Sea fest society aims to rekindle support for White Rock event

Organizers of the 65th White Rock Sea Festival say a torchlight parade has always been a premier event of the weekend. - File
Organizers of the 65th White Rock Sea Festival say a torchlight parade has always been a premier event of the weekend.
— image credit: File

Organizers of the White Rock Sea Festival’s 65th birthday party are crossing their fingers city officials will see fit to invest in the 2014 summer celebration.

Specifically, the volunteers are hoping to convince council to approve $50,000 for a city float and commit a further $15,000 to fund a torchlight parade.

“That’s where it started and that’s what we wanted to bring back, so that’s where we’re headed,” said Brian Hagerman, head of the newly formed society leading the effort.

Hagerman and fellow White Rock Events Society 2013 member Michelle Pedersen were to make the appeal to council during a delegation tonight (Monday evening), after Peace Arch News’ press deadline.

Expecting to make a quick pitch – “to give city council an early look, so to speak” – Hagerman told PAN the effort to breathe new life into the waterfront festival has gained momentum since meetings to explore the options began last summer. It followed criticism of the scaled-down 2013 event, in which festivities including the parade were limited to East Beach.

“From where we were four months ago, I think that we’re starting to really gel,” Hagerman said. “But we’ve got a lot of work to do in order to put it together.”

The festival’s future has been in doubt in recent years due to declining sponsorship and volunteers. It’s been organized since the late ’90s by the Community of Lights Events Society, which formed in the wake of fraud charges against the previous society’s president.

The new group has been meeting since mid-August.

Hagerman said the reception so far has been “wonderful.” He described the parade as the premier event of the festival, and said a float is “something the city should own,” that could also be used to promote White Rock in other communities.

“The people that come to the parade, they come in part because we get out there and we’re being ambassadors,” Hagerman said.

While details have not been worked out, Hagerman said the festival will be a full-weekend event, Aug. 1-4, with fireworks and a Sunday parade.

“We’re hoping that we will get some key sponsors,” Hagerman said. “Certainly, there’s some obvious groups that you would think might want to lend their name to the parade.”

He believes the milestone year will entice residents, businesses and the city to get onboard.

“The reason that everyone’s gotten themselves sort of geared up for this … is because it’s the 65th,” he said.

The festival society meets on the first Wednesday of every month. To get involved, contact Hagerman at 604-536-5634.


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