Anxiously anticipated celebration another stand-out event


Yearly barbecue continues to grow in popularity and size
Thursday July 5, 2012 — Michelle Strutzenberger

As Karey Degenova watched the people streaming off the shuttle bus to attend the Burnaby Association for Community Inclusion’s (BACI) annual barbecue last week, she was struck by the number of unfamiliar faces she saw.

It was a good sign that many people from throughout the community had taken up the invitation to attend the organization’s summer gathering.

Judging by the amount of food served, including 386 hamburger/veggie burgers and 352 hot dogs, Karey estimates about 300 people took part in the day’s festivities.

Amongst the unexpected guests were Burnaby-Edmonds MLA Raj Chouhan, community activist and song writer Joey Keithley and acquaintances from the community gardens BACI is also involved with.

Now running for more than 10 years, the BACI barbecue continues to grow in popularity and size. Karey, who organized the event this year, says it’s important that it continues, first because it is anxiously anticipated by the people BACI works with.

“We do like to party at BACI,” the senior manager for community and housing development notes. “This is a message that was loud and clear while developing our strategic plan here at BACI. We like it and we’re good at it.”

She adds it’s a chance for people to reignite acquaintances. The event is also an opportunity to welcome the community, to “see our various talents and our joy and enjoy our hospitality.”

Family member Joan Rush attended the event for the first time this year and agrees it’s a great opportunity to connect with all kinds of people in a relaxed environment.

“I think it’s wonderful for everybody to gather in a casual environment where there is nice food and a party atmosphere,” says Joan, adding “we saw nothing but happiness.”

She and her husband attended with their son Graeme, who is supported by BACI. While they had come intending to provide support if needed, they soon saw that wasn’t necessary as Graeme spotted friends and headed off to enjoy the music.

This year saw the display of many different talents by both BACI staff and people BACI works with.

The BACI Band performed several pieces including a song they wrote about BACI. The BACI drumming group serenaded and Jack, one of the individuals BACI supports, played his accordion and sang “O’ Canada.” Danny, another individual supported, sang “Danny boy,” Sham, an individual who attends BACI day services, performed his traditional Indian dance and Betty, an individual who also attends day services, shared her Hawaiian dancing talent.

A country fair was also underway through the day where representatives from BACI’s community gardens sold seedlings, another individual offered her creations of hair-clips and hair bands while still others displayed their vegan baking. In addition, someone was doing Mehndi and temporary tattoos, another selling her paintings and pottery and a group of friends selling their reusable sandwich wraps, tea cup cozies, jams and other preserves. One man named Lawrence walked around throughout the activities serving home-baked treats made by Still Creek day program supervisor Frankie.

One of the high points of the day for Karey was seeing the excitement produced by the belly dancer and fire spinner.

She says it was a joy to observe how they inspired some of the shyer people to get up and dance.

“They were having such a great time, losing themselves in the music, joining hands and dancing,” she says.

The annual summer barbeque is BACI’s second largest celebration of the year, only trumped by the Bonsor Christmas Party.

Feel free to comment below, or e-mail michelle(at)

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