“This is an exciting time to live in the Valley” – Councillor Carl Bromwich

BARRY’S BAY – Attendees of the Madawaska Valley Recreation, Heritage and Culture Committee meeting on November 5 could barely contain their excitement in a morning full of good news. Chair Bromwich and Recreation & Community Development Coordinator Paul Nopper, shared with the committee a long list of exciting requests and reports about activities throughout the township. 
Girls Night Out coming to the Bay again!
Ann Maika made a compelling presentation to the 
committee requesting an in-kind donation of $574.97 for the rental of the Paul J. Yakabuski Community Centre Lounge.
Maika’s proposition to the committee was this, 
“This holiday season consumers plan to spend $1,800 per household on Christmas presents. What if we could keep that money in our local community?” 
Maika said the Girls Night Out, an event that combines local Christmas gift shopping, a dance and a licensed bar, would help “support local economic development, local consumers and local healthcare.”
The first Girls Night Out, held in early October at the Royal Canadian Legion in Barry’s Bay, was an overwhelming success. Maika said the event began with a few local women business owners brainstorming ways to launch new products and grew from four to over 25 local businesses drawing overwhelming community support with 300 attendees and raising over $700 for St. Francis Valley Hospital Foundation (SFVHF). 
Maika said, “When we polled consumers via social media about our next event location, Barry’s Bay was the clear winner. This establishes us as the hub of the Ottawa Valley.”
The second event will take place on December 11 at the Paul J. Yakabuski Community Centre from 6 p.m. until 1 a.m. The event will include a wide variety of local vendors selling seasonal gifts, a Christmas tree decorating contest for local businesses, a red carpet photo booth for attendees, door prizes, 50\50 tickets, a DJ, bar and dancing. Admittance is free for women. Men will be charged a $10 man tax. 
Proceeds from the 50/50, the tree decorating contest and the man tax will be donated to SFVHF.
Within 24 hours of announcing the event 30 local vendors signed up and 200 accepted invitations to attend via social media. Some people wanted to know the date of the event early enough so that they could plan holidays to the area. These people will be supporting local businesses like gas stations, restaurants and motels. 
The event will be supported with print advertising, including our local newspaper, “which is kind of a must” said Maika. There will be flyers listing the vendors and the event will be promoted through social media.
With the new, larger venue Maika said that Girls Night Out could rival the Petawawa Showcase which has thousands of attendees. Petawawa Showcase is recognized provincially. With time, “I think we can be that big,” said Maika.
Bromwich responded to Maika’s presentation by saying, “This fits nicely with our policy of in-kind donations, events where money goes back into our organizations is just what we need. This is why our healthcare and township is so healthy, so vibrant, because of volunteerism like this.” Councillor Ernie Peplinski said, “Great idea, wonderful presentation. The fact that you are getting people together is so important, it’s what we want to see more of. I certainly support it wholeheartedly.”
The request was approved.


Get your November 11, 2015 edition of The Valley Gazette to read the full story.