One of the major events of the Creston Valley Blossom Festival is the Saturday morning parade. In the early hours of May 19, volunteers begin the task of turning the Prince Charles Secondary School parking lot into a staging area for the big parade. Milk jugs are coded with numbers and the various components of the parade are assigned spots. As the clock keeps ticking, more and more entries begin to line up and take their spots. New parade director Tamara Cox and her team work diligently as time is always against them.
Suddenly, shortly after 9:30 a.m., everything is in place, and the judges under the direction of chief judge Ed Vondracek begin their tough assignment of evaluating the floats and other entries that have asked to be judged. By 10:45, the judging is done, the winners have been notified and another group of volunteers carries placards in front of the winning entries, which will draw a huge hand as the parade winds its way down Canyon from 18th Avenue to Devon Street.
Oh, what a parade it is! Dignitaries, like the citizen of the year, who was named the night before, completes his or her first official task of riding in a convertible in the parade. Members of Creston town council, including the mayor, and politicians from the area at the federal and provincial levels round out the dignitaries. It wouldn’t be a parade without bands and you can expect at least two pipe bands, a bugle marching band and the Shriners all providing entertainment along the way.
One of the more competitive parts of the parade are the various floats. Some designed by professionals, while most rely on the skill and creativity of the various volunteers who design and build the float. There are various prizes up for grabs, including at the commercial and organizational levels. Prizes are also awarded to the best out of town entry. All of the hard work tends to pay off as the floats tend to draw the oohs and ahs from the huge crowd along the way.
It just wouldn’t be a Creston Valley-style parade without some horses — after all, in some sense, we live in horse country. Costumed riders, purebred horses and a chuck wagon or stagecoach or buggy just might make an appearance. There is always something for children and you can look for clowns of every description, even the ones that handle the pooper scooper behind the horses. The credit union train from Cranbrook will once again be making an appearance and later on that same day they will be offering rides at the children’s show.
Most people have their favourites. Some like to see that vintage cars will be making an appearance Sunday in the custom car show on Canyon Street. Others like the performance cars, while still others like the demolition derby cars.
All parades have to come to an end and Creston is no different from other towns and cities. The fire department shines and polishes up several of their units and the sirens wail as they bring the parade to a happy conclusion.
This has been a preview of what to expect on May 19 and there is much more to come. The Creston Valley Blossom Festival welcomes all to enjoy the parade. Come early and pick your spot.
If you plan to enter a float your entries are needed soon. Forms are available on the website at www.blossomfestival.ca.
— BY HUGH JOHNSTON