While work to bring rail service back to Vancouver Island continues, the Arrowsmith Potters Guild is holding its annual open house, skipping the Railways Days portion this year.
The summer celebration started three years ago with the 125th anniversary of the historic Esquimalt and Nanaimo Railway (E&N) and was followed by the 100th anniversary of the Parksville train station last summer.
The potters guild, which takes care of the station, hoped to make Railway Days an annual celebration, but operators of the rail component of the event are busy on other projects, said Jacie Herbison, former potters’ guild president.
Railway Days originally included heritage rail cars and locomotives brought in by the Canadian Railroad Historical Association — E&N Division, but they have been unable to secure permission to move the equipment from the Island Corridor Foundation (ICF) and Southern Rail Vancouver Island, who operate the railway.
Calls to those organizations were either not returned or they told The News they would let Herbison know when they made a decision and she could pass it on.
The potters guild needed to move forward with a plan for their event, including the need to obtain a permit from the City of Parksville, so this year they will celebrate the station they have lived in for 17 years and focus on their own work.
Herbison said they have been lucky with the weather in the past, and they will ensure there is plenty of water and shade for people to enjoy the beautiful park setting and community atmosphere.
It will be a fun family event with live pottery demonstrations, public participation, raku firings, free clay play for kids of all ages, explained Herbison.
The pottery studio and gallery will be teaming with the works of members available for sale with workshops, throwing demonstrations, information about pottery and a unique chance to tour a working studio and hear about all the different classes and opportunities for the public.
There will be plenty of free things to see and do, along with some great pottery to purchase and the great chance to make and keep your own special raku vase for just $10.
Watch www.arrowsmithpottersguild.bc.ca for more information or call 250-954-1872 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The open house runs Saturday, July 7 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Parksville station, behind the water tower on the Alberni Highway.
Meanwhile, the guild is trying to decide if they will take part in the ICF’s big opening of their newly refurbished train station in Nanaimo on July 18.
On Thursday, just before press deadline, The News was copied an e-mail from the E&N Division of the CRHA to the ICF, complaining they hadn’t been invited to the Nanaimo event in time and intended to be at the Parksville event.
The News couldn’t reach either group for confirmation by press time.