Community events calendar adapts during COVID-19

What do you do with an events calendar during a time of self-isolation?

Submitted by Columbia Valley Chamber of Commerce

In the latter half of March, events started being postponed or cancelled, which left the calendar empty. However, shortly after that more and more people started organizing online events: professional development webinars, online fitness and yoga classes, Zoom hangouts for teens, ongoing contests and challenges, and so on. Our calendar now has multiple events happening every day. An active community like the Columbia Valley will find creative ways to connect.

We have also expanded our radius to include some events hosted beyond the valley, such as business development webinars from Community Futures Central Kootenay, and cross-Canada musical and literary performances sponsored by the National Arts Centre.

We’ve become increasingly reliant on social media, especially Facebook, to seek out events to add to the calendar. Additionally, there is a significant increase in email communications from businesses and organizations which is another way we hear about things that could help our valley.

Our valley is very social and community-driven. We started this calendar to help residents and visitors find the events that most interest them, to help them connect and engage with our community. Once we’re able to gather socially again, our calendar will be up-to-date and ready to help us all re-connect. We feel that as a community calendar it will be a more important resource than it was before with helping event organizers get the word out about their events.

Around 60 events disappeard from the calendar during the pandemic. This includes some major events, like the Rocky Mountain Rally. The rest of Pynelogs’ Love it Live music series was cancelled. The Horsethief Creek Pub & Eatery hosts quite a lot of events; we had over a dozen on the calendar for them this spring. All those had to be cancelled.

The original purpose of the calendar for connecting residents, visitors and event organizers still remains relevant today, if not even more so. At first we weren’t sure what to do when COVID-19 started, other than remove the postponed or cancelled events. There was a lot of uncertainty at the end of March about which events were considered safe and could proceed, and about how long this situation would last. There’s still a lot of uncertainty. Then as more individuals and groups started organizing online events we were able to start populating the calendar again.

Our goal with this calendar is to make it easier for you to connect with your community. If you’re steering your business through COVID-19 challenges, we have webinars for you. If you want entertainment, we have contests and livestream performances. If you’re looking for activities for your family while the kids are home from school, we have those too. If you organize an event, our calendar offers an easy, free way to get the word out and have more people participate.

Anyone can add an event by going to the calendar webpage and clicking “Add Event.” You can also email the event details to community@cvchamber.ca and we’ll add the event for you.

The creativity from people has been really great to see. From online cooking classes, to video roundtables, to group networking, to online health classes, there seems to be something for all interests and more things are coming in all the time. So it’s tough to pick the most interesting, we’re just really enjoying the way people are finding new ways to engage and connect with each other during this time.

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