It may have been raining outside the West Lincoln Community Centre, but the warmth of community spirit was on full display inside the arena.
West Lincoln partnered up with Saskatchewan Monday as part of the 13 for 13 cultural event series, held in conjunction with the Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games.
The event, meant to celebrate all things Saskatchewan, was due to take place outside the arena, but heavy rain in the forecast forced most of the proceedings inside.
Guests were entertained by music from local band Moonlight Co. and The North Sound from Saskatchewan.
Against the Grain Outdoors demonstrated chainsaw carving outside the arena. The art form is popular in Saskatchewan.
Members of Team Saskatchewan attended the event, and the triathlete team, some still sporting the wounds from their athletic heroics earlier in the day, had their photo taken with Olympian Ali ten Hove, who sailed for Canada at the Tokyo 2022 Summer Olympics, and tried their hand at giant Jenga.
Molly Lakustiak, who placed sixth in the Female Triathlon Sprint earlier in the day, said she's yet to see Niagara Falls, but hoped to see them later in the week.
“Everyone keeps asking me that,” she joked.
Township chief administrative officer Bev Hendry said West Lincoln was "totally thrilled" to be hosting the province of Saskatchewan.
"(It’s) a great event to bring community together and showcase our Township," she said. "Even with the rain, we were able to pivot into such a great facility."
The event wasn't entirely without its hiccups. West Lincoln Mayor Dave Bylsma was unable to speak at the indoor event in an official capacity because of his unvaccinated status being in contrast with the township's current vaccination policy. Instead, he opted to lead a protest against the policy outside the event.
To help cover the cost of the community event, which was free for people to attend, West Lincoln received a Reconnect Ontario grant of $7,548.
All 12 municipalities in Niagara, as well as the region, have been paired up with a different province or territory as part of the 13 for 13 cultural event series. Throughout the duration of the Canada Summer Games, which take place Aug. 6 to 21, these events will provide the community with an opportunity to experience the culture of Canada's different provinces and territories, as well as meet some of the athletes competing at the games.
Chris Pickles, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Grimsby Lincoln News