People, get ready! On Sunday, March 8, women from across the Comox Valley will gather at the Florence Filberg Centre for a day filled with song, dance, art, crafts, food, fashion and fun. The 2nd annual Comox Valley International Women’s Day Festival takes place from 2:00 – 10:00 pm and will offer countless ways to celebrate women in our community.

International Women’s Day (IWD) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. Since the first event in 1911, millions of people around the world have been gathering to raise awareness and further women’s equality. The Comox Valley event is the brainchild of Letz Sing’s Tina Filippino who, in 2019, wanted to create a local event that would bring all people together for a day of solidarity where women could celebrate women. “I gathered some of the most talented women I know from the valley, and we got right to work!” says Filippino. “We each brought something unique to the show, and the response was so enthusiastic, we knew it was the start of something much bigger.”

This women-empowering, inclusive event begins with an interactive afternoon of art projects, dance workshops and community singing, storytelling, conversation and connection, with entertainment on the hour by Joanna Finch, Hazel Lennox and The Fabulous Ms Adventures, among others. Things heat up with evening performances by stand-up comedian Megan Rose, Yvette Menard Performance Artist and the Side by Each Clown Collective; music by singer-songwriters Alannah Clark and April Dawn Brass, a dance performance by Arcana Dea, a sing-along with Letz Sing, and a special performance by Anne-Marie Scott. The whole thing wraps with DJ Re#Sister’s dance party extravaganza. The show will be hosted by the brilliant MC Mel Mariposa, a queer writer and performer with a love for sass and turning traditions on their head.

To make sure nobody goes hungry, the Stephen Lewis Foundation’s Merville Grand Mothers will be offering their famous ‘Gumboot’ chili, a delicious vegetarian recipe served with gourmet toppings and accompanied by a freshly made bun. Tickets for the dinner are limited, so guests should be sure to buy one early in the day.

Staff and friends of the Comox Valley Transition Society (CVTS) are also getting in on the action and will host a Thrift Store Fashion Show during the dinner hour. Special guests will model spectacular outfits and accessories from the Too Good To Be Threw thrift store, and everything (except the models) will be available for purchase after the show.

Proceeds from the event go toward CVTS programs and services that support women, children and families in the Comox Valley. Tickets are available online at cviwd.ca, at Laughing Oyster and Blue Heron Books, or at the CVTS office (625 England Avenue) in Courtenay. For more information, please contact Michele at CVTS at 250.897-0511.

Michele Vanderwoude

CVTS Resource Development , Comox Valley Transition Society