Our mouths dropped as we watched White Rock’s torchlight “parade” pass us by on Saturday night. We have never seen anything like it in our 27 years in White Rock.
The entire parade consisted of two groups of youth ambassadors and princesses walking at the front, followed by one marching band from the Falun Gong Association and one float from the New Westminster Hyack Festival.
There used to be floats from different organizations and cities. Where were the dignitaries? Where were the clowns, the fire trucks, the Kiwanis Club…?
We felt so sorry for all the children who were excited about seeing the parade. We saw families rushing from West Beach towards East Beach when they realized the parade was not going to be at the pier area. The kids were distraught thinking they might miss the parade. How disappointing it must have been when they arrived.
It’s like the parade was put together the night before.
We checked the Spirit of the Sea Festival website and noticed it asked for $20 donations. If funding was an issue, why were the vendors put on the parking lots taking away significant parking revenue, which surely the city would be willing to return for festival use?
It also removed parking spaces for visitors who had to park on West Beach and walk all the way to East Beach, a difficulty for young children and elderly family members.
Suggesting visitors take the trolley was unrealistic, as it ran every hour. There were no places to sit. Standing on concrete made it hot and unpleasant to listen to the music.
What was behind the decision to concentrate all activities on East Beach? The pier and the museum are the nuclei of the city. Visitors were lost as to where the stages were, and totally confused when there was no sign of the parade. The board map at Tourist Information was useless, since it did not show the route of the parade – although it makes sense now that we know there was no need for a route; a dot on the map was indeed sufficient.
It could be argued we should not criticize the festival society, since it is staffed by volunteers.
But if canvassing sponsors was not fruitful, then the parade should have been cancelled.
The city has a responsibility to work with the society responsible for organizing the sea festival and ensure it reflects White Rock well. One would think the low turnout at the Tour de White Rock would trigger a watchful eye as to what might happen at the sea festival.
There seems to be something political about all this. The merchants of White Rock should be very concerned – visitors may not come here again.
The city and festival should apologize to the children, their parents and all tourists who travelled a long way to come to White Rock for a disaster of a sea festival.
Lolo Wills, White Rock
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I’m not sure who’s in charge of things in this city, but what passed for a parade this past weekend defies description.
Thousands of visitors came out for that?
I sat and waited for an hour and a half for that?
If we’re going to invite people to a parade, let’s get serious about it. Otherwise, scrap it.
Bill Piket, White Rock