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

Driver convicted in death of Const. Sarah Beckett granted partial parole

Kenneth Jacob Fenton will be able to attend an alcohol abuse treatment, nearly three years after fatal crash in Langford

BREAKING: Crews responding to fire at Songhees First Nation

Crews on scene of residential home fire

City of Victoria earmarks $90,000 for mayoral assistant

The new Head of Strategy and Operations would help with municipal duties

Experts discuss sustainability and tourism in Victoria

IMPACT Sustainability Travel and Tourism Conference runs Jan. 21-23

GALLERY: Shots of the lunar eclipse from Victoria and beyond

Amateur and professional photographers capture the stunning celestial event

WATCH: Celebration of Life hosted for 29 Victoria trees set to be removed

Community Trees Matter Network hosting “goodbye and thank you” for trees on Fort Street

Speaker brings report on allegations to B.C. legislature committee

Report describes Darryl Plecas’ suspicions about senior staff

Suspect allegedly armed with handgun robs Island gas station

Incident occurred Sunday night in Nanaimo

B.C. man charged in 2014 snake venom death of toddler

Henry Thomas was taking care of the North Vancouver girl the day before she died

MARS seeing influx of sick, injured eagles from north part of Vancouver Island

Factors for increase in eagle cases can be anything from lead poisoning to vehicle strikes

Doug Ford says the Liberals’ carbon tax will plunge Canada into recession

The Ontario premier said there are already warning signs of difficult economic times ahead

Kamala Harris opens U.S. presidential bid in challenge to Trump

The 54-year old portrayed herself as a fighter for justice, decency and equality in a video distributed by her campaign

B.C.’s largest public-sector union wants inquiry into money laundering, drugs

Union officials say Premier John Horgan and Attorney General David Eby have not ruled out the possibility of a public inquiry

Woman offers luxury Alberta home for just $25 and a flair for the written word

Alla Wagner ran into health problems, which forced her to list the 5,000-square-foot estate at market value

Most Read