Nanaimo Heritage Days gets positive reviews
The energy is high and the weather is warm and sunny for the marquee event of this years Heritage Days.
The Parade with close to 50 entries impresses people of all ages.
“The parade was great,” says one parade attendee. “Probably the best I’ve seen in Nanaimo for a long time.”
Other entertainment and family friendly events fill Nanaimo’s Downtown core. But this annual celebration, which started in 1876, nearly came to a halt.
Last years title sponsors did not renew their involvement and so three months ago a group of volunteers stepped forward to ensure the event still happened.
“This has been going on for over 152 years so this is quite a legacy,” says Nanaimo Heritage Days Organizer Peter Urquhart. “And when they stepped out we just had to keep this going.”
So Urquhart a software developer, who had never organized an event of this size, took on the challenge.
He along with, eight core volunteers, and aided by a whole lot more, pulled together $13,000 in funding to make sure no one would rain on Nanaimo’s parade.
“We just decided ‘let’s make this a great event’.” says Urquhart. “This isn’t all just about the fireworks so we can let the fireworks go this year as long as we make the rest the best.”
Up until three years ago the May celebrations were called Empire Days but a growing discontent about the connotations of the name lead to Heritage Days.
Many attending today are glad organizers rescued this years celebration.
“I’m very glad it did happen. I love seeing this many people in downtown Nanaimo,” says one city resident.
The organizers say a structure is now in place to ensure a smooth road for the event going forward.
And with 12 months to plan for next year the intent for Nanaimo Heritage Days is for the celebration to only become bigger and better.