Puppet-packed parade planned for Victoria Day

Island Farms parade to get special touches to mark Victoria's 150th anniversary

Catherine Hahn

Clowns, beeping horns, dancers, mascots, marching bands. Monday marks the return of the annual Island Farms Victoria Day Parade.

And for the first time, the public will see seven larger-than-life performers – stilt-walkers, acrobats and enormous puppets – whose costumes were specially made for Victoria’s 150th anniversary as an incorporated municipality.

The characters, courtesy of the History 2 Life Performance Troupe, include a Cadborosaurus, the spirit of Chinatown, a giant First Nations-inspired eagle, Amor de Cosmos, a Big News character, Emily Carr’s monkey Woo and a bicycle-riding flower dancer, representing the City of Gardens.

“It’s an opportunity for us to bring the idea of history to life, literally … and just to give people a real visual and very fun kind of interaction with some of the icons of the city’s history,” said Alice Bacon, Victoria’s 150th anniversary co-ordinator.

“We wanted to really capture the whole essence of the community, both historically and culturally, and in a way that’s fun.”

To further mark the milestone year, Victoria Mayor Dean Fortin will lead the 114th consecutive parade, until he is dropped off at Municipal Hall to join the parade judges.

Fortin will ride with Esquimalt Nation Chief Andy Thomas.

Just as it does every year around this time, parade organizer Ron Butlin’s phone has been ringing off the hook for the past three weeks.

But those calling to secure a last-minute spot in the parade lineup are out of luck.

As he has for a number of years, Butlin, who chairs the Greater Victoria Festival Society, capped the number of parade entries at 142. Another 25 applicants must wait until next year’s event.

“I don’t like turning people away,” he said, but any more than that has proven to be too much in past years.

“It gets too long out there with the families.”

Parade highlights include 16 U.S. bands, coming from as far away as California, Oregon, Washington and Idaho.

There will also be musical talent from closer to home. Reynolds Secondary School, Spectrum Community School and Burnaby North Secondary are entering marching bands.

For the first time, the City of Kelowna has entered – in recognition of Victoria’s anniversary – and a $500 prize will be awarded to the parade entry with the best period costumes.

Esquimalt’s float has been tricked out for the event in honour of the township’s centennial. The entry will feature a special 100th anniversary sign and a strobe light, and Esquimalt’s centennial theme song “Esquimalt Shines” will be played.

Parade marshalling gets underway at 8 a.m. in the parking lot of the Mayfair Shopping Centre. The parade begins heading down Douglas Street at 9 a.m. and ends behind the Fairmont Empress.

Spectators are encouraged to walk, cycle or take transit to reach their parade vantage point. Families driving downtown are encouraged to park away from Douglas Street to avoid the northbound rush of traffic after the parade.

emccracken@vicnews.com

 

VICTORIA DAY WEEKEND LINEUP:

Sunday, May 20: Soak up the musical talents of several U.S. marching bands for free on the legislature grounds, from 2 to 4 p.m.

Monday, May 21: Coinciding with the Island Farms Victoria Day Parade, a 150th anniversary display happens in Centennial Square from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Taste the new Victoria Tribute Blend of tea that was developed for the city’s anniversary year, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

2012 Parade by the numbers:

American bands in the parade: 16

Parade judges: 12

Parade prize categories: 10

Parade entries this year: 142

Parade entries in 2011: 143

Spectators expected: 70,000 to 75,000

Consecutive years the parade has been held: 114

 

Just Posted

Police seek potential victims of bad ‘nanny’

Saanich Police seek potential victims of Johnathon Lee Robichaud from Central Saanich

Needles found at Goldstream campground in Langford

West Shore RCMP respond to several calls for service associated with homeless campers

Oak Bay firefighters help fund new Monterey playground

Sausage Fest cash handed over to Monterey PAC

Alcohol and drugs ruled out in serious crash that closed Sooke Rd last week

All three drivers taken to hospital have since been released

Only tent city residents allowed access at Goldstream Park campsites

Local RCMP point to reports of criminal activity and drug use in the area as cause for safety concerns

Neighbours fear impact of tent city residents on Goldstream Provincial Park

Langford residents opposed to campers voice concerns at campground gate

B.C. premier apologizes for removal of 1950s totem pole at Canada-U.S. border

First Nations say pole was raised at Peace Arch but removed to make way for tourism centre

5 things to do this weekend in and around Greater Victoria

Sooke Apple Fest returns, Saanich lights up with lantern festival and anarchists unite for downtown book fair

Tornado touches down in Ottawa and Gatineau, Que.

Environment Canada says cars and homes have been damaged by severe thunderstorms and high wind gusts

An unexpected sight: Bear spotted eating another bear in central B.C.

Cheslatta Carrier Nation Chief finds bear eating another bear’s carcass

RCMP confirm death of missing BC teen Jessica Patrick

No details on cause were given. Case is under criminal investigation and police are asking for tips.

CUTENESS OVERLOAD: 2 sea otters hold hands at the Vancouver Aquarium

Holding hands is a common – and adorable – way for otters to stay safe in the water

B.C. teen with autism a talented guitarist

Farley Mifsud is gaining fans with every performance

Most Read