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Parksville celebrates Railway Days this weekend

People of all ages will enjoy Island Railway Days taking place this weekend, featuring the Arrowsmith Potters Guild’s Open House among many rail-related activities. - file photo
People of all ages will enjoy Island Railway Days taking place this weekend, featuring the Arrowsmith Potters Guild’s Open House among many rail-related activities.
— image credit: file photo

Children and adults wanting to make their own clay creations and try Raku Firing will want to attend Island Railway Days this weekend at the Parksville train station.

The celebration marks the 125th anniversary of the completion of the railway and the Arrowsmith Potters Guild, who have occupied the station since 1995, will be holding their open house to complement the weekend activities.

“It just makes it more interesting and gives everyone in the family something to look at and do,” said Jacie Herbison, president of the Arrowsmith Potters Guild.

As with last year’s events at the 100th birthday party for the train station, people can purchase a bisque-fired item for $10, decorate it with glaze and participate in the firing. New this year, the guild will also offer a Clay Play Handbuilding event, where people can make a clay creation, with the assistance of the potters, decorate it and leave for the guild members to fire and finish with clear glaze. This also costs $10. 

Herbison said the guild does both types of activities during workshops and classes and she’s always impressed with the creations the children come up with.

“I always love the kid’s stuff because they haven’t got a preconceived idea of what it should look like, so they just make what they want it to be.”

The clay creations can be picked up at a later date, and for those visiting, arrangements can me made for pick-up.

The open house will also include pottery-making demonstrations, and will give people the opportunity to sign up for classes in the fall. 

To help celebrate, the Island Corridor Foundation, Southern Rail of Vancouver Island and the E&N Division of the Canadian Railroad Historical Association will be on hand.

People can tour heritage rail cars, locomotives and speeders, peruse rail displays and enjoy children’s mini train rides.

New this year there will also be a Shriner’s Club pancake breakfast on Sunday from 8-11, with proceeds benefitting the BC Children’s Hospital. 

Island Railway Days happens Saturday and Sunday, July 9 and 10, from 10-4 p.m. both days. Opening ceremonies will take place July 9 from 11:30 until noon with local dignitaries. The train station is located at 600 Alberni Hwy. in Parksville.

Volunteers are still needed to help with traffic control, those interested can contact the guild through their website www.arrowsmithpottersguild.bc.ca. More information on the event can also be found on the website or by calling 250-954-1872.

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