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Flowing in the right direction with the second year of Creekfest Reimagined

You don’t need a creek running through your backyard this July to experience the second annual event celebrating the ecology of Fish Creek Provincial Park.

From July 17 to 23, the Friends of Fish Creek are putting on Creekfest-Reimagined. This continues the tradition of educating and entertaining people through the lens of their namesake.

Although Creekfest has been an ongoing event since 2011, this year marks the second annual online event branded as Creekfest-Reimagined. The move to an online format was made in 2020 at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Out of an abundance of caution, the Friends of Fish Creek are sticking with that format.

“Although our community is certainly ready to move on from the pandemic and get back to in-person meetings and events, it is still not safe to host a large-scale festival in Fish Creek Provincial Park at this time,” said the Friends of Fish Creek in a prepared media release.

Similar to last year, Creekfest-Reimagined will feature online presentations meant to help teach kids and adults about the natural world and the value of places like Fish Creek Provincial Park. The main headliner for the event is Peter Puffin. The Juno award-winning children’s songwriter and performer has performed for the event in the past.

Fish Creek, near the Votier Flats. ETHAN WARD/ FOR LIVEWIRE CALGARY

Switch to online

Moving to an online format the previous year was a big jump for event organizers. As with many at the time, the ways of Zoom calls were still new, and designing an event around them proved challenging.

Chris Lalonde, communications manager for the Friends of Fish Creek, said that coordinating with presenters was the toughest challenge.

“The biggest challenge last year was the communication needed to arrange those presentations. Trying to organize all these different groups, fitting them into specific time slots was a lot of work. It wasn’t necessarily something we were used to doing,” Lalonde said.

Benefits of Creekfest online

The challenges did not outweigh the benefits, however. Lalonde said that the online delivery of Creekfest was easier, and in some ways, a better method of getting their message out to the public.  

“People could watch these programs from anywhere in the world. We weren’t restricted to a one-day, five-hour event. It was spread out over a week where anyone could participate. Having it in person limits it to only those who can make the trip down,” Lalonde said.

Despite these benefits, the Friends of Fish Creek are anticipating a return to live events next year.

Only if the current trend of the pandemic continues. As long as cases go down and vaccination rates go up, the live event at the park itself will continue the tradition of live music and interactive stations. While digital presentations can be smooth, nothing beats old-fashioned in-person interaction.

More about the details of the event and the presentations taking place can be found on the Friends of Fish Creek website.