Behind the scenes of the Oak Bay Tea Party

Chairman of the Oak Bay Tea Party Society Bill Murphy Dyson hands a copy of the event's annual traffic information sheet for nearby residents on Tuesday to Esplanade homeowner Kari LeBlanc. Murphy Dyson encourages Tea Party attendees to take transit

Chairman of the Oak Bay Tea Party Society Bill Murphy Dyson hands a copy of the event's annual traffic information sheet for nearby residents on Tuesday to Esplanade homeowner Kari LeBlanc. Murphy Dyson encourages Tea Party attendees to take transit

Asked if he has a brochure, a poster or any kind of Tea Party swag from his 20-plus years volunteering with the event, Bill Murphy-Dyson is at a loss.

One would expect to find some Oak Bay Tea Party memorabilia in the office of the organizing committee chair.

He rustles through some file folders, points out the names of a couple key volunteers, but is hard pressed to find anything visibly related to Oak Bay’s biggest community celebration of the year.

To the visitor, it seems he’s very good at leaving his volunteer job at the office – which in this case, and this weekend, will be Willows Park and beach.

“I made the mistake of volunteering (in 1989) because (the former chair) was a client of our firm and he immediately said ‘You’re in charge of the parade,’” Murphy-Dyson recalls.

The parade chair job has long since been handed over to Rick Hawes. But Murphy-Dyson – easily recognizable on site as the man on the microphone and the guy in the green pinstriped shirt – continues to handle much of the behind-the-scenes work, along with committee secretary, Sandy Germain.

Germain is such a fan of Tea Party, in fact, she’s taken to jumping from a plane for it.

An active member of Victoria Skydiving Adventures, she’ll be among the people diving out of a plane high above Willows Beach between 2 and 3 p.m. Sunday (June 5), with the goal of landing safely on the sand. Oak Bay Sea Rescue volunteers in their rescue vessel are on the water for the air show and all of the Tea Party’s other beach-based events in case of any mishaps.

In its 49th year of providing family fun and a vehicle for service clubs to raise funds for their various causes, Oak Bay Tea Party kicks off the early summer season for many people in the region’s core municipalities.

So what makes this event so popular?

“It’s compact. It’s fun. It’s safe,” Murphy-Dyson says. “If the weather’s good (at press time the forecast called for sunshine), the Commodores Big Band draws a lot of ballroom dancers on Sunday. (The biggest spectacle is) probably the air show. People are just awed by that.”

The hope is for two helicopters to be on hand this time, a Sea King from the 443 Squadron in Sidney and a Cormorant from 442 Squadron in Comox.

Murphy-Dyson has a few tips for Tea Party goers: “Number 1 is leave your car at home. Cycle or take transit to get down to the beach,” he says. “Number 2 is come intending to spend the day.”

The third thing is don’t worry about what order you do things in. With entertainment going on virtually all day, the midway available till 9 p.m. and various food choices on hand – not to mention the beach – it’s a place to make a day of it, he says.

A full schedule of events is available online at www.oakbayteaparty.com.

– files from Erin Cardone

editor@oakbaynews.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Zahra Rayani-Kanji of Heart Pharmacy, Sidney Pharmacy manager James McCullough, and Naz Rayani, owner and founder of Heart Pharmacy, join sisters Becky Brigham and Judy Costanzo outside the business. Sidney Pharmacy has become the sixth Heart Pharmacy outlet in Greater Victoria after its purchase from Brigham and Costanzo. Their parents, Frances and Jim Brigham, first opened the business in 1959. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Sidney Pharmacy changes ownership, but retains family tradition

First opened by Frances and Jim Brigham in 1959, Sidney Pharmacy is now part of Heart Pharmacy

Ronald Schinners, owner of The Cabbie in the #YYJ, opened his taxi service in the West Shore last month. (Dawn Gibson/News Staff)
‘One man show,’ The Cabbie in the #YYJ cultivates 45,000 followers on Instagram

New taxi company brings unusual spunk to the West Shore

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has in the past warned of Öffnungsdiskusionorgien (translated as an orgy of discussions about openings), one of one of the 1,200 words added to the German lexicon as reported by the Leibniz Institute for the German Language. (Michael Kappeler/Pool via AP)
German lexicon grows by 1,200 words, many inspired by COVID-19 pandemic

Öffnungsdiskusionorgie (orgy of discussions about openings) among new entries

A decade into the 100-year blueprint for restoring the Bowker Creek watershed, Soren Henrich, director of the Friends of Bowker Creek Society, feels positive about the future of conservation and daylighting of the creek. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Ten years in, Greater Victoria’s 100-year Bowker Creek blueprint gets a boost

Victoria council passes several restoration recommendations

During a press event on March 6, Const. Alex Berube, media relations officer for the West Shore RCMP, addressed a deadly shooting that occurred in Metchosin the night before. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
VIDEO: One man shot dead in ‘targeted incident’ on Sooke Road

Highway 14 reopens following multi-hour closure for investigation

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

The Port Alice pulp mill has been dormant since 2015. (North Island Gazette file photo)
Parts recycled, life returning to inlet as as old Port Alice mill decommissioned

Bankruptcy company oversees de-risking the site, water treatment and environmental monitoring

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Ex-B.C. teacher who was CFL kicker charged with assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

(Black Press Media files)
Medicine gardens help Victoria’s Indigenous kids in care stay culturally connected

Traditional plants brought to the homes of Indigenous kids amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Personal protective equipment is seen in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
$16.9 million invested to improve worker safety, strengthen B.C.’s food supply chain

Money to be used for social distancing, personal protective equipment, cleaning, and air circulation

More than ever before, as pandemic conditions persist, the threat of data breaches and cyberattacks continues to grow, according to SFU professor Michael Parent. (Pixabay photo)
SFU expert unveils 5 ways the COVID-19 pandemic has forever changed cybersecurity

Recognizing these changes is the first in a series of steps to mitigate them once the pandemic ends, and before the next: Michael Parent

Most Read