Elko Parks and Recreation formed as a registered society in 1987. This group puts on a fabulous breakfast as a fundraiser every second Sunday of the month from nine to noon. “There are only a few of us, so we rely on volunteers to help, this keeps the hall going,” says longtime resident Phyllis Johnson.
Phyllis says that the group rents out the hall for a variety of functions such as weddings, funerals and family reunions plus catering dinners for special events. “One year we catered to a group of cyclists from Grey Creek providing bagged lunches and dinner,” she says.
This hall is the hub of the community. Constructed in the 1950s, it was primarily used for dances. In the 1970s it doubled in size.
A new roof was put on the hall in the 90s and a new kitchenwas built in 2006.
With a new kitchen, they decided to make use of the hall on a regular basis by doing a breakfast. They received good support from neighbouring communities. “Despite the hard work we have lots of fun. We’re central to the South Country and we’ve been able to keep the price to five dollars for two pancakes, two sausage patties, two eggs, juice and coffee.”
Phyllis says that next month they will have to increase to seven dollars because coffee and other supplies have gone up. “We need to make some money from this to cover costs. This is a place to socialize, we want to keep it running, it’s all volunteer work so we could use more volunteers. We use real orange juice and you can have as much coffee as you want.”
No stranger to hard work Phyllis was the first woman to work on the planer chain pulling two-by-ten and two-by-12 fir boards at the Elko sawmill.
After a few months she moved into the office working on payroll. Back then there were 450 employees at the mill, today there are less than 200. “They produce more in a day than we did in a month, it has become so automated,” she says. “We used to be a lumber town, now people work at the mines. There are newlyweds and young families here, lots of babies, so it’s nice to see.”
The annual Spring Fling Craft Fair is coming up on April 16 from ten to four. All the proceeds from the fair go towards hall operations. The Festival of Entertainers weekend on August 13 and 14 includes shows, dinner and breakfast. There is entertainment from out of province and open mike for anyone. There will also be a black powder shoot with shooters in full costume. “The shows are mostly singers, many are from the cowboy poetry circuit,” says Phyllis.
The Elko garden club with 19 members that meet every third Monday evening in the hall. “Last summer we planted 16 trees on the property to provide shade,” she says.
Phyllis and her husband Garfield took on the job of watering the trees. Garfield is president and contact person for the cemetery board and looks after it as well. It’s amazing what six to eight people can do for their community.