Inaugural harbour festival makes big splash

The Sooke Harbour Festival ended with a big splash after its inaugural launch at the boardwalk on Saturday.

  • Aug. 23, 2016 4:00 p.m.

The Sooke Harbour Festival ended with a big splash after its inaugural launch at the boardwalk on Saturday.

The event aimed to highlight Sooke’s prowess when it comes to marine sports and fun activities by the water.

Which it  achieved, said Quinn Yates, the festival’s organizer and outdoor literacy coordinator for the Edward Milne Society in Sooke.

“It was pretty successful for our inaugural festival. The morning was a bit of a slow start, but it peaked around 1 p.m.,” he said.

“It all played out well, the weather couldn’t of been better.”

The event’s highlight was its free stand-up paddle boarding and kayaking activities, which were booked hours in advance. Still, it was a good way to get Sookies interested in the water, especially when it’s on a budget.

“People were pretty open to coming down and trying out all these new sports, especially that it didn’t have the price tag usually attached to those kinds of things,” Yates said, noting that this was the first time the boardwalk was used for such an event.

He pointed out its potential, and that the boardwalk just hasn’t been tapped into yet. Not that it’s an easy thing to pull off.

“Logistically, it’s a tough place to do things. It involves a lot of volunteer power to get all the stuff down there, but once it was there, it was incredible. You can watch the races and you can enjoy the harbour.”

Yates said he was impressed by the variety of age groups that were coming in for the event, from kids, to families with kids, teenagers, adults and seniors.

With the sunshine and summer now behind him, Yates hopes to make the festival a shorter event and later in the day next time around.

“It’s hard to convince people to get out early on a Saturday,” he said, as the reason why it had to be so early was because of the incoming tides, which would of otherwise made it difficult for novice paddle boarders and kayakers to navigate.

“It wouldn’t make a big difference to experienced paddlers, but I wanted this to be open to people who hadn’t tried it before or were just trying to get into it.”


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