It’s been 35 years since Qualicum Beach’s Family Day event began. Those that have attended it over the years have fond memories of parading their bikes down old streets sporting colorful streamers, dressing their kids in costumes or sticking their faces into plates full of jello. They remember pony rides, bouncy castles, laughter, music and spending quality time with family. The event has changed a bit over the years, but the focus has remained the same: family and children. That’s the theme one resident hopes will dominate this year’s parade.
“There use to be a lot of kids and a lot of families in it,” said Linda Cornell, who now has grandchildren entering the parade. “We need the commercial support and I understand that but it seems to be all organizations and commercial now. There isn’t just kids having fun being in the parade.”
In the past Cornell’s children would dress up in themes like the old woman who lived in a shoe, or rub-a-dub-dub three men in a tub. She said it doesn’t cost anything for parents to enter their kids in the parade and they can just simply carry balloons if they like
“I would just like to see kids riding their bikes or walking together. They don’t really need to be anything except to have fun,” she said.
Rob Ferguson remembers this fun. He remembers being in the parade about 28 years ago, riding his decorated bike with his classmates.
“I remember having these unorganized impromptu water fights all through town with all the kids,” he said.
He also remembers kids making go-carts and having a soap box rally down Berwick hill. Ferguson went traveling for the past nine years and has recently returned. He joined the Family Day Committee this year to help give back to the community. He has two children of his own now, ages one and three, and he’s looking forward to introducing them to this fun, family tradition.
“I’m looking forward to the huge bouncy castle we have coming. I’ve promised that to my kids a lot, we talked that up at home,” he said, adding, “it’s just such a special event in the way it’s run and what it has to offer. I’m looking forward to seeing that come together and also to be a part of it.”
Grayson Codlin and his family experienced the magic of Family Day for the first time last year, by accident.
“We walked up through the trees and it just opened up,” he said. “The tents were lined right up with face painting and people planting plants in cups and bouncy castles and music. It was quite the thing to come through our quiet woodsy trail to that. It was quite a bit of fun.”
Codlin has been in the area for three years, recently relocating to Qualicum Bay. He has three children aged two, three and five and said they had a fantastic time at the event. He was so taken with it himself he offered up his help for this year’s event.
He has helped with technical aspects and logistics of the event this year and has also organized a performance by Juno-nominated and acclaimed children’s singer/songwriter Clare Brett, along with an audience-facilitated dove release.
“I can’t wait for May 29,” he said, “I think I’m going to have as much fun as the kids.”
Those interested in joining in the parade still have plenty of time to register and more volunteers are also needed for the event.
Register online and check out the new, detailed website at www.qbfamilyday.com for all the events, or call 250-752-2300 for more information.