On Friday, Oct. 26 downtown Vancouver will be host to a 60-foot Ferris Wheel for the first time ever.
It’s part of Variety Week, the annual Variety charity event that raises money for kids with special needs across B.C., and this year the event is hoping to make a bigger splash online than ever before.
Every day during Global BC’s newscasts next week, viewers will be introduced to the families who Variety has helped, and get a first-hand look at how the charity is changing lives.
READ MORE: Variety Week 2018 on Global BC
But the action doesn’t stop when the broadcast is over, explains Rebecca Bollwitt. The Vancouver blogger, who writes under the name Miss 604, also sits on Variety’s board and is the event’s social media sponsor.
“We really also want to reach the online audience, because you can’t ignore that,” she said.
That’s where the Ferris Wheel comes in. It’s a part of Variety Week’s Friday Wrap Party, and will be installed at Robson Square from noon to 7 p.m.
Bollwitt says along with riding the contraption for a donation, people can participate in a selfie contest — snapping and sharing a photo of them with the Ferris Wheel and the hashtag #VarietyWeek.
“We wanted something with a ‘wow factor’ that would make people stop in their tracks when we set up for the Variety Week wrap party,” she said.
How to help
Of course, a selfie isn’t the only way you can participate.
Bollwitt is encouraging people to share the videos and online stories of Variety kids and families produced throughout Variety Week, along with the #VarietyWeek hashtag.
People looking to help can also download the Variety Week social media toolkit to help spread the word.
They can also donate directly online through the Variety website, by texting KIDS to 45680 (an automatic $20 donation), or by calling 310-KIDS. Those donors can sign up for a one-time donation or donate monthly.
Also new this year, anyone who donates $169 or signs up to be a monthly donor will get their hands on a pair of special Variety mittens, reminiscent of the iconic handwear produced for Vancouver’s 2010 games.
Bollwitt said on top of donating directly, people who want to help can also sign up to kick off their own online fundraising campaigns, allowing them to be as creative as they want.
“In the social media age, especially with the demographics we’re trying to reach, peer-to-peer fundraising is really effective because people want to support their friends, they want to show that they’re supporting a cause, and we’d really like that cause to be Variety,” she said.
“So you can sign up and create a team and fundraise, and Variety Week can be a kickoff for fundraising for the Show of Hearts Telethon, which is coming up in February, 2019.”
During Variety Week, Bollwitt will be joined by a team of Vancouver-based social media personalities who head up variety’s Social Media Lounge.
She said the help of online voices like lifestyle blogger Ariane Colenbrander, YouTuber Scott Graham (What’s For Lunch BC), and Instagrammer Rebecca Coleman, who help connect the public with Variety Week and the Show of Hearts Telethon’s studio, TV broadcasts, volunteers and panelists, #VarietyWeek and #ShowOfHearts has regularly become a top trending topic in Canada.
“Just getting exposure to over one million people in Canada through our social media messages — that’s been really impactful for me,” Bollwitt said.
“It’s helped me get a lot more involved with Variety, and they’re such a great cause I’m happy to do it.”