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Hands Across the Border 94-year tradition ends

WHITE ROCK (NEWS1130) – It’s been going on for 94 years, only getting cancelled twice during World War 2 and then again twice more for pre-Olympic construction but this June will mark the first time that the Hands Across the Border celebration won’t be taking place by choice.

John Liebert with the International Peace Arch Association said the group can no longer afford the $10,000 price tag that includes paying for portable toilets, highway closures on both sides of the border and of course $2 million worth of liability insurance.

The association relies heavily on donations from local groups and businesses to fund the gathering. The event itself generates virtually no money to offset costs.

“The only way that you really get any money is by selling your pins and your patches as souvenirs to kids and you just can’t make enough money doing that,” says Liebert.

The former Blaine mayor says money is part of the worry, but not all.

“That’s half the problem,” says Liebert. “The other half is that there’s a shortage of volunteers to take over those of us who managed it for the for the last several years.”

The goodwill gesture involves thousands of young people and scout groups but Liebert says the number of volunteer has stagnated and the heavy workload has taken a toll on an aging group of regulars.

Hands across the Border was initially started by veterans groups but Liebert’s association has at the helm for several years.