The second annual Solfest celebration and fundraiser for the Rankin Inlet Fire Department was a solid success, said Fire Chief Mark Wyatt.
The chief said at the end of the day, an undertaking such as Solfest is really all about the experience itself.
The department does a lot of different things to raise money throughout the year but as an event, Solfest was a great experience, he said.
“We could have raised a bit more money but at the end of the day, it's all good,” said Wyatt. “When people come up to me and say how much they enjoyed the event and they like how much the department is doing for the community, it makes me feel proud of my firefighters.”
“I may be kind of instrumental in getting a lot of this stuff organized, but they work super hard doing the community events, when we go to fires and everything else the department does,” he continued. “A fire department is a team and I have some really solid firefighters who work hard on all these projects that we do together.”
Wyatt said the department has committees for fundraising and entertainment that hold monthly meetings to brainstorm on different things to do. While he comes up with some great ideas, there's a lot that come from the department, as well.
“We had the fabulous Jerry Cans in from Iqaluit this year and they were just amazing at both the gala and the outdoor concert. People just loved them,” he said. “Our local group, the Midnight News, opened for the Jerry Cans at both events and they really got the crowd going. People really like the songs they do.
Terrie Kusugak and Donovon Tootoo opened the Sunday show and they also did great, he said.
The hamlet set-up bouncy castles for the kids to enjoy for the duration of the outdoor concert and the department gave away about 1,200 free hotdogs with juice, said Wyatt.
The Solfest raffle was also well-received by the community and people were happy winning all the prizes. In addition, a 50-50 draw was held during the outdoor event, and that made even more people happy.
“We raised more money in year one with the raffle, but we had additional expenses in our raffle in year two because we raffled-off two ATVs instead of one,” said Wyatt. “Our ticket sales were marginally better this year, but not to the extent of the extra cost, so we raised less money, but made more people happy and we'll take that.”