WATCH: The May long weekend is almost upon us – and the City of Victoria will kick off the summer season with a veritable frenzy of festivals. The celebrations promise to be particularly memorable this year as a number of beloved marquee events celebrate milestones and a long history on Vancouver Island. Kori Sidaway reports.
The May long weekend marks the unofficial start of summer, and a season jam-packed with fun-filled events.
“What’s wonderful about Victoria is there’s something happening every weekend. It’s such a vibrant place and such a wonderful area for this to take place,” said Tourism Victoria CEO Paul Nursey.
This weekend you can watch bagpipers, highland dancers and caber-tosses, and see this years’ edition of Victoria’s longest-running parade. Then next weekend, Swiftsure racers sail into town.
And it so happens that these “big three” summer events are also celebrating big milestones.
The Victoria Day Parade is in its 120th year, Swiftsure is celebrating 75, and the oldest of them all the Victoria Highland Games is celebrating its 155th year.
“Victoria has a very strong heritage around Celtic and Scottish people that came here 160 years ago,” said Victoria Highland Games President Jim Maxwell.
“But it’s not just about being Scottish or Celtic ancestry. It’s about – do you love dance music sport and heritage, and if you do, come to the highland games on the weekend, I’ll promise you’ll have a good time,” Maxwell added.
And set up is already underway.
“This is our biggest year yet, we’re doing the world championships this year, so it’s the biggest highland games in all the world right now,” said Victoria Highland Games athletic director Ray Siochowicz.
Meanwhile, on the water, the largest international sailboat race is getting ready to kick off.
“I expect by the time registration closes next week we’ll have well over 200 boats in the race,” said Swiftsure chair Vern Burkhardt.
So, instead of getting out dodge for May long, how about sticking around this weekend?