The Victoria Day Parade celebrates its 120th anniversary this year, hitting the streets of downtown Monday, May 21 at 9 a.m. Organizers anticipate 100,000 people to gather along the Douglas Street route to watch over 100 floats and marching bands. (Black Press file image)

Victoria Day Parade returns to celebrate 120 years

F18 Hornets to honour #HumboldtStrong with first ever fly past, kicking off parade

For 120 years, Victorians have kicked off the summer with the annual Island Farms Victoria Day Parade. The weekend full of events launches tomorrow.

“The parade is sort of the grand finale,” says Kelly Kurta, executive director of the Greater Victoria Festival Society.

The party kicks off Saturday at 10 a.m. with live music from the legislature lawn until 6 p.m. The fun picks up again at 10 a.m. Sunday, and keep your eyes on the water for the 44th Annual Decorated Boat Parade at 12:30 p.m. along the Inner Harbour.

Students from Reynolds secondary school lead the school’s marching band in the 2017 Victoria Day Parade. Photo contributed

At 2 p.m. the annual drum battle, a weekend favourite, throws down some hip-hop beats. “The kids have an absolute blast with it, and everyone takes over the [legislature] lawn,” Kurta says.

First thing Monday morning, expect road closures along Douglas Street, up to Finlayson, which will serve as the staging area for the parade.

A flash mob will signal the start of the festivities just after 8 a.m. with the parade to follow an hour later.

Keep some ear plugs handy as this year, a Royal Canadian Air Force 443 Squadron Sea King helicopter, followed by F-18 Hornets, will fly past in honour of all athletes, coaches and parents worldwide and to support #HumboldtStrong.

Known for showcasing some of the biggest and best marching bands in the Pacific Northwest, the parade will again feature local music makers as well as some from south of the border.

The University of Washington will be back with their cheerleaders who Kurta calls “top notch.”

Twelve judges will select winners in three categories – marching band, float and walking group – from over 100 entries in this year’s parade, which will also be viewable via live stream.

An estimated 50,000 people will watch remotely, along with the 100,000 expected to pack the edges of Douglas Street between Mayfair Shopping Centre and Humboldt Street.

People plan their vacations around the parade, Kurta says, and for some of the students travelling from Washington and Oregon to perform with their bands, it’ll mark their first trip to Canada.

“The parade has put us on the map, it’s part of our history,” she says.

For more details on post-parade festivities at Centennial Square, visit GVFS.ca or find the Greater Victoria Festival Society on Facebook.

kristyn.anthony@vicnews.com

Just Posted

Bizarre accident sends vehicle into water

Elderly Sooke resident involved in an accident in his driveway

Wait times for ICBC road tests increase in Victoria

Increase has no connection with tests becoming more challenging: ICBC

Victoria police searching for missing 72-year-old man

Albert Bedard was reported missing Oct. 13, believed to be in Sooke or Duncan

West Shore RCMP tape off Langford law office sent suspicious substance last month

No confirmation as to why police were back at Hemminger Law Group Monday afternoon

Central Saanich will allow police officers to use pot

Marijuana use by officers not allowed 24 hours before duty

Naked man jumping into Toronto shark tank a ‘premeditated’ stunt: official

The man swam in a tank at Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada

Advance voting begins Oct. 10 in Greater Victoria

The polls open at 8 a.m. for the 2018 municipal election with the general election taking place Oct. 20

Find your future at Black Press career fair in Victoria

More than 70 booths expected at Bay Street Armoury on Oct. 25

Trump: Saudi king ‘firmly denies’ any role in Khashoggi mystery

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is travelling to the Middle East to learn more about the fate of the Saudi national

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen dies at 65

Allen died in Seattle from complications of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma

Transport Canada to take new look at rules, research on school bus seatbelts

Canada doesn’t currently require seatbelts on school buses

Sockeye run in Shuswap expected to be close to 2014 numbers

Salute to the Sockeye on Adams River continues until Sunday, Oct. 21 at 4 p.m.

Michelle Mungall’s baby first in B.C. legislature chamber

B.C. energy minister praises support of staff, fellow MLAs

Canucks: Pettersson in concussion protocol, Beagle out with broken forearm

Head coach Travis Green called the hit ‘a dirty play’

Most Read