The second annual Sydney Springfest will be held this weekend at the Membertou Trade and Convention Centre.
Featuring the music of Joyful Noise and performances by residents and staff of L’Arche Cape Breton, this uniquely Cape Breton event will start Saturday at 7 pm, in hopes of raising much needed cash for skills training and recreation programs for disabled adults.
A skit based on Little Red Riding Hood will be part of the festivities as well as a live auction featuring Dave MacLean who’ll be dishing out dozens of high quality items to the highest bidder including a designer Michique handbag similar to those recently handed to the stars in Hollywood and the International Cannes Film Festival.
Other items set for auction include hotel stays, a Parks Canada Discovery Pass, legal services from Sheldon Nathanson Law, sporting goods from FrameWork Cycle & Fitness, a round of golf at Ingonish’s beautiful Highland Links, work from Cape Breton artists, and a two night stay at Four Seasons Cottages, located on a beautiful red beach of Prince Edward Island.
“We decided to contribute again like other businesses because we know the great work that L’Arche does in Cape Breton,” says Bill Goldston, owner of FrameWork Cycle & Fitness.
Many of the L’Arche core members or their families originally hail from the Cape Breton Regional Municipality.
L’Arche Cape Breton opened in 1983, offering a place for men and women with developmental disabilities to work and live in a peaceful rural setting with a staff helping meet their daily needs like meal preparations, personal hygiene or medicine.
L’Arche Cape Breton was inspired by the teachings of spiritual leader Mahatma Gandhi and his vision of community, offering a life based on simplicity, sustained by meaningful and productive work.
Today there are about 50 people who live and work under the L’Arche umbrella in Cape Breton which includes six houses, an apartment, a beautiful chapel, a hermitage, a house of welcome and retreat, a small garden, and full work programs that includes residents and staff operating a used clothing store, wood-making workshop, day programs for non-residents with special needs, and on-the-job placements in local businesses throughout the rural Cape Breton area.
Staff on site, many of whom are university students or graduates aged 18 to 30 – come from all parts of the world to share their life and experience and learn about the L’Arche community. They often travel to other L’Arche sites in India, South America, the United Kingdom, France, Ireland and the United States.
L’Arche members help operate The Ark Store just off the Trans Canada Highway near Whycocomagh, stocking shelves and racks with beautiful crafts from members, Nova Scotian-made art, as well as quality used clothing and books.
Other L’Arche residents work at The Angels’ Loft in Orangedale, opened and named in 2008 for Angela Marie Cormier, a cherished member who died suddenly that year. The Angels’ Loft allows residents to knit dishcloths, paint, make crafts, play cards, wood-work, make cook books, button bracelets, jewelry and chop wood. Much of the funding raised Saturday will go towards The Angels’ Loft.
Tickets for this Saturday’s gala event can be purchased at the door for $15 or in advance at the Cape Breton Curiosity Shop on Charlotte Street or Wentworth Perk on George Street in Sydney.