Steel Rails 2017, a community fundraiser party, was held on June 24. The event was organized by the Community Edition, an independent, monthly newspaper serving Waterloo Region.
“Steel Rails is a mystery art party meant to build our community and challenge partygoers with new experiences and the work and ideas of local artists,” Steel Rails coordinator Megan Nourse said. “The revenue from Steel Rails allows us to keep existing for another year.”
The train ride itself consisted of six cars, all themed differently. Each car had different performers and activities from crown-making to a homecoming party, as well as a car which served beers from local breweries.
According to Nourse, “Lots of time and energy went into planning this year’s event. We worked with numerous artists and community builders to pull it off. In securing artists to animate the space, we accepted applications from people with ideas as well as reaching out to artists and collectives we like and wanted to get involved.”
The final destination of the train was the off-site location Max’s Sports World. The site held many activities such as mini-golfing, and performances such as wrestling matches and a theatre performance. The final act of the night was a performance by Vaj Halen, performing songs such as “Welcome to the Jungle” by Guns N’ Roses and “Iron Man” by Black Sabbath.
Many community members, from artists to students, attended Steel Rails with tickets selling out the day of sale. People attending had fun with the many activities both on and off the train.
University of Waterloo student Valancia Leitao said although she enjoyed Steel Rails, “I don’t think I would go again. It’s kind of a one-time deal for me.”
When asked about the next Steel Rails, Nourse said, “Next year, will be full of mystery again. Steel Rails has grown steadily in the past few years, it would be awesome if that kept happening and we could have more people attend and more artists involved.”