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

Just Posted

BC Green Party leader and Cowichan Valley MLA Sonia Furstenau introduced a petition to the provincial legislature on Thursday calling for the end of old-growth logging in the province. (File photo)
Cowichan Valley MLA Furstenau introduces old-growth logging petition

BC Green Party calls for the end of old-growth logging as protests in Fairy Creek continue

Residents encouraged to fill out online survey to provide feedback on regional needs. (Pixabay)
Toronto alternative band July Talk will be performing at the Royal Theatre in December. (Courtesy of July Talk)
Victoria ticket sales begin Friday for live July Talk concert

Juno-winning band scheduled to perform at Royal Theatre at Christmastime

Wanted man Michael Bruce was arrested Wednesday in Langford. (Black Press Media file photo)
West Shore RCMP find wanted man hiding under mattress

Michael Bruce had multiple warrants out for his arrest in Sooke and the West Shore

Brian Korzenowski rides with Athena, left, and Venus who are safely strapped in and goggled up with the wind in their fur. (Zoe Ducklow - Sooke News Mirror)
Double-dog motorcycle sidecar brings smiles to Sooke Road commuters

Athena and Venus are all teeth and smiles from their Harley-Davidson sidecar

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: When was the last time you visited the mainland?

The films are again lighting the screens at local theatres, the wine… Continue reading

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of June 15

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

The Calgary skyline is seen on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
2 deaths from COVID-19 Delta variant in Alberta, 1 patient was fully immunized

Kerry Williamson with Alberta Health Services says the two patients, a man and a woman likely acquired the virus in the hospital

B.C. Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth and Attorney General David Eby attend opening of the first government-run B.C. Cannabis Store, Kamloops, Oct. 19, 2018. (B.C. government)
B.C. government to allow home cannabis delivery starting July 15

Added convenience expected to persuade buyers to ‘go legal’

The first suspension bridge is the tallest in Canada, with a second suspension bridge just below it. The two are connected by a trail that’s just over 1 km. (Claire Palmer photo)
PHOTOS: The highest suspension bridges in Canada just opened in B.C.

The Skybridge in Golden allows visitors to take in views standing at 130 and 80 metres

B.C. Premier John Horgan leaves his office for a news conference in the legislature rose garden, June 3, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. premier roasted for office budget, taxing COVID-19 benefits

Youth addiction law that triggered election hasn’t appeared

BC Ferries’ newest Island Class vessel is experiencing an issue with one of its thrusters off the Algerian coast. Photo courtesy patbaywebcam.com.
BC Ferries newest vessel having mechanical issues in Mediterranean

Island 4 will be repaired in Spain before crossing Atlantic

A vial containing the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is shown at a vaccination site in Marcq en Baroeul, outside Lille, northern France, Saturday, March 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Michel Spingler
mRNA vaccines ‘preferred’ for all Canadians, including as 2nd dose after AstraZeneca: NACI

New recommendations prioritizes Pfizer, Moderna in almost all cases

Most Read