A member of the Parksville-Qualicum Shrine Club greeting spectators at last year’s Qualicum Beach Family Day parade. This year, the annual event will be held on Sunday, May 28. — NEWS file photo

Qualicum Beach Family Day celebrating town’s 75th anniversary, Canada 150

Annual celebration is May 28 at Qualicum Beach Civic Centre

After 41 years, the Qualicum Beach Family Day is still bringing the community to life, says one town councillor.

The 41st annual Qualicum Beach Family Day is Sunday, May 28. The annual event will be held at the Qualicum Beach Civic Centre fields for an afternoon of interactive games and activities which range from a bouncy castle and pony rides to food and entertainment for the whole family.

The festivities begin at 10 a.m. with a free swim, followed by a parade down Second Avenue at noon and field activities behind the civic centre will kick off at 1 p.m.

Family Day committee chair Jessica McLaren said in addition to the popular bouncy castle, climbing walls, pony rides for kids, a magician will perform throughout the crowd and on stage, as well as belly dancers.

McLaren said Airhouse Nanaimo, a freestyle training centre offering a wide range of trampoline and action sport programs, will be hosting a competition at the skate park from 1-4 p.m. with semi-professionals giving tips to children. McLaren said kids are welcome to bring their skateboards, bikes or scooters.

The theme for the 2017 Qualicum Beach Family Day is Then and Now, to help celebrate the town’s 75th anniversary and the country’s 150th year of confederation, said Coun. Neil Horner, the town’s liaison for the Family Day committee.

“It seemed like an entirely appropriate theme for this year over any other,” said Horner.

McLaren said there will also be a watermelon-eating contest. She said it ties in with the theme of Then and Now since it brings things “back to the good ol’ days” of pie-eating contests, but she said watermelon eating gives it a healthy twist.

For the past four decades on the last Sunday in May, residents have come together to celebrate the community at Family Day. Since 1976, Family Day has been sponsored by the Town of Qualicum Beach and organized by a group of dedicated volunteers.

While Qualicum Beach is thought of as a retirement community, Horner said, it’s quite remarkable when Family Day comes around and there are so many kids around.

“It really brings the town to life and what a great opportunity for our senior citizens, of which we have many, to interact with the little gaffers and they bring a room to life,” Horner said. “It’s a great opportunity for the whole community to get together, young and old — then and now — and spend some real quality time together.”

Some of the activities meant to incorporate the theme, Horner said, include Graham Beard and his fossil collection, activities at the skate park and old-style games such as sack races.

“The bottom line is we want the kids to have a good time,” he said. “Hopefully, when the parents go home, they’ll still have some of their hair left.”

The first 500 people will receive a cupcake.