Monday, May 25th11.2°C

Blossom Time Fair

When Adina Frank heard that Kelowna Hospital Auxiliaries were looking for plant donations for the 1975 Blossom Time Fair fundraiser, she picked up her shovel, and for the next 40 years loaded her truck with beautiful specimens from her garden. Nearing her 100th birthday in 2016, and slowed somewhat by a heart attack, she walks her garden aided by a long hoe for support, and supervises the digging and potting for this years’ Fair, to be held Friday, May 22 - 9:00am – 1:00pm - at Cottonwoods Care Centre.

Blossom Time Fair, a 63 year fundraising tradition, features fun and activities for the entire family with plant sales from a dozen private donors bringing in close to 1/3 of the net Fair proceeds. However, increasingly, longstanding, large donors have had to give up their gardens or sadly, are deceased. Donations are perennials, nourished by gardeners who love plants. Some may even have originally been purchased at a Blossom Time Fair. Frank’s donations for 2015 include delphiniums, irises, peonies, poppies, dianthus, as well as plants that have seeded themselves, like asters, sunflowers, bachelor buttons and lupines.

Pat Westheuser, 2015 Blossom Time Fair Co-Chair, says, “Perhaps younger gardeners will answer our call for donations in future, as Adina and others did in the past. Perennials are the plant of choice. Annuals are subject to frost and constant care until established. It is rewarding to inspect your garden in the spring to discover the perennials returning. Adina feels grateful that she has been able to participate and she shows up at every Fair. We love having her there and hope she can join us this year.”

Ms. Frank emigrated from Russia ultimately settling in Kelowna, a city she chose for the fine sandy soil on her selected property where she could realize her dream of gardening perennials and vegetables. Her generous donation of plants, and the substantial funds they have raised to enhance patient comfort and care at KGH and its care facilities, led to the Kelowna Hospital Auxiliary nomination, a few years ago, for the “Caring Canadian Award”; a recognition for outstanding service and contribution to community. The award, presented by Mayor Walter Gray, was fittingly made in the beauty and privacy of her beloved garden.

Along with the plants, Adina Frank has annually donated a beautiful, personally crocheted tablecloth that has been raffled at the Fair. With her failing eyesight, Ms. Frank believes the 2015 tablecloth may be her last. The Auxiliary will hold a special Christmas raffle for this years’ tablecloth.


Drive one for literacy

Join JCI Vernon, Junction Literacy Centre and Watkin Motors Ford Saturday June 6th to support literacy in your community! Hosted at the Fairfield Inn & Suites on Anderson Way, the public is encouraged to come and test drive a Ford in order to raise money for literacy in our community.

Ford Motor Company and its dealers launched a program called Drive 4 UR Community, designed to help raise funding for local community groups and nonprofit organizations. Watkin Motors will provide the cars to be test-driven. For every valid test drive completed per family, Ford Motor Company will donate $20 to the Junction Literacy Center, up to a maximum of $6,000.

“We are so grateful to Watkin Motors Ford for partnering with us to support literacy programs in our community” said JCI Vernon Member and event captain Karla Ziegler, “it’s an easy, no-cost way for the public to support a fundamental life skill.” There is absolutely no sales pressure. It’s a great opportunity to test drive a new car, learn more about the latest technology in auto manufacturing and see what vehicle matches your needs.

This event is part of a larger JCI Vernon initiative called “Grow it Forward”, where four groups of JCI members were given $50 in November of 2014 and the task to grow the fund into a larger sum that would benefit the organization of their choice. "We are very excited that JCI has chosen the Junction Literacy Centre as a recipient for the event. The donations will allow us to continue to provide literacy support to struggling students in an effort to improve their reading skills and boost their confidence." says Wendy Aasen, Executive Director. Since the start of the project JCI Vernon members have organized popcorn sales at the Christmas Light Up, Dog Treat sales, a Zumbathon and a drive-thru breakfast all benefiting various community groups.

During the Test Drive a Ford for Literacy event, JCI Vernon will also be hosting a concession and lunch BBQ sponsored by A&W Vernon with proceeds going to the JCI Vernon scholarship fund with the Community Foundation of the North Okanagan. So bring your family out to Test Drive a Ford for Literacy 9:00am – 3:30pm on Saturday June 6th at the Fairfield Inn. For more information you visit or email [email protected] 

Climb Out of the Darkness

On June 20th, women across the globe and right here in the Kelowna area will be participating in the 3rd annual Climb Out of the Darkness to raise awareness of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders like postpartum depression (PPD), anxiety, OCD and psychosis. 

Postpartum depression, which affects 1 in every 7 women, is the most common complication of childbirth. On June 20th, Sylvia Amsler will be leading a team up Knox Mountain to symbolize a collective rise out of the darkness, raise awareness of maternal mental illness, and to raise funds to support Postpartum Progress, a non-profit organization to help support moms around the world. 

Postpartum Progress ( is a non-profit organization and online community of support resources for women experiencing postpartum depression and all other mental illnesses related to pregnancy and childbirth. Today, half a million women annually are accessing up-to-date information in plain language about perinatal mood and anxiety disorders on the Postpartum Progress blog ( and, more importantly, are able to hear from other moms who have recovered. 

The funds raised from this event will allow Postpartum Progress to create new educational materials to be used by obstetricians, pediatricians and others, as well as new materials to help educate the media on the public health impact of postpartum depression and related illnesses on mothers and children. 

More info: 


Keeping families together

This Friday and Saturday May 22nd and 23rd, 24 teams from Thompson- Okanagan, Kootenays, Northern BC, Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island will face off at Kelowna’s Capital News Centre sports complex to compete in the 2015 TRUE Consulting Hockey and Indoor Soccer Tournament. Since its launch in 2008, the popular TRUE Consulting Tournament has raised $160,000 for RMH BC, funding over 2,100 nights of accommodation for families who must travel to Vancouver for their child’s major medical treatment. The TRUE Consulting Hockey and Soccer Tournaments are run by volunteers and made possible by the generosity of the Okanagan engineering and construction community, including developers, municipalities, engineers, contractors, and suppliers.

“Last year’s Hockey Tourney was a great success, raising $30,000; with the addition of the Soccer Tournament, we hope to raise even more this year” said Dave Pritchard, P.Eng., Partner at TRUE Consulting and organizer of the TRUE Tournament. “Ronald McDonald House BC has been such an amazing support to so many families of sick children from throughout the province. We are very proud to support RMH BC and the families from our community who need their services.”

Ronald McDonald House BC is a “home away from home” for families when they must travel to Vancouver for their child’s life-saving treatment. At the House, these families have access to home-cooked meals, warm beds, and other services, which put joy and normalcy back into their lives. Most importantly, families have a safe, affordable place where they can stay together under one roof. Approximately 42% of RMH BC families come from Kelowna and other locations in the Interior of BC.

To learn more about Ronald McDonald House BC and its services to BC and Yukon families, please visit

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