Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Kaslo May Days

Since 1892, the long weekend in May has been a gathering time for celebrations at Kaslo May Days. I have been in the Kootenays since 2004, and never attended one of those parties. This year I decided enough was enough. The 3-day festival features many fun-filled, family-centred, world-class competition and people-packed activities. I realized when I was asking people along the street where the parade route was, that I have never spent the long weekend in May actually in the Kootenays. This is usually the time to head out into the world, with the days of snow-packed roads behind us; those journeys were often to the coast to visit my daughter (and occasionally - Ikea), but now she is seeking her fame and fortune on the prairies.

And so I picked the third day of the festival for many reasons; I couldn't attend the whole weekend (that garden), and there were two highlights I was excited about: the parade and the May Pole Dance. The Dance has happened every year since 1923, an event not to be missed.

I figured it was the event happening here when I was driving up to Kaslo, usually an hour drive with few cars on the road. When I was nearing Kaslo, there was a line of 10 vehicles. The excitement was building. Here's the welcoming:

It turns out you don't really need directions to the parade route; it pretty well covers the downtown. But what is most thrilling about this parade is that it goes around the town - twice! And the crowds gather. Here are some highlights:

There were 3 bands - a bagpipe band, the Samba band (from Nelson) and musicians who accompanied the Grans to Grans (see picture above), a group of Grandmothers who raise money to help the Grandmothers in Africa who are caring for their grandchildren because the parents have died from AIDS. There are more than 220 Canadian groups of women who are supporting the program; this includes the Kaslo group as well as one in Nelson.

At the parade, I spotted Frida Kahlo:

And this woman... Yep, she is hoola hooping...

The other highlights were: the entire fire department, the entire police department, and the entire ambulance service.

After the second passing, we were off to the May Pole event. Children from the Grade 1 (and some Grade 2) class were the chosen ones; the audience was full of former dancers, and other enthusiasts.

Here they are:

I walked around the grounds, had a hoola hoop lesson, and ate Verna's perogies for lunch. (Not as impressive as my mother's.)

While I was wandering around, I heard many tales of the first two days of May Days. And I realized, I am not sure that I can say that I have truly attended the event when I didn't see the Logger Sports.

Which brings me to this - there is always something to look forward to in life.

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