The annual Ladybug Festival held on Calgary’s Neighbour Day,Saturday June 17, 2017 was again a  giant success. Once again 14 A st SW.  was alive with ladybugs, children, balloon fights, hotdogs and a neighbourhood band complete with a children’s choir. This event continues to provide a stage for neighborhood  gathering and opportunities.

The history of our Ladybug Festival started  a few years ago when  we attempted to deal with an overwhelming infestation of aphids. As the aphids eat/destroy  our tree leaves, they also leave their  sticky waste on cars, windshields and sidewalks.

We, the residents of 14 A St SW , place the ladybugs on the base of the tree trunks where they crawl up the trees to the leaves and eat the aphids. A win/win for all.

Our day typically begins with the adults assisting the children in placing the prepared ladybugs  in paper cups  which are then attached to the base of trees. The ladybugs are prepared with a light sugar and water concoction. This helps to wake up the ladybugs who are cool and lying  dormant  from their refrigerated journey to our street. Within minutes there are thousands of ladybugs having a buffet of aphids on a beautiful sunny afternoon.

As this was Neighbours Day, we wanted to celebrate our wonderful one block street and catch up with one another after another long and cold Calgary winter. As a friendly street we wanted to continue our tradition of a street fair and to role model to the children the importance of getting to know your  neighbour of  feeling safe  in “ your hood” and to  gain comfort in knowing that adult and children have a collective sense of belonging. We also wanted to represent  and to introduce  our new neighbours  to how 14A rolls!!!.

WE CARE ABOUT OUR STREET; WE WANT OUR CHILDREN ( OUR FUTURE LEADERS ) TO FEEL OWNERSHIP TO THE STREET;  TO GET INVOLVED; AND TO GET THINGS DONE

We were thrilled to receive  funding from the Ward Event  Community Grant to the toon of $600. We were fortunate that the City of Calgary forgo  the cost of our street barricades as this was Neighbour Day 2017. This saved us $383.00. We were also  fortunate to be able to use one of our neighbours pick up truck to pick up and return the street closure barricades. The street was closed from 10 am – 10 pm, At 9 pm our tent was taken down, we began to clean up the street , and the road was re opened without incident at 9.55 pm

Because of this ‘by’ ( for the cost of the road barricades ) we were able to use that money to rent a 20×20 tent. This wonderful  tent helped to protect people  from our Calgary weather. Initially we were protected from the sun ,then the strong wind, then a light rain and finally we got our  sunshine again. The tent also covered our dining tables, our serving tables, our  food craft  tables and our food  preparation table

Our agenda for the days event included tremendous excitement for  approximately 30 children, 5 or 6 older ( men-adults ) children, and about 30 adults . There were a variety of games, a ladybug wagon pull, a water gun fight, a water balloon game, a “ Guess the Baby Photo Contest” a  “Guess how many candies on a 5 tired  Styrofoam cake ?”  and a cupcake decorating event. We played hopscotch, scooters, and sent the wee ones down the street on their tiny balance bikes.  We even got a surprise visit from previous 14A St neighbours who have moved to Edmonton.

We were visited by our local City Counselor, Evan Wooley who brought along his university roommate,. We  spent time discussing inner city planning, building , share the road bike projects and  finding ways to work with the city development planning committee on a proposed building in very close proximity to 14 a st SW.

We unfortunately were not visited by the fire Department as we had hoped. Being Neighbours day, we speculate they were busy with other community events and hope it was not because they were putting out a fire and  keep our community safe. We will try next year to invite them again.

All in all the 2017 LadyBugFestival was a very fun and successful day. 14A St is a grand place to live with grand people who care about our children’s future and their children’s future.

Robyn Joffe, Ladybug Committee 2017

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