After COVID-19 cancelled summer festivals in Nanaimo the past two years, Nanaimo Child Development Centre thinks it’s time to get silly again.
The Silly Boat Regatta, a fundraiser for the child development centre, returns Sunday, July 17, at Maffeo Sutton Park. Participants construct boats of recycled items and, hopefully, paddle from Sway’ A’ Lana Lagoon out into Nanaimo Harbour and back. Silliness is encouraged.
Dominic Rockall, NCDC executive director, said while donors continued giving the past two years, the pandemic was difficult, as community events couldn’t be held, limiting opportunities to raise money. However, planning has been underway for several months for this year’s regatta, sponsors are coming onboard and organizers are excited to start up again, he said.
While the centre’s core programs receive government funding, said Rockall, the child development centre hopes to raise $50-90,000 to be spent on different initiatives.
“Last year we started a new Island-wide pediatric therapy equipment library that needs equipment … We have a couple of programs that we subsidize with funding, the Family Resource Navigator program – a person that helps families find resources in the community – and our summer camp for kids with extra support needs,” Rockall said.
The Silly Boat Regatta is entering its 36th year and Rockall said one of the most impressive boats came in 2019, with V.I. Tree Service’s entry.
“These guys brought a log down and they carved out a giant log with chainsaws and sat in the log … And so it went in the water, it sunk up to their chests, but that’s as far as it sank. So they were able to still move through the water, with the log under the water and all of them partially submerged,” said Rockall.
Teams have until Wednesday, July 13, to sign up.
People can begin assembling boats beginning 8 a.m. July 17, with races beginning at 1 p.m.
Entertainment includes Juno-nominated children’s entertainers the Kerplunks and America’s Got Talent dance contestants Funkanometry.
Volunteers are sought and anyone interested can e-mail Keeley Campbell at firstname.lastname@example.org or Morag Champagne-Holland at email@example.com.
For more information, including official rules, go to www.sillyboat.com.