Puppet-packed parade planned for Victoria Day

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

Catherine Hahn

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

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The District of Saanich is accepting nominations for the 2021 Environmental Awards until June 1 at 4 p.m. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Nominations now open for Saanich’s 21st annual Environmental Awards

Awards recognize individuals and organizations making Saanich more sustainable

Rotary Club of Victoria-Harbourside president Angus Macpherson visited the Wear2Start Society boutique in Victoria to present a cheque to the society’s vice-president Alessandra Ringstad (left) and president Angela Mangiacasale. (Courtesy of Wear2Start)
Rotary club donates over $11,000 to Greater Victoria non-profit for women

Wear2Start Society provides clothing for women in need

Adrienne Rogers (LPN) and Tracy McConnell (RN) on the Victoria Hospice Unit. (Photo courtesy of Victoria Hospice)
Victoria Hospice bereavement counsellors dealing with a tsunami of grief

Last year, Victoria Hospice provided end-of-life care to more than 1,000 people

Paddles sit stacked and ready at a rowing regatta on Elk Lake in 2018. (Black Press Media file photo)
Greater Victoria junior girls rowing team nabs first in national Row to Tokyo challenge

Young Victoria City Rowing Club members row more than 2,250 km

Habitat Acquisition Trust has received provincial funding to help restore Garry oak ecosystems on southern Vancouver Island. (Photo by Jeremy da Silva)
Funding boosts restoration efforts for Vancouver Island’s Garry oak ecosystems

Habitat Acquisition Trust will take on several Garry oak ecosystem restoration projects

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

The body of Brenda Ware, 35, was found along Highway 93 in Kootenay National Park on Thursday, May 6, 2021. (RCMP handout)
RCMP ask for tips after woman’s body found in Kootenay National Park

Brenda Ware was found along Highway 93 in the park, 54 kilometres north of the town of Radium

People pass the red hearts on the COVID-19 Memorial Wall mourning those who have died, opposite the Houses of Parliament on the Embankment in London, Wednesday, April 7, 2021. On May 3, the British government announced that only one person had died of COVID-19 in the previous 24 hours. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kirsty Wigglesworth
For a view of a COVID-19 future, Canadians should look across the pond

Britain, like Canada, is one of the only countries in the world to delay second doses for several months

Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his 100th point this season with Leon Draisaitl (29) against the Vancouver Canucks during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, May 8, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton superstar McDavid hits 100-point mark as Oilers edge Canucks 4-3

NHL scoring leader needs just 53 games to reach century mark

Nuns of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, carry some of her relics during a vigil of prayer in preparation for the canonization of Mother Teresa in the St. John in Latheran Basilica at the Vatican, Friday, Sept. 2, 2016. In which city did she do much of her charitable work? (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
QUIZ: How much do you know about these motherhood issues?

In honour of Mother’s Day, take this 10-question quiz

A map showing where the most number of cases were recorded from April 23 to 29. This map, revealing a breakdown of infections by neighborhood, was pulled from a data package leaked to the Vancouver Sun last week (and independently verified).
36 Abbotsford schools flagged for COVID-19 exposures in the last 2 weeks, shattering record

Clearbrook Elementary recorded an ‘exposure’ on all 11 school days

Island Health has confirmed COVID-19 exposures at Ecole des Deux Mondes in Campbell River on May 4 and 5, and at Mill Bay Nature School in Mill Bay on April 28, 29, 30 and May 3. (Metro Creative photo)
Two new COVID-19 school exposures confirmed by Island Health

Health authority contacting anyone exposed at Ecole des Deux Mondes, Mill Bay Nature School

Most Read