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Featured Charity

Day of Play
Day of Play
Day of Play
Day of Play
Day of Play
South Kiwanis Park
Saskatoon, SK, S7K 3G8

A Day of Play in Saskatoon

Day of Play started as a legacy for Rayna Korte, and three years later the event was bigger and better than ever! Held in South Kiwanis Park on September 7th, 2014, Day of Play was an afternoon jam-packed with fun for the entire family. A great number of amazing local people and businesses came together to honour the memory of Rayna while raising funds for the Crisis Nursery.
Leanne Thompson-Hill, former owner of Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo, has been with Day of Play since its beginnings. She shares with us the history and heart behind Day of Play, and the details of 2014's event!
How did Rayna Korte inspire Day of Play?
In 2010, in the midst of her battle with leukemia, Rayna was all set to go and meet the Disney Princesses in Disney World, courtesy of the Children’s Wish Foundation. Just two days before her departure date, Rayna was admitted to hospital due to a complication from her chemotherapy treatments. The recreational therapist at the hospital and the Children’s Wish Foundation contacted us at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo, and we arranged to have our Princesses visit Rayna for a Tea Party in the hospital. When Rayna finally got to go on her trip, she told her Mom that the Princesses at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo were better than the Princesses at Disney World. Sadly, Rayna was re-diagnosed in January 2011 with brain cancer. When the decision to to stop treatment was made, Rayna’s last wish was 100 more days to play. After the Tea Party at the hospital, I followed Rayna’s story on Facebook. In 2011, Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo hosted a Tea Party fundraiser in collaboration with the Children’s Wish Foundation, and of course Rayna immediately came to my mind. She had so much fun at the one we held at the hospital, and she had this natural energy that made you fall in love with her. So, I thought I would do it only if Rayna was the guest of honour. Unfortunately, Rayna wasn’t well enough to attend the Tea Party, and she passed away the following day. Rayna got her wish, as she passed on exactly the 100th day after she made the wish for 100 more days to play.
How did the Tea Party evolve into the big event that it is today?
After Rayna passed away I became friends with her parents, Cindy and Roger. With their blessing, we wanted to do an annual Day of Play in Rayna’s memory, to honour her 100 days of play wish she had made. The basis of the event was to throw a party including things Rayna loved - tie dye (cupcakes were tie dye, and our logo is tie dye), kites (we decorated and flew kites) and so much more. Our attendance has grown considerably, as well as the profit we receive from the actual day. Each year, all money raised after costs has been donated to a children's charity.
How do you choose the charity organization to support with the funds generated by Day of Play?
When I owned Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo, I got to know many different children's causes. After the first Day of Play on Central Avenue, Cindy decided she wanted to honour the pediatric unit as well as Children’s Wish Foundation, as both had been a part of Rayna's journey. And with that, we became the Day of Play Board and decided to choose a new children's charity yearly. Lisa, the Program Director at Crisis Nursery, was a customer at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo, and I know how much the Nursery relies on funding. I’ve never met someone who works as hard as Lisa. She lives and breathes for those kids. We wanted to support such a wonderful cause. This fall, with Cindy's blessing, we were so happy to officially give the reigns of the event over to Crisis Nursery to help fund their marvellous non-profit organization moving forward.
What were some of the highlights of the event this year?
We had Go-Karts this year, courtesy of KartTrak, and a 100 foot obstacle course. We had a Safety Service Tent, and puppies from two of our favourite rescue groups. Living Sky Rehabilitation (birds and wild babies such as skunks and foxes) and Wrangler Elisa (reptiles) joined us. And of course we had live children's entertainment all day, including a special Singing with Sylvia concert. We also had a performance by Wide Open Children’s Theatre, a Market Square, car show, rides, petting zoo, face painting, carnival, and more. 
It seems like Day of Play is a collaborative effort by many local Saskatoon businesses.
We have been lucky to have such awesome support! Past sponsors have been Sun Life Financial, Areva, The Medicine Shoppe, and Agrium. Our regular sponsors are Tantrix Body Art, Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo, SaskTel, Travis Quiring, and Outgrow Outplay Saskatoon East. The Mom and Tot Expo, Cakes by Jen, Butler Byers, Tweet’s Roofing, O’Brians Automotive, Can-Do Delivery Services, Maaco Saskatoon, and 96.3 Cruz FM. Pizza Hut and DQ, Avid Enterprises, Air Canada, and Pro Print. New sponsors this year were PotashCorp, RedHead Equipment, Federated Co-op, WakeRide (courtesy of Gregg Bamford), and Saskatoon Funeral Home. Our Title Sponsor this year was Wheaton GM. Since Day of Play is run solely by volunteers, we rely on businesses to help support this fun event as well as come out and attend. Now that we have a new home Downtown in the South Kiwanis Park, we are hoping that more businesses in the Downtown core will become involved. 
Do you fundraise throughout the year?
Every year we plan a few new things. We start our year off with the Santa Claus Parade. We do an auction online, we had a hypnotist night at The Ivy, bake sales, The Saskatoon Parent and Tot Expo, and Outgrow Outplay Saskatoon East donates a lot of their door donations to our event. We had a screening of The Little Mermaid at the Roxy Theatre, a giant garage sale, a BBQ at Co-op, and Cakes by Jen with 96.3 Cruz FM held a Cupcake Day fundraiser.
What were the total funds raised by Day of Play this year?
We were very happy to announce that the grand total of profits earned was $20,000 for the Crisis Nursery!
Can you describe a positive outcome of Day of Play that you didn’t expect?
There are many, but something that happened that made me smile is an email I received from a lady who has attended Day of Play in the past. She was touched by Rayna's story, and lost her best friend and her best friend’s daughter shortly after in a car accident. She wanted to let me know that Day of Play inspired her to throw one in her friend’s daughter’s honour. It is called Clara's Play Day and was held in the summer. I believe in positive energy, doing good always, and paying it forward. I believe that Day of Play is a great example of what a team of great people can do.
We ask everyone this question: What do you love about Saskatoon?
I love the fact that there are so many caring people here. I cannot believe the support that we have received this year in the way of volunteers- it is truly awesome. 
Connect with Day of Play on Facebook to be notified of upcoming fundraisers and events, and to find out how you can contribute to next year’s event.
As part of My Saskatoon’s One-to-One advertising campaign, Day of Play has been chosen by local Saskatoon business, Maaco Collision Repair & Auto Painting, to be featured on Give Back Saskatoon. You can read our interview with Jason Clark, owner of Maaco Saskatoon, by using the link below.