Visiting with Princesses Anna and Elsa from Disney’s Frozen is helping to transform a bad situation into a great memory for kids evacuated from northern wildfires.
Cameco organized a traveling kids carnival complete with games, bouncy castles, face painting and balloon animals which stopped at the main evacuation centres in Cold Lake Alberta, Prince Albert, Saskatoon and Regina.
Karlene Dawatsare is from Pachinack and is staying at the evacuation centre in Regina. She says the princesses were a big highlight for her nieces and young daughter.
“We’re not used to it, but it’s okay because of this happening,” she said. “It means a lot to keep them busy.”
The carnival was a very welcome distraction for Sekwun McLeod and her three kids who were evacuated from Stanley Mission.
“It’s good they’re keeping them busy because they’re getting really bored and really lonely and they want to go home,” she said.
Rebecca said her favourite part was the bouncy houses and she was also excited to see her cousin.
“It’s very tiring, hard to sleep when you’re worrying about how your community is doing but other than that we’re doing good, we’re just anxious to get home,” Sekwun McLeod commented.
With smiles this big, it’s hard to remember these kids were forced from their homes and have been sleeping on cots for a week.
With 893 evacuees registered with the Red Cross in Regina on Thursday, a wide range of organizations are pulling out all the stops to entertain people.
Sally McKenzie was among the crowd of a few dozen people who braved the heat to enjoy a free concert by Williams and Ree. The music and comedy duo from Tennessee are well known for their witty banter hosting the main stage acts at Craven Country Jamboree.
“The entertainment is really good and it takes your mind off the stress,” McKenzie said.
“It’s very important because there’s a lot of stress in being evacuated and being displaced. Not knowing if your house is standing or how things are back home.”
McKenzie is from the community of Grandmother’s Bay which is part of the Lac La Ronge Indian Band. She says some families were separated during the original evacuation but now they are being reunited.
McKenzie says the little extras make the experience so much better for people in her situation.
“We’re not just being thrown in the corner and not being looked after, we’ve got top notch entertainment and top notch food and accommodations,” she said.
She adds that the Red Cross volunteers have been fantastic and she can’t thank them enough.