Canada Day preparations for Parksville underway

Huge parade and much more planned for Community Park and downtown

As one of the biggest celebrations on Vancouver Island, Parksville’s Canada Day is sticking with its winning formula but always making minor improvements explained stage manager Megan Olsen.

One notable change will see the day’s activities open downtown, where the traditional Shriner’s pancake breakfast will be relocated from Community Park.

“That’s the biggest change, people can go downtown early for the parade and they don’t have to go up and down the hill into the park,” she said.

The popular start of the day will run from 7:30 to 11 a.m. in the Coastal Community Credit Union parking lot where people will already be on location when the parade starts at 10 a.m.

Organized by the Parksville Rotary Club for the third year, the day will kick into high gear with the parade on its familiar route from Shelly Road, along Highway 19A and up Craig Street to city hall.

Activity in Community Park starts at noon on the main stage in the big field with a celebration of Rotary’s 100 year’s of service, opening speeches and Oh Canada.

An acoustic showcase will ease people into the day’s music amid the park filled with vendors, children’s games, rides and family activities of all sorts — which Olsen said they are making a special effort to make more affordable this year.

The showcase will include a host of local solo and small groups and duos, including some of the area’s amazing younger talent.

At 4 p.m. Victoria’s folk/rock Archers — who recently opened for Hey Ocean — will play for an hour, followed by the local Electric Kool-Aid.

Runner up in the provincial Peak Performance Project, Jordan Klassen, will take to the stage at 6 p.m. with his gentle folk stylings, followed by local favourites and Rod and Gun regulars Baby Jane at 7 p.m.

The big headliner this year is U4 who bill themselves as “Canada’s premier U2 tribute” and will bring a big show to Parksville’s big park starting at 8:30 p.m. and running through to the fireworks spectacular at about 10 p.m. over the bay.

Though accurate numbers are impossible in a wide open park, organizers have estimated around 20,000 people come through, and while all the work is well under way Olsen is calling for all the volunteer help they can get.

Anyone interested in volunteering, donating or getting involved in any way is encouraged to contact Olsen at olsen_megan@yahoo.com or 250-937-0999 or Raven Pruden at 250-240-6848.