A Proud Tradition …
The Friends of Crystal Beach has been in existence for over thirty years. It was registered as a Not For Profit Corporation (NCO) in 2001.
Since its beginning, the FOCB has been an active participant in the Crystal Beach community. In 1996, a blue ribbon task force C.A.U.S.E (Community Assist for Urban Study) presented a report of their extensive study of the village of Crystal Beach post the closing of the amusement park. The FOCB embraced the recommendations and has worked with other community groups to implement them. The Waterfront Park is one example of the implementation of a C.A.U.S.E. recommendation. Members of the FOCB served on the board and worked to raise funds for the park’s completion. In 2008, the Crystal Beach Firefighters Association unveiled the Cpl. Albert Storm Playground at the Waterfront Park. (Cpl. Storm, a Crystal Beach native, was killed by a roadside bomb Nov. 27, 2006 while serving with the Canadian forces which are a part of the U.S.-led NATO mission in Afghanistan.) The FOCB was among the many donors to the effort.
Through various fundraising efforts as well as its bingo license. the FOCB has made a difference in the community. Regular donations to local food banks and a yearly free Christmas Dinner help local families. Local schools have benefited from specific donations from the FOCB. Funds raised stay in the community and the events presented by the FOCB are first-rate and well received.
The popular free Sunday Summer Waterfront Concerts are thoroughly enjoyed by hundreds of music lovers of all ages. Held on four Sunday evenings through the summer, the concerts draw people from all over the Niagara Region and Western New York. Only a chair or blanket is needed to partake of an evening’s entertainment.
The Circle of Art Exhibition has been going strong for five years. It takes place on a Saturday in late July at the historic centre of Crystal Beach, Queens Circle. Around its Victorian inspired pavilion, recently re-painted courtesy of the FOCB, artists display and sell their creations. Food, music and fun make the cozy, village event memorable. Artists reserve a spot for the next year’s Circle of Art before they pack up at the end of the day. The event is entirely funded by the FOCB.
The FOCB brought back the End of Summer Parade from the dead. LOL. The send-off of Old Man Summer has joined the space age. In the 2017 event, Old Man Summer was launched into the atmosphere in grand style. The 2018 parade was put off due to heavy construction at the staging site and parade route. The 2019 parade was a huge success. It was a commemoration of the thirtieth anniversary of the closing of the Crystal Beach Amusement Park. On August 31 of this year, parade organizer Shirley Grace gathered together those who were important to the amusement park and who have helped preserve its memories.
Spreading Christmas Cheer, co-sponsored with the Ridgeway Lions, has celebrated its third year. The roast beef dinner with all the trimmings was served up by the Lions in early December. Entertainment provided by the exceptional Trinity Life Singers got the crowd in the Christmas spirit.
Finally, the Lions and the Friends of Crystal Beach work together to provide a free turkey dinner to community members at the Crystal Ridge Community Centre shortly before Christmas. 175 people enjoyed a festive meal at last year’s event. This year, the event will take place on Saturday, December 21 from 4 to 7 pm at the Crystal Ridge Community Centre.