Believe it or not, the busiest time for Island Farms Victoria Day Parade chair Ron Butlin isn’t the week before the annual May long weekend event.
“The real crazy week is the week leading up to the entry deadline,” said Butlin, who has overseen organization of the parade for the past 21 years.
He had been fretting over the numbers leading up to last month’s cut-off for the 115th annual holiday extravaganza, but sounded pleased this week with the final roster of 129 entries.
“We’ve got 17 American (high school) bands and four Canadian bands, including Spectrum, Reynolds and Lambrick Park (from Greater Victoria),” he said. “Ingraham High from Seattle is making its 43rd consecutive appearance in the parade.”
Keeping the parade to a manageable size and duration is a constant concern with Butlin.
“Bigger isn’t necessarily better,” he said. “One year we had, I think, 147 entries and it was just too long.”
This year’s edition is expected to run about three hours. With the long-range forecast calling for mainly sunny conditions Monday with highs reaching 18 C, heat shouldn’t play a factor for parade watchers or participants alike.
Organizing the entries before the parade in the Mayfair Centre parking lots is a big job that falls upon about 40 volunteers from local Lions clubs. They’ll keep watch along the Douglas Street parade route as well, to make sure things keep moving.
The parade is the second-oldest continuously running parade in Canada, behind only the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Montreal. The Calgary Stampede parade celebrated its 100th year in 2012.
Douglas Street, from Tolmie Avenue to Humboldt Street, will be closed to traffic from 8 a.m. to about 1:15 p.m.