The organizers of Qualicum Beach Family Day really mean it when they say it’s fun for the whole family.
The fact that families include more than toddlers, says co-ordinator Marilynn Sims has prompted a focus for both teenagers and seniors as well.
“This year we will have a Battle of the Bands on the youth stage for the second year in a row, with $200 for first place and $100 for second,” she said. “Also, for the first time, because we’re trying to make it a more of an all-ages thing, we have seniors involved. We have the ukulele band from the seniors centre playing while the pancake breakfast is on and then we have a group of seniors from the gardens who are going to demonstrate seniors fitness at the end.”
Family Day chair Walter Hoogland said it’s important to include all members of the family — particularly in light of the fact the event has been staged for the past 35 years, meaning several generations have fond memories of attending when they were young.
“It has become a family tradition,” he said. “There’s a shack where we store all the stuff from previous years and we have people who see things they remember from their childhood — such as the sack races or the multi-person ski race that they want to bring back. They remember the day they used to go as a child and take part in the sack races and they want to see that come back.”
Hoogland noted the multi-generational aspect of Family Day is a two-way street however.
“We have lots of committee members who are grandparents, but we are really looking for some younger volunteers to get on the committee,” he said. “It’s working. They are coming on board.”
Sims said there are a few good reasons why Family Day is one of the most popular events on the Qualicum Beach calendar.
“I think its so welcoming and so friendly,” she said. “As well, everything is free, other than the concessions, and you just don’t find that anymore. People can use the climbing wall or the pony rides and it costs them absolutely nothing. That’s a huge draw. The only thing you can spend money on is the food. Parents like that because they don’t have a child crying because they can’t do this or that. They can go on those things as many times as they want.”
The concessions, she noted, are all run by local non-profit groups, so all the money raised by food sales goes right back into the community.