- BC Games
Celebrating Island Paradise together
As the Bowfest parade readies up at the school, I stand on Government Road near Cardena, writing this column in my mind, to be recorded later. It’s not new territory for the Lane, I wrote a column in my mind on March 5, 2010 while acting in ‘Under Milk Wood’ at the United Church.
No notebook, just brainpower. Yikes!
It is August 24, 2013 and I see this: I see Bowen, in all her glory, reflected in her citizens now assembled in a haphazard manner along the curbsides. The kids are galloping about like wee Shetland ponies, the adults laugh and commiserate. A great many of us are here and I consider how organizers spent time making calls, sending emails and meeting, all on our behalf.
“Thank you very much,” is what I think.
The connection to celebrations all over Canada and the world is something easy to love about Bowfest. In Gibsons there’s the Sea Cavalcade, in Vernon it’s the Sunshine Festival and in Kamsack, Saskatchewan, there’s the Culture Days Fest. In far away Sibiu, Romania, where islanders Alex and Dana Torok are from, they have the Medieval Festival.
People celebrating community, together.
As for parades, in Victoria, my family went to the parade when I was a child, but I always got bored and wished we might go home early. As an adult I’ve shown even less tolerance for parades and yet have never missed this one. It’s not just any parade, of course – it is our parade.
“Oh God, I can’t believe Bowfest is here already,” a woman says.
“I can’t believe the summer is almost over,” says another.
“Here they come!”
The parade has indeed begun, crossing Miller now, a line-up of marchers and floats, of mirth-makers. They’ve made contact with the upper-reaches of the crowd and I am on the move, hustling forward, dodging urchins, snapping photos. In crowd shots I get most everyone, likely even you.
Everywhere there are children, Dylan and her athletic brother Jagger, the Morissette siblings, sisters Kylee Lightbody and Jo-Jo Bucklesnort, Kayla King and actor Thomas DeZwart. I spot brothers Hudson, Caius and Vale, brothers Atom and Raiden and brothers Eli and Jakey Pierse. Isabella (a.k.a. Coco) is here, as is Myah Grundy, Aiden Maxwell and soccer stars Mait Davis and Spencer Beatty.
Adults include the soon-to-be Karen Hausch, Tim Hausch, Joanna Journet, the bashful Donna Bottay, Carol Petersen, Edye Hanen, Reg Lucas, Bailey Faragher and 2009 citizen of the year, Nairn Knipe. Elsbeth and Peter Van Wingerden (Anna’s grandparents) are here, as is the athletic Mary Boyle, Lynda Phillips, Jim DeZwart, the affable Sam Greenspoon, yoga-man Wade Morissette, Judy De Pfyffer, horseman Sonny Johnson and Daphne Begg.
Bowen is here.
The parade closes in upon me, upon us, and is a potpourri of movement, colour and sound, with the regal in red RCMP Cpl. Nancy Joyce leading. Hooray for Bowen! I see juggler Paul Stewart and there’s Christine Miller and BIHORA with the wonderful horses. Here comes the youthful and highly-amusing story-teller, Raia Landry, firmly grasping a sign announcing Evergreen Acres.
Our warm-hearted Citizens of the Year, Diane and Don Marshall, flash by, waving. Is that Michael Epp dancing? It is. He looks like a young Fred Astaire, or an old Justin Bieber. The Belterra float has interpreted this year’s theme of Island Paradise with a Gilligan’s Island float and Cam Hayduk sings the familiar theme song (to those over...) with élan.
The USSC Marina misread the memo and produced Island Pair-a-Dice. Erin Meeres and Chelsea Denholm zip about so quickly I cannot get a picture. James Dunn is lady-like in a Polynesian skirt and bra and carries a sign reading on one side ‘Ooops, Wrong Island’ and the other ‘Wrong Parade’. The nod to the recent Vancouver Pride Parade surely had members of the LGBT community smiling, too.
Another highlight is the volunteer firefighters’ – wives and girlfriends. Did I just think that? Moving on, and the parade is forever moving on, is the SKY float, seniors keeping fit by partying on a bus. Random people seen department: Ali Stone (she plays banjo, too!), Emily Carlington, Sam Hayduk, Benjamin Kerr, Samantha Kerr, Ryan Kerr, Katarina-Katarina Kerr, Pam Culver, Mattias Blomberg and Josie Huskisson.
Finally, they do not have the dictates of a ferry schedule in Gibsons, Vernon, Kamsack or Sibiu, and so it is the parade always ends a little early for me. But of course it is good form to leave ‘em wanting more and there shall be more – next year.
And on and on from there.