The Squamish Days Loggers Sports Festival is an action-packed weekend of events and festivities. At its heart is a very dedicated group of people.
Volunteers are the Heart of Squamish Days
Logistically demanding, the festival requires extensive organization not just on the weekend, but in the year leading up to the event as well. This is a community event run by volunteers, and each year for the last 60 years they have created an event that has woven itself into the fabric of Squamish life, and built something that has given much back to the local area. Squamish Days volunteers come from all walks of life, and are of all ages.
Some are new to the event, and some have literally invested decades into organizing the event. No matter what the involvement, community pride and dedication to service is a common bond.
Meet the Multi-Generational Team
The Hurford Family
Nowhere is this commitment more evident than with the Hurford family. Three generations of the family have been involved in Squamish Days, harkening all the way back to Vic Hurford, a pioneer of the Squamish logging community. He donated equipment and time to recognize this industry that was the lifeblood for many.
“Volunteering for a world class festival like Squamish Days is a great opportunity to be connected to an industry that has helped create access to some of the most spectacular back country, views, trails, and hikes we currently enjoy.”
Following in his footsteps was his son, John. Currently the Show Chairman, John has been part of Squamish Days for 38 years, carrying on his father’s legacy. Despite the blood, sweat, and tears of almost four decades of volunteerism, John still speaks highly of the experience: “Volunteering for a world class festival like Squamish Days is a great opportunity to be connected to an industry that has helped create access to some of the most spectacular back country, views, trails, and hikes we currently enjoy.”
Despite the blood, sweat, and tears of almost four decades of volunteerism, John still speaks highly of the experience: “Volunteering for a world class festival like Squamish Days is a great opportunity to be connected to an industry that has helped create access to some of the most spectacular back country, views, trails, and hikes we currently enjoy.”
Continuing the family tradition, John’s kids maintain close ties to the festival. Armand holds down the role as Show MC, and is no slouch at the Axe Throw. Chelsea is the Souvenir Coordinator, a role that has its roots in her helping out at the concession stand as a 10-year-old.
For the Hurfords, Squamish Days is something that is intrinsically connected to their family heritage, and to the town they grew up in.
Chelsea can’t remember a time when the festival wasn’t part of her life, at any age; “It’s a family thing. For as long as I can remember Squamish Days has been a huge part of my life. My Dad and Grandpa both spent most of their spare time during the spring and summer months preparing the grounds for show time. My sister, brother and I often would be along for the ride. We rode around on machines, painted lines on logs, (and) pulled weeds from the bleachers…”
Some longtime volunteers became involved first as competitors. Jacqulin McNicol remembers cutting her leg in the crosscut saw event, rushing to the hospital for 13 stiches, then coming back to the grounds and convincing John Hurford to let her run the choker race, which she ended up winning. Now holding down multiple positions as Director/Secretary/Kettle Boil Event Manager, her role with the festival is more demanding but decidedly less dangerous.
The challenge (and beauty) of a community-driven event like Squamish Days is that most volunteers wear multiple hats. It’s not only a unique opportunity to experience multiple facets of the logistically challenging event, but a reminder that “the festival not only includes Loggers Sports but also arts, music, culture and a rich history which makes Squamish such an amazing place to live”, states Jacqulin McNicol.
Bryan Couture, the festival President, also got his start as a competitor in the 1970’s.
With over 40 years of involvement in Squamish Days, he speaks highly of the committee involved each year, touting them as “passionate, community-minded individuals who come together, giving countless volunteer hours to create a weekend to showcase their community”
Harold Wilson is no stranger to multiple hats. He is on the Board of Directors, as well in charge of security. His responsibilities include managing other volunteers involved with Ticket Sales, Security, and Parking.
He works on behalf of the Squamish Curling Club, one of six local organizations that help to provide volunteers for the event. In return for this and other support, the festival donates a proration of proceeds earned, hundreds of thousands of dollars over the history of Squamish Days.
It’s All About the Volunteers
Despite having a core group of dedicated volunteer directors, the size and scope of the festival requires more volunteer help each year. New energy is valuable in shaping the future of the festival, as long-time volunteers step aside to allow for others to contribute to the Squamish Days legacy.
“It will be hard for me to step away but I believe that it is time for the younger generation to get involved”, says longtime volunteer Debbie Patterson.
Retirement from Squamish Days is not too far off, after a long and storied stint with the festival. Most recently the Show Secretary, in her 35 years of volunteering she’s held roles as President, Sponsorship Coordinator, and the Miss Squamish Pageant Coordinator, to name a few. Born and raised in Squamish to a family that were some of the early pioneers of the valley, her commitment to the festival, and the community as a whole is obvious and inspiring.
As Squamish Days approaches the 60th year celebrations, the festival continues to grow and evolve. With this growth comes fresh perspective and new ideas, and this inspiration can help usher the festival along into the future. The idea of community is rooted in a commitment to growth and support, with a nod to a shared heritage.
Squamish Days has grown over the years to play a large role in how people engage in, and interact with the community. With continued volunteerism and collective energy, the festival will do so for many years to come.