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143 reasons to attend Island Farms Victoria Day Parade

May 15 2012

There will be almost one entry for each of Victoria's 150 years when the Island Farms Victoria Day Parade hits Douglas Street May 21.

Long-serving parade chairman Ron Butlin said 143 floats, bands and other attractions have signed up for the 2012 parade, and many will have a 150th anniversary theme in honour of the city's milestone.

Marching bands from Spectrum Community School and Reynolds Secondary are in the lineup, but Lambrick Park Secondary's band has been pulled out due to a decision by some B.C. teachers to limit their participation in extracurricular activities.

The only other B.C. band is from Burnaby North Secondary. Sixteen are coming from the United States.

Butlin said he is excited about the visiting floats, including one from WestJet that has a helium-filled plane as its centrepiece.

He said the public can count on some special local entries, as well. "I know there's a lot of work going into it with a number of them."

Victoria Mayor Dean Fortin will be at the front of the parade to help mark the city's anniversary. He will go as far as city hall, where he will step out and watch the proceedings.

As always, judging will be a big part of the occasion - there is even a $500 prize for the best period costume this year - and judging coordinator Denise Beauchamp is ready to lead at least a dozen volunteers through their paces. She has been a parade judge for 30 years, notwithstanding a move to Nanaimo.

Beauchamp said judges will be busy evaluating everything from floats and decorated cars to music, drill teams and walking groups.

The parade leaves from the Mayfair Shopping Centre parking lot at 9 a.m., and travels down Douglas Street to Belleville Street.

jwbell@timescolonist.com

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