The Victoria Day Parade celebrates its 120th anniversary this year, hitting the streets of downtown Monday, May 21 at 9 a.m. Organizers anticipate 100,000 people to gather along the Douglas Street route to watch over 100 floats and marching bands. (Black Press file image)

Victoria Day Parade returns to celebrate 120 years

F18 Hornets to honour #HumboldtStrong with first ever fly past, kicking off parade

For 120 years, Victorians have kicked off the summer with the annual Island Farms Victoria Day Parade. The weekend full of events launches tomorrow.

“The parade is sort of the grand finale,” says Kelly Kurta, executive director of the Greater Victoria Festival Society.

The party kicks off Saturday at 10 a.m. with live music from the legislature lawn until 6 p.m. The fun picks up again at 10 a.m. Sunday, and keep your eyes on the water for the 44th Annual Decorated Boat Parade at 12:30 p.m. along the Inner Harbour.

Students from Reynolds secondary school lead the school’s marching band in the 2017 Victoria Day Parade. Photo contributed

At 2 p.m. the annual drum battle, a weekend favourite, throws down some hip-hop beats. “The kids have an absolute blast with it, and everyone takes over the [legislature] lawn,” Kurta says.

First thing Monday morning, expect road closures along Douglas Street, up to Finlayson, which will serve as the staging area for the parade.

A flash mob will signal the start of the festivities just after 8 a.m. with the parade to follow an hour later.

Keep some ear plugs handy as this year, a Royal Canadian Air Force 443 Squadron Sea King helicopter, followed by F-18 Hornets, will fly past in honour of all athletes, coaches and parents worldwide and to support #HumboldtStrong.

Known for showcasing some of the biggest and best marching bands in the Pacific Northwest, the parade will again feature local music makers as well as some from south of the border.

The University of Washington will be back with their cheerleaders who Kurta calls “top notch.”

Twelve judges will select winners in three categories – marching band, float and walking group – from over 100 entries in this year’s parade, which will also be viewable via live stream.

An estimated 50,000 people will watch remotely, along with the 100,000 expected to pack the edges of Douglas Street between Mayfair Shopping Centre and Humboldt Street.

People plan their vacations around the parade, Kurta says, and for some of the students travelling from Washington and Oregon to perform with their bands, it’ll mark their first trip to Canada.

“The parade has put us on the map, it’s part of our history,” she says.

For more details on post-parade festivities at Centennial Square, visit GVFS.ca or find the Greater Victoria Festival Society on Facebook.

kristyn.anthony@vicnews.com

Just Posted

Colwood art exhibit shines spotlight on Galloping Goose trail

Pieces inspired by views along the roughly 60-km trail

After-school activities to help your child grow

West Shore Parks and Recreation offers a number of programs for children of all ages

Registration open for West Shore fall sports programs

Lots of fall sports to get kids involved in

Langford Show and Shine ‘best we’ve ever had,’ say organizers

More than 1,000 people showed up to annual event

Michael Silberbauer named first coach of Pacific FC

The Island’s James Merriman named assistant coach

Oak Bay brothers scoop 10 kg of poop from park paths in 30 mins

Family picks up dog poo to give back, inspire others to be more responsible

Suspect in Spiderman suit steals camera on Vancouver Island

Suspect in red and blue “onesie” caught on surveillance footage breaking into truck in Nanaimo

B.C. team stays alive in Little League World Series after another nail-biter

Surrey-based squad scored a 6-4 win over Mexico reps in Williamsport on Monday

Zeballos wildfire not getting any closer to town – BC Wildfire Service

Authorities optimistic about Zeballos; choppers grounded due to heavy smoke

Kids, seniors at risk as smoke from distant fires hangs over parts of B.C.

B.C. Centre for Disease Control says children’s lungs don’t fully develop until about age 10

B.C. mother charged in 7-year-old daughter’s death appears in court

The 36-year-old mother, of Langley’s Aaliyah Rosa, has been charged with second-degree murder

UPDATE: Saanich Police seek to identify suspect in sexual assault

Assault occurred in broad daylight in tent near Ravine Way

VIDEO: Teen soccer phenomenon Alphonso Davies to visit B.C. kids camp

The 17-year-old Vancouver Whitecap player is one of the youngest players in MLS history

New plan to lift more than two million people past the poverty line

Anti-poverty strategy will aim for 50 per cent cut in low-income rates: source

Most Read