Fernie was exploding with sausage sizzles, Vegemite eating competitions, and top 100 tracks on Sunday, January 26, in celebration of Australia Day. This year’s festivities carried a philanthropic air as businesses used the event to raise money for the Australian bushfires.
“Australia gives culture to our community…so tonight, we give back to all the disaster that’s happening to them,” said Chris Finlin, attendee at the Legion’s fundraiser. “We have enough [Australians] in our community…so it’s nice to be here and give back to them.”
The Fernie Legion bustled throughout the evening with live music, mullet haircuts, a didgeridoo competition, meat pies, and a silent auction. All funds raised, including the $100 donated by The Fernie Legion, go toward the World Wildlife Fund’s bushfire appeal, as well as the Red Cross.
Australia Day undeniably carried more weight this year for Fernieites, many of which have been personally affected by the wildfires. It was heartwarming to see the celebration reworked with altruistic flair in the face of such ongoing devastation.
Fundraisers for the effort were also hosted at Fernie Alpine Resort, where a sausage sizzle collected donations from riders throughout the day. The Pub at Park Place Lodge and Himalayan Spice Bistro also held Australia Day Parties in support of the bushfire relief efforts.
Other businesses in town took to celebrating the event too, with live music playing at The Griz Bar, meat pies sold at The Rusty Edge, and evening festivities ensuing at The Fernie Hotel, The Royal, and The Central among others.