The memory of Molly MacIvor lives on every year – not in sombre remembrance, but in an atmosphere of fun, fellowship and community spirit.
This year, Sept. 16 will mark the 13th annual Carnival of Rainbows – an event co-ordinated by the Molly’s Rainbows Society – to commemorate Molly MacIvor.
Molly, who lost her life in a motor vehicle accident in 2004, has an annual community celebration held in her honour. What started as simple backyard activities among family and friends grew over the past 12 years, to a full-fledged carnival at North Nova Education Centre.
Jodi MacIvor, Molly’s mother, said, “Molly was born on my birthday, and I just want to celebrate that day by having kids together to celebrate Molly’s life.”
MacIvor explained she wanted a celebration of Molly’s life, and “didn’t want to feel sad on one of the happiest days of my life.”
Hayley Finley, MacIvor’s sister, said that since its early days, the event has always functioned like a carnival – a time for families to get together and have some lighthearted fun.
“I had been mourning Molly, and it was time to celebrate her life. I was blessed to have her in my life. Molly was a funny, very happy, easy going little girl (and) I needed to celebrate that,” MacIvor said. “At the first party … we planted flowers, painted pumpkins, had a barbecue, sang happy birthday and ate some cake. We remembered Molly and were happy.”
“Jodi didn’t want that day to be sad, and she wanted lots of kids having fun,” said Finley.
After the success of the first event, the small carnival grew over the years, to the point where it is now a well-known annual community event.
“It’s a fun time, and it’s grown so much just from family and friends,” said MacIvor. “It’s something a lot of people look forward to, every year.”
Finley said, “It’s a fundraiser, but it’s also a thing for families to come and be able to have fun with their family – it’s just a feel-good day.
“When you lose someone, you will always have a feeling of missing them and wishing they were still here. It never goes away. But, if you allow yourself to celebrate and remember what you had – not what you are missing – the grief is more bearable.”
The carnival features attractions including a bouncy house and inflatable slide; kiddie zone; spin the wheel game; a fishpond; basketball and hockey shot games – and even bingo and board games.
Food offerings are the best in carnival fare, such as hotdogs, hamburgers and cotton candy.
“A donation at the door is all we ask for,” said Finley. “We want everyone to come in and have fun. Once you come in, everything is free.”
The money through admissions is donated to the IWK and the Aberdeen Hospital. Since Molly and her mother Jodi share a birthday, the carnival is held as close to that date as possible.
Both MacIvor and Finley expressed their gratitude for the enormous community support that the carnival brings out, every year.
“It’s a lot of work to do, but we get a lot of help from families and the community. Everyone comes together to help us out, and that makes it appealing,” said Finley. “It’s been a good thing for us all, and when the day comes around, and you’re there among hundreds of people who attend, you think, wow, that’s awesome, and it makes you want to keep doing it.”
“Life is too busy and too short. Take this time at the carnival to forget about everything else,” MacIvor said. “Celebrate Molly, celebrate your kids, your family and friends. Celebrate you. Celebrate life.”
Guests are encouraged to donate merchandise and gift cards for bingo. The carnival will run from 1 to 5 p.m. Anyone with questions is encouraged to contact MacIvor at 902-759-0877 or Finley at 902-301-5556 – or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.