The Nanaimo Marine Festival will last a whole month this year.
The Loyal Nanaimo Bathtub Society, the Nanaimo Dragonboat Festival and the Silly Boat Regatta are increasing their co-operation this year for a Nanaimo Marine Festival that will last from July 1-31.
A special event has been added this year, as there will be a Nanaimo-to-Vancouver commemorative bathtub run on Canada Day.
The month-long Nanaimo Marine Festival received its official proclamation from the mayor’s office earlier this spring.
“We’ve been working towards coming together for several years now and it’s coming together now,” said Heiko Behn, chairman of the Save-On-Foods Nanaimo Dragonboat Festival. “Having the synergy of all three [organizers] talking to each other and getting the community more involved, I think that is a really, really good thing.”
He said the groups can pool resources with advertising, and thinks the early start to the festival can help build momentum leading into each event.
“One of the agreements that we have with dragonboat and silly boat and ourselves is that we’re all going to participate in each others’ events more than we have in the past,” said Greg Peacock, second vice-commodore with the bathtub society.
Michelle Kocourek, in charge of resource development with the Nanaimo Child Development Centre, silly boat organizer, said the groups are banding together to make July the best month of the year.
“Part of why we’re doing is making the public aware of marine festival month, that it truly is something specific and special about what we have here in Nanaimo,” she said.
As for the marine festival’s new event, Peacock said the July 1 bathtub event from Nanaimo to Kitsilano Beach was set up as an invitational because of logistics and safety.
“We’re calling it a commemorative run back to Vancouver because we can’t add it to the points race [series],” Peacock said. “But the reality is that these guys are all very competitive, so no matter how we brand it, these guys are racing to Vancouver.”
The festival will continue with the dragonboat festival from July 7-9 and then the Nanaimo Child Development Centre’s Silly Boat Regatta on July 16, with both events at Maffeo Sutton Park. Bathtub weekend will be July 21-23 with events at the park as well as downtown. The Great International World Championship Bathtub Race is July 23.