It started 25 years ago, and right from the beginning the idea was to help the community, but to have a heck of a lot of fun doing it.
Friends, co-workers and family band together, gather pledges and battle it out on the sandy courts for a fun day of beach volleyball, with all the proceeds going to support charity.
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The HOPE Volleyball SummerFest has become a tradition in the city. Along with the good vibes that come from a day spent playing at Mooney’s Bay, there’s always a lot of great music.
“The music has been an important part of the event from the start,” says HOPE executive director Eugénie Doré.
“The concert is a great way to party and we’ve always focused on big Canadian performers and local acts, as well.”
And this year is no exception. The three headliners — Finger Eleven, Matt Mays & El Torpedo and Mobile — are some of the hottest rock bands in the country right now. Seeing them anytime is fun, but even better on a hot summer day.
From the Ottawa scene, rockers Tim’s Myth, Loudlove and festival favourites Donkeypunch will take the stage.
Doré says changes made to the venue this year, including the construction of a new amphitheatre, should make for an even better concert experience.
“This year, people will be able to see the performers better and it will improve the overall sound, too.”
Close to 1,000 teams have registered to play, and Doré says including the 10,000 players — who all get free admission to the concert — they are expecting as many as 35,000 people to show up at the event.
What started out as a way for a group of friends to make a difference in their city has become the largest festival of its kind in the world, with more than $6 million going to support 100 charities.
It’s a challenging process deciding which charities to help each year, but Doré says it’s rewarding to know they have aided charities of every variety — from local, grassroots agencies to larger national not-for-profit organizations.
This year, the charities benefiting from all the volleyball, and all the great music are, Champions for Children, Children at Risk, Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of Canada, Harmony House Women’s Shelter, Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada, Perley-Rideau Foundation.
The HOPE Volleyball SummerFest serves up fun all day tomorrow.