten-year-old violinist stands on the stage at Five Corners, seemingly unaware of all the eyes on him.


Hannes slowly starts into a classical song. It sounds like something from Bach or Mozart, and as he moves deeper into the medley, the virtuoso rattles off a blistering rendition of Nirvanna's Teen Spirit.


The young Chilliwack phenom goes by the name of Hannes, and for now, he'll be performing under that mononym.


"We don't want to use his last name yet, he's so young, so he just goes by his first name of Hannes," she said his mother Karin.


Hannes, who's been playing for about 3.5 and studied at the Chilliwack Academy of Muisic, was discovered when he applied for a busker's permit from the City of Chilliwack with the help of his mom.


City Hall granted young Hannes the licence, and then later contacted Party in the Park organizers about him playing at the event.
It doesn't matter what genre Hannes has it covered.
"I play classical, rock, fiddle, stuff like that," said the young maestro.


Hundreds of people listened to Big Shiny play Party in the Park last Friday in Chilliwack.


"We applied for the buskers licence. They were impressed with him and recommended him," she said brimming with pride. "He's the best, you'll see."
Watch for Hannes at Save On Foods downtown on Yale Rd., outside the Chilliwack Library and Five Corners. He also has a YouTube clip here.
Several dignitaries were on hand, including Chilliwack Mayor Sharon Gaetz, who thanked sponsors.
"You recognize the value of bringing community together, having people come and just have fun. We could not do it without you," she said "I hope that you recognize that what we're doing in the downtown is part of the revitalization of this area. When you go down Mill St. tonight, take a good look at all of the improvements that have happened. Our community park over at Five corners. There is lots of things happening down here."
Great Canadian Casinos and Chances in Chilliwack are one of the main sponsors this year for Party in the Park.
Chris Lynn, General Manager, Chances Chilliwack, said the company was glad that Party in the Park organizers encouraged them to be a part of the event this year and that the company was only too happy to oblige.
"We hope everybody has a fantastic weekend and really enjoys the experience here at the Chances Chilliwack Community Stage at Party in the Park," he said over the P.A. system.

 BIA Executive Director Kyle Williams said that the shows will be back-to-back in July and then they'll take a few weeks off and back-to-back Fridays again in August.

"The reason we do this is we want you to come downtown and have a good time. This wouldn't be possible without all your local businesses. The BIA, we represent over three hundred downtown businesses who rely on your support and in turn they pay us back too. There are a number that are open during Party in the Park and there are some that aren't open, so come back during business hours," he said.
Williams was thankful for the support from the business community who he says really stepped up to make the event happen this year.


Paul Filek sings on the Chances Community Stage last Friday at Party in the Park.

"The reason we do this is we want you to come downtown and have a good time. This wouldn't be possible without all your local businesses. The BIA, we represent over three hundred downtown businesses, who rely on your support and in turn they pay us back too," he said. "Make your way around the market and be sure to check out The Food Fair, it is fantastic."
Hundreds of people lounged on chairs in the park's bowl and listened to ukelele player Matthew Cheverie, Cold Chain, Paul Filek, Steve "Elvis" Elliot and Big Shiny (a.k.a. Pardon My Striptease) played
Elliot's act is larger than life. He lives and breathes The King. Tonight, his big pink Cadillac is parked right next to the stage. He's always a crowd favourite and throws out teddy bears while crooning to throngs of his adoring fans.
Big Shiny, a.k.a Pardon My Striptease, with lead singer Andrew Christopher, Dylan Weightman, Adam Coleman and Brendan Woodroff, did a good job of 90s cover tunes such as; Chinese Chicken by the Bare Naked Ladies and All Star by Smashmouth injected with some of their own flavour.
The next Party in the Park is Friday, July 18. Central Community Park is located at Young Rd. and Victoria Ave. in Chilliwack.


For more information, visit www.downtownchilliwack.com


See more photos below.


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