Break out the sunscreen, have your flip flops at the ready, and come with an appetite and wide open eyes, because unless the weatherman is a fool, Canada Day is shaping up to be another hot one and there’s plenty to do around town tomorrow.
Activities will kick off in Fort St. John at 11 a.m. with the annual parade, a five-kilometre march of some 50 floats that will launch from the North Peace Arena and wind its way down 100 Ave up to 108 Street, and back down 98 and 96 streets.
After the parade, most of the day’s activities and vendors will be setting up shop in the recreation district around Centennial Park, meaning good luck trying to find parking at the arena or pool, as much of the parking lots will be cordoned off for events.
“We’re really spreading the activities out this year,” said city recreation programmer Marissa Jordan.
With Canada Day, of course, comes road closures. And plenty of them.
The city is advising of the following road closures during the day:
• 96 Avenue between 100th and 96th Streets will be closed between 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. for parade preparations;
• 100th Street between 96th and 108 avenues, as well as 98 Street between 108 and 96 Street between 101 and 96 avenues will be closed for the duration of the parade
Motorists are reminded to watch for barricades and flaggers, and say available parking lots and streets in and around Centennial Park will be full and congested very fast.
City buses will run from 9:45 a.m. to 7:15 p.m. on the regular Saturday schedule.
From a good ol’ game of street hockey, to the Farmers’ Market, and plenty of live musical performances, there’s no shortage of things to do around town.
A whole host of community groups are coming together to pitch in with activities, from inflatables for kids, face painters, a petting zoo, the horse and buggy show, and parade judges to name a few.
“It’s a huge community partnership and we can’t run the day without them,” said Jordan.
“It would be a crummy event if they weren’t involved.”
Fort St. John Classic Cruisers Show & Shine
Nothing beats the cool curves of an old classic car, and you’ll find plenty of them along 100 Street from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. All cars are welcome — try to shine them before you come, though — for a chance to win trophies and doors prizes. Registration runs from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. Anyone wanting to take their car for a ride in the parade is welcome to do so.
Living flags are becoming a popular Canada Day tradition across the country. To help the city celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Canadian flag, deck yourself in white and red and head on down to Centennial Park and mingle with other patriots to make a larger-than-life giant flag of people. Who knows, it could end up as a stamp. The city will be handing out red and white paper for participants and ushering them into the shape of the flag.
Eagle Vision video producers will be flying a drone over the flag and taking aerial shots, Jordan says.
The event will only take a half hour of your time, running from 12:15 to 12:45 p.m.
Canada Day Pie Sale
If you don’t line up early for this one, that’s your own fault.
The Fort St. John North Peace Museum is hosting its annual pie sale from 12 to 4 p.m. at the museum. Drop by to pick up a homemade fruit pie, ice cream, or even just drop by for a cold drink.
The line up will be long. The pies will be plenty, but, as always, museum organizers are anticipating to sell out fast.
What a line up. Live music will be rocking all afternoon from 12:30 to 3 p.m. at the main stage in Centennial Park.
Scheduled to perform are: Mary Austin, Northwinds Community Band, My Two Dave’s Improv, Eric Clark, Roadworn, 56 Collective, Twin Peaks, along with a host of others.
Grab a stick and bring some tennis balls. Street hockey runs from 2 to 4 p.m. in the back parking lot of the Pomeroy Sport Centre. The event is not organized, so come and go as you please.
Get your hands on some of the first produce of the season, or maybe some crafts and snacks, as the market sets up shop in the lobby of the North Peace Arena from 12:30 to 4 p.m.
Fort St. John’s multicultural festival will take place from 4 to 7 p.m. in Centennial Park, after most activities wrap up.
The event will feature more than a dozen pavilions showcasing culture and cuisine from around the world, including Morocco, Ethiopia, Switzerland, the Phillipines, First Nations, India, and Indonesia to name a few.
If the weather stays hot and true, fireworks will light up around 10:15 p.m. at the Surerus fields. You’ll want to get their early though if you want to get a parking spot, said Jordan.
“Walk if you can, because it’s busy,” she said.
Jordan promises a bigger show than last year, and reminds people to bring their own seating and snacks as there will be no vendors on site. The washrooms at Surerus will be open for use.
A full lineup of events can be found at http://www.fortstjohn.ca/canada-day-celebrations