WATCH: Nanaimo is expecting to draw large crowds for this weekends festivities surrounding the 52nd bathtub race. The big race is Sunday but activities started Friday and run throughout the weekend. Here’s Kendall Hanson with more.
Traffic was shut down and there was an energy in the air as hip-hop dancers set the mood on Nanaimo’s Commercial Street on Friday.
Nanaimo’s holding the 52nd annual championship bathtub race and family-friendly activities are happening in Nanaimo’s downtown throughout the weekend.
“Starting at 9:30 Saturday. Free fun activity right through to four or five in the afternoon,” said Kevan Shaw of the Victoria Cresent Association. “We’re going to have a 65-foot obstacle course where you can pretend you’re a ninja warrior or gladiator, 25-foot high giant slide, bouncing castle.”
Most activities will be at Maffeo Sutton Park, which will host the bathtub race on Sunday and fireworks Saturday night.
“We have a big beer garden licensed off to the side but the whole park is free and we have somewhere in the neighbourhood of 12 or 14 bands that will play for free all weekend,” said Greg Peacock of the Nanaimo Loyal Bathtub Society.
Kurt Henderson is raring to go even though his bathtub’s Suzuki motor was stolen in May.
“It’s an adrenaline rush and a really cool close-knit group of people like-minded a lot of friendship, camaraderie and competition,” said Henderson, a veteran bathtubber.
He’s bought a replacement motor and has set his goals.
“To finish first and foremost and top five after that,” he said.
With less than 48 hours until the race starts, the conditions look great for spectators but it could be potentially windy on the water again. Last year, racers were hit by high winds and just five of the nearly 40 entries made it to shore.
“But we’ve got lots of great interest. There are tons of tubs registering,” said Peacock. “We have a number of people coming over from Vancouver to race this year which we haven’t had for a long time so it’s very exciting for us.”
There is one show that costs money. Country star Gord Bamford is headlining an outdoor show tonight. Organizers hope this weekend’s events will once again draw people from across Vancouver Island.