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Release a Memory to return after one year absence

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The Release a Memory event will be returning to The Pas after not being held last year.
The event was started in 2012 as part of the centennial celebrations for the 100th anniversary of the founding of The Pas and carried on until 2015 before organizers backed off last year. It is returning next month however with the goal of once again being an annual event.
This year’s event however will have a positive twist for participants; it’s free.
Partly because of an abundance of stock from previous events a strong bank account, and due to the national celebrations taking place this year it was elected to make the event free to everyone.
“We do have some balloons in stock, we don’t want them to go to waste, they are good balloons. It’s the 150th (anniversary of the birth of Canada) this year so we thought let’s open this up to anyone and everyone and we’re not charging a fee for them,” explained Randi Salamanowicz, organizer for the Release a Memory event.
In past years 120 to 140 people have taken part but so far this year the requests have been slow to come in. As of late last week only 15 balloons had been asked for.
Salamanowicz figures the fact it’s free will generate much more response once it gets more public and interest will grow closer to the actual event.
“We’ll take as many as we can and if it takes an hour-and-a-half, two hours to do it, I don’t care,” said Salamanowicz.
This years’ release a Memory will be held on September 14th at 7:00 p.m. near the boat launch by the Saskatchewan River at the north end of Edwards Avenue.
The deadline to get information and requests in will be September 13th at 4:30 p.m.
“I will not accept any late applications, reason being it’s a lot of work to get this stuff done up, to make sure I’m printing up everybody’s name (correctly). It’s a lot of work and it’s a lot of volunteer work we do on our own,” said Salamanowicz.
Salamanowicz noted the reason the event wasn’t held last year was there had been some negative feedback related to some misinformation and it led to her taking the year off out of frustration. Admitting the “naysayers got to me,” Salamanowicz said misinformation about the event being unfriendly to the environment and utilizing tax dollars -both of which she stated were false- resulted in the event not being held last year.
“It’s something that I really enjoy and I’m disappointed that I let naysayers kind of discourage me from doing it last year but I thought I can’t change the negative people, I can try and help the people that appreciate it,” she said, adding, “It’s not taxpayers dollars, it’s never cost (the) taxpayers dollars. It’s a cost of the people who participate.”
Additionally, while Town staff do help out and participate, they do so while volunteering their own time.
“They know what it means to me and they know what it means to the community so my staff always volunteers time,” said Salamanowicz, who is also the Town’s Chief Administrative Officer. “I believe it helps people and it helps me.”
Everyone can participate, whether it for a recently lost loved one, for a relative who passed decades ago or even for a pet. As Salamanowicz said, “your grief is your grief.”
“I believe it’s important and we don’t have anything like that here,” she added.
Forms for the Release a Memory event can be picked up at the Town of The Pas municipal offices or at the Opasquia Times. An electronic version will also be available in the near future via the Opasquia Times website and/or Facebook page.

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Trent Allen
EDITOR
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