It has been one year since a local group started funding small community projects intended to "increase awesomeness in Halifax."
The Halifax Awesome Foundation provides $1,000 each month to projects that during the past year have included a chess club in a box, a bike-in theatre and a school music project.
"We like to call it replacing the suck in Halifax with awesome," said David Finlayson, one of the 30 trustees who help make it all happen. "We are the only organization in HRM with a vice president of hugs."
Every three months, 10 of the 30 trustees fork over $100 to fund a community project to the tune of $1,000. The top four projects pitched to the committee each month face off in a Dragon's Den style competition held the last Thursday of the month.
The foundation also hosts its own ‘awesome' events. On Feb. 14 members celebrated Valentine's Day by giving out free hugs, balloons, chocolate and goodies to passersby in downtown Halifax.
Reflecting on the past year, Finlayson said one of his favourite winning projects was ‘Planting Awesome,' which saw 200 trees planted by volunteers at the foot of North and Barrington streets directly under the MacDonald Bridge.
Two others that stood out were ‘Tulipmania,' which resulted in tulip bulbs planted on Dartmouth's Tulip Street, and the Space Bagpipers. Dressed in silver spacesuits, the bagpipers serenaded the downtown core last April 21.
"None of these things would have happened without the $1,000. We want to do one-offs, and we love cool ideas," Finlayson said.
"Anybody can pitch, and in fact we've had businesses pitch, kids pitch, anyone can do it."
One of the things the organization is hoping to do is drum up more excitement and awareness about Awesome Halifax to encourage even more pitches.
Finlayson said members of his group were excited when HRM Mayor Mike Savage declared Feb. 28, 2013 ‘Awesome Day in HRM.' The committee is asking residents to send Facebook messages and tweets to share how they're personally going to make Feb. 28 an awesome day.
"Whether it's buying a stranger in line behind you a coffee, or beating the meter maid to pay someone's parking, we want to hear about it," he said.
The foundation is celebrating its first anniversary on Feb. 28 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Brewery Market. There will be s'mores and much more!
The monthly grant event takes place that evening and will include four of the foundation's favourite second place pitches from the past year. The public is encouraged to attend the event.
For more about s'mores and the Halifax Awesome Foundation, check out www.awesomehalifax.com .