Mission readies for 120th anniversary celebration

The main event happens Sept. 29 at Heritage Park Centre

A day-long party celebrating Mission’s 120th birthday happens Sept. 29.

The entire event will take place at Heritage Park Centre beginning at 12 p.m. with the official ceremony. There will be cake, speeches and live music.

“One-hundred and twenty years is nothing to sneeze at,” said organizing committee member Bronwen Sutherland. “[Mission is] one of the older communities in the valley.”

The group has been planning the celebration for months, and has included plenty of modern and historical activities.

An old-fashioned sports day starts at 1 p.m. Nostalgic races include sack hop, egg and spoon and three-legged run.

Everything is free and you just have to show up to participate, said Sutherland.

Inside Heritage Park Secondary School, there will be storyboards and displays from numerous groups, including the Mission Community Archives, the museum, Mission Arts Council, library, Mission Chamber of Commerce, Rotary clubs, Lifetime Learning and Soapbox Derby.

At 2 p.m. Karin Edberg-Lee will host a fashion show in the cafeteria with local models and stories. Titled Mission: Times We Had and Clothes We Wore, the show will highlight local events over the past 120 years while models take to the stage dressed in period clothing.

From the coveralls railway workers wore to fancy dresses dance ladies donned to Legion dances in 1929, there will be lots to see and learn.

Evelyn Horn Boon, born and raised in Dewdney, will be one of the models dressed in 1949 attire as a Strawberry princess candidate, and Doreen Phelps will model an outfit from Eaton’s when the Mission store closed.

“History is a living thing that’s all around us,” said Edberg-Lee, whose oldest outfit is a 1923  wedding dress.

Tea and sandwiches will be served, and the event is expected to run for 1.5 hours.

Local filmmaker, Ian Lowe, is also working on a 15-minute documentary, starting with the O.M.I. (Oblates of Mary Immaculate), which founded the St. Mary’s Mission and Residential school, and ending with the establishment of Fraser River Heritage Park on the same site. There are a lot of events in between, such as the soapbox derby and many festivals, said Low, a Heritage Park school graduate. He will also compare present day sites, such as First Avenue, and historic buildings to old photographs.

So much has changed, he added.

In the evening, former mayors and councillors will be introduced, beginning at 7 p.m. There will be more cake and performances by local choirs and dancers from Fraser Valley Academy of Dance, CanDance, Serenata Singers, and Joy Vox Choir.

Tiller’s Folley will wrap up the day.

Heritage Park Centre is located at 33700 Prentis Ave.

For more information visit the group’s Facebook page, Mission’s 120 Year Celebration.