Lynne Gunter and Jennifer Marshall work on the White Rock float in preparation for the May 23 Hyack International Parade. Below

White Rock float shines at Hyack parade

New Westminster's event was the first of a half-dozen appearances lined up for White Rock's new float this season.

For the first time in about two decades, White Rock had an official float in another community’s parade – and it made an impression.

Saturday, the brightly coloured sea-themed creation joined the 41st Hyack International Parade in New Westminster, winning both the Director’s Award and the Sweepstake Award Best Overall Float.

“We felt we would get something, for sure,” a thrilled White Rock Events Society Chair Deanna Pedersen said Monday. “Mission accomplished. We were the best.”

Two days earlier, society volunteers including Pedersen and LaVerne Hogg (spouse of Surrey-White Rock MLA Gordon Hogg) were busy festooning, Velcroing, reinforcing and more in preparation for the procession, which got underway at 11 a.m. White Rock’s ‘Under the Sea’-themed creation – taking spot #84 – bore an estimated 40 fish hand-painted by Margaret Otte, a ‘sand’ castle and multiple sea anemones, not to mention the city’s youth ambassadors.

Float

Originally built last year, as part of efforts to revive the White Rock Sea Festival, the float had to be overhauled over the winter after issues with its structural design were discovered.

Stripped down to metal and wood, it’s now about 30 per cent bigger, Hogg said Thursday – and it will have even more fish adorning it by the time White Rock’s torchlight parade hits Marine Drive in August.

The Hyack parade was among about six appearances that have been lined up for the float this season. In addition to White Rock’s Sea Festival, it’s also set to be part of festivities in Marysville, Wash. on June 20; in Steveston on July 1; in Seattle on July 25; and in Penticton on Aug. 8.

Pedersen said Thursday that Marysville officials are “just thrilled to death” to include White Rock in their event, and she predicted that outside interest would grow as word of the float’s revival spreads.

She was right. White Rock’s colourful entry Saturday caught more than a few eyes.

“It was hugely received, it was wonderful,” Pedersen said. “We had a lot of people coming over to the float… wondering how we did that, or built that. Tons of people taking pictures.

“We had a lot of communities coming over to us afterward, wanting us to go to their parade, and we’re inviting them to ours.”

Pedersen said the parade was also good exposure for White Rock’s upcoming sea festival, as Hyack MCs broadcast details of it at three stations along the parade route.

“It was a win-win for everybody,” she said. “We just want to make sure that this float is worth it. We’re getting our name out there.”

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