It has now been a little over a month since our big new event, ‘Evening in the Courtyard’. In case you haven’t heard about it, that is where we throw all convention to the wind, hang a big white sheet from the new shed, set up a projector and a laptop, and sit back in lawn chairs and pillows and blankets on the ground and watch an old movie, all whilst enjoying the delectable offerings of our fine valley…

hahaha…ok I can’t keep a straight face after that last line. But it’s actually true!

How about I rewind just a little, and we can go from there…

This project was a little over a year in the making. When I first started this job, one thing that I really wanted was to find a way to get people into the Museum that wouldn’t usually stop by. Whether it was due to a lack of interest, had always intended to come visit but just had never made it here, or umpteen billion other reasons, I wanted to get them through our doors. So, walking by the trappers cabin one day, it came to me!

If you want to attract certain animals, you use things that are extra appealing to them. If you want to attract humans, you use alcohol and food…



 Well…?!?! It makes sense!! This is where a simple idea began to snowball into a great big ice boulder of awesomeness of partnerships and local business support!

We have a few FANTASTIC wineries here, such as Skimmerhorn and Baille-Grohman, so obviously it would be of mutual benefit for both. People that may not have checked out the winery get to try some of their product, and we get to serve some quality wines whilst drawing in people that (may or may not) have tried and liked/loved the wines that may not have come to the Museum. BAM. One problem solved.

Oh, but then you still have to have non alcoholic options (its a good thing we did, too, because we had an expecting mama show up!) Perhaps a sparkling cider? As it just so happens, there is an estate here who does just that! JRD Farms, the makers of William Tell Old Fashioned Sparkling Cider fit the bill just right I’d say!

(honestly though, this stuff is so good, I won’t drink normal store bought apple cider anymore! or regular store bought apple juice come to think of it. :/ …I am sounding a lot like a hipster right now, but the struggle is real. We get seriously spoiled in this town. 😐 )


So if we are going to have local drinks, the obvious choice for food would, obviously, be local. As if it wasn’t obvious already. Duh.

Even so, that most certainly doesn’t narrow it down! Because everywhere you turn your head, there is local, local organic, fruit, veggies, meat, EVERYTHING. And. it’s. in. season. and. it’s. so. DELICIOUS!. So we just went to lots of places! (and this isn’t even scratching the surface…) And guess what? The businesses in town are just as awesome as their produce, because when we mentioned what we were doing with an old fashioned movie night and a spotlight on local products, they were so excited, and their contributions and donations were more than generous!

Kokanee BrewreyTruscott Farms, Wloka Fruit Stand, Kootenay Alpine Cheese, Famous Fritz Meats, Golden Flour Bakery

We had such an enormous spread, it really was quite incredible!


It felt like we stepped into the Food Network Channel. I kept expecting Jamie Oliver to walk around the corner any time! It was just that homegrown.

We started getting things rolling the day before, the canopy…the sparkle lights…things that took a little extra time. My sister came with me to help both the night before and the day of, she was so excited about this event since I first opened my mouth about doing it! I couldn’t of pulled it off without her, she was such an enormous help. Along with her, my young neighbor who wants to be a museum curator when he gets older, so between the three of us we had things rollin’ pretty good…

The riveting job of washing vegetables… the intriguing task of chopping those freshly washed and sparkling vegetables…

I jest.

But actually, it was quite a challenge…the… not eating everything in front of you part… You can’t really blame us though, we had YELLOW watermelon, white sweet bell peppers, fresh nectarines, fresh carrots…just to name a few…


Things were going pretty smooth! But… by about 3:00… we were beginning to think things might just go astray. You see…the weather started to get bad. Like…real bad. Like, suuuuper blowing wind, spitting rain, dark ominous clouds encasing the valley…started to look like the scene out of ‘The Wizard of Oz’…yes I am being dramatic…but it didn’t look like it was going to be good!

Now, because of my other job, I have a fairly good handle on staying calm and rational in some pretty intense and crazy situations, I’m getting pretty good at taking a lot in and making decisions very quickly. But this…man I tell ya. After a year of planning, and the grant writing, and the scurrying all about…then THIS?!?!

To say I was a nervous basket case would be, um, what would the word be?


Alyson & Rylan did a pretty good job of talking me down, thank goodness for them! After about an hour or so, things began to settle down, {it felt like an eternity} and lo-and-behold, guess what? The clouds parted, the sun came out, and it turned into the most stunning afternoon! My blood pressure returned to what could be considered normal, and we set about re-setting up everything that we had to take down, including Alysons lovely display.

All hands on deck! The students and Matty set to re-setting up the tables and getting the projector & computer ready, and two of our fantasticly wonderful Kitchen volunteer regulars arrived to put together the hors d’oeuvres, and get the munchies ready to go for the guests. And it was pretty! Sparkle lights as the sun was setting…

Early in the planning process, we settled on hosting a maximum of 50 people. That is the number for each seating of the tea, [and we fill that 3 times over!] So a pretty reasonable goal we thought. Unfortunately, the rather sizable weather tantrum earlier that day seemed to convince many people that the event had been canceled, so… we did not get quite the turn out that we had been hoping for. But hey! Quality not quantity, right?

It actually turned into a quiet, intimate little showing! I most certainly won’t complain about that!

We really didn’t go too high-tech for this. Just a projector and a white sheet. That’s what an outdoor movie is all about right? Actually to be honest, the picture was just about as good as any projection home theater (that’s right guys…a museum projector & sheet showed up your Mancave pride and joy theater!)

Tammy chose ‘Funny Face’ with Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire, and it was a hoot! Talk about a classic film…I was kind of under the impression that it fell into the category of ‘Chick Flick’, but ‘funny’ enough, it was the guys that were raving about it the most! I hadn’t seen it before this, so that was a pretty nice surprise!

IMG_1456 IMG_1458

To go along with the classy sparkle lights, and the wonderful movie, we had served hours d’ oeuvres, and Alyson and Rylan and Jen were dressed to the 9’s! They hustled and bustled, heated hours d’ oeuvres, and made sure all our guests were properly ‘fed up’! Haha! 😀

Have you ever seen such an awesome bunch!?! Probably not ;)

Have you ever seen such an awesome bunch!?! Probably not 😉 Unless you came here this summer and saw them. Then you actually have seen such an awesome bunch. Because you saw this bunch.

Co-incidentally enough, this was also the students last day of work for the summer. So although it was rather a sad evening, this group had become remarkably close during their time here this summer (some even went to the same schools), it was also a wonderful way to close out the season! If all things come together, we will be doing this event again next year, so keep your eyes open for tickets to come on sale! There will be room for only 50 to attend again, and tickets will only be available by pre-sale only again {so you might be able to say it’s kind of exclusive.} [you could attend an exclusive event].

So there we go! As promised, if not late, your catch up on the Evening in the Courtyard! I’m thinking next up might be an article on our newest acquirement, dubbed the ‘Critter Tractor’. I think I foresee a little homework in my immediate future!



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