Thousands turned out for the Spirit of the Sea Festival last weekend

Thousands flock to White Rock for Spirit of the Sea Festival

Musicians entertained, vendors displayed wares and all types of food was served as celebrants strolled White Rock beach July 29 to Aug. 1.

The waterfront was flooded with festival-goers last weekend, as White Rock celebrated the Spirit of the Sea.

Musicians entertained, vendors displayed wares and all types of food was served as celebrants strolled the beach July 29 to Aug. 1.

According to event chair John Timms – who volunteered as a shuttle bus driver all weekend – the festival “went very well.”

“I probably personally carried a couple hundred people off the beach and everyone was very appreciative; everyone said they had a wonderful time.”

The previous weekend’s sewage leak – in which 60,000 gallons of food waste and sewage flowed into the water, closing the beach until Wednesday – did little to dampen interest in the annual event.

While Timms didn’t have an estimated number of attendants, he said thousands of people turned out, particularly on Sunday.

“Sunday was a very busy day,” he said, noting that evening’s parade was bigger than the previous year’s.

Other highlights included Saturday night’s fireworks, the Kids Zone in Semiahmoo Park and the Main Stage, which was moved from the white rock to by the pier.

“(We had) a lot of very positive comments about having the stage front and centre.”

The public was respectful, Timms said, and the grounds were kept “immaculate.”

“People were very good that way,” he said. “Crowds dispersed evenly and quickly from the beach. My understanding is that there were very few problems.

“It seems to have had very much a sort of local community festival flavour. It draws a lot of families down to the beach, and I think it’s the type of crowd that knows how to come down and just really enjoy the festivities, and that’s what they’re there for.”

Sgt. Roland Pierschke confirmed the event went smoothly from a police perspective. Other than some minor incidents with youth and liquor, everyone was “very well behaved.”

Mayor Catherine Ferguson said businesses were busy, there were lots of tourists and the fireworks were well received.

Timms said the festival was “definitely in a rebuilding mode from last year… The lack of sponsorship dollars certainly had an effect on the committee’s ability to plan ahead.”

The committee will start planning the 2012 festival next month, and is to focus on improving logistical planning, fundraising and the event’s website, he said.

Having been short about 50 volunteers, Timms said the committee will also look to build a core group of adult leaders.


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