Editor’s note: The following is from the Queen Silver Star Excellence program.
On behalf of the Queen Silver Star Excellence Program, we would like to extend our gratitude to the city of Vernon for graciously contributing to our efforts to travel to Modesto, Calif.
We would like to thank the numerous businesses and individuals who helped make this trip possible by their donations of money and items for our silent auctions. The Vernon Chamber of commerce provided advertising in their newsletter and Barrita Durward, owner of Cotton’s Chocolates, was a big part of our fundraising efforts. She hosted many silent auctions with proceeds being donated to our trip. Countless businesses contributed to our fundraising to make this trip a reality. We would like to extend a huge thanks to each and every one of you from the bottom of our hearts.
We would also like to extend our gratitude to the City of Modesto for welcoming and making us feel honoured to be immersed in your culture. This experience has definitely strengthened the bond between our communities.
Many thanks to the Modesto Sister City Committee for their vision and efforts towards this adventure. To Brenda Brannon and Nancy, our own personal tour guides, your energy and passion about Modesto was inspiring, and we could not express how grateful we are. We would also like to send our appreciation to John Topping, who went over and above the call to offer us support, and help us through our fundraising ventures. To our sponsors, Deb White of White House Mortgages, and Teresa Durning Harker of Durning Directions and Services Ltd., you both continually support and guide us along our journey, and fundraising for Modesto was no small feat, but you were always there to offer a helping hand for us, we are so very fortunate to have such wonderful people with us every step of the way.
We were honoured to have lunch with Mayor Garrad Marsh of Modesto, which was very enlightening. Concluding the lunch we presented him with a locally made hand-crafted bowl as a token from our city. We also were fortunate to have been graciously invited by members of the sister city committee from Aguascalientes, Mexico to a barbecue hosted at the homestead. This helped us experience their culture through conversation, and we could not have felt more welcome; we enjoyed the experience tremendously. We were able to experience a local college campus and interact with the international students there, where we really got a sense of different cultures around the world.
A banquet was held in honour of the sister city committees from Vernon, Modesto and Mexico at the local high school, Central Catholic, which was a privilege to be a part of. Adrian Harrel, the president of the sister city committee from Mexico, was a gracious contributor to this recognition, and we thank her and the ambassadors from Mexico for showering us with affection, and appreciation. We thank these representatives from our hearts for allowing us to experience their culture. We hope our paths will soon cross in the future. We feel a strong sense of honour towards being a part of the process to strengthen the bond between both cities and countries.
While in the city of Modesto, we were able to experience firsthand the culture and historic values that the city offered. During our time there, we were able to see what local festivities and yearly events the city had to offer.
Olive oil tasting was a very new experience, and helped us understand the foundation of Modesto, and its bountiful harvests. In addition we were taken on tours of some impressive historic buildings, one being the McHenry Mansion, built by hand in the early 1880s by Robert McHenry, a local rancher and banker. We were also introduced into the McHenry Museum, located across the street from the McHenry Mansion, filled with fascinating tidbits from Modesto’s history. Additionally, we also experienced a guided tour of the magnificent Gallo Center for the Arts.
The International Festival was a fascinating way for Modesto to appreciate and acknowledge different cultures from around the world. We were honoured to be able to carry the Canadian flag amongst several other countries. We were also able to experience different cultures through their presentations.
For the Queen Silver Star Proclamation on Feb. 6 we will have the pleasure of having two ambassadors from Modesto to join us and experience the Okanagan.
As we traveled to California to strengthen a bond between sister cities through experiencing culture, these ambassadors will do the same. Through their time with us we plan on having them experience the usual school routine, a hockey game, the proclamation of Queen Silver Star and other areas that represent Vernon’s culture.
We are excited to host these ambassadors from Modesto, and to further strengthen the bond between the sisterhood of Modesto, Calif. and Vernon, B.C.