Much like a cherry atop an ice cream sundae, the Nanaimo Marine Festival is the perfect complement to the Great International World Championship Bathtub Race.
The race, in its 50th year, is all set for Sunday (July 24) at Maffeo Sutton Park and the festival will take place between Thursday and Sunday (July 21-24).
Music fans will have the opportunity to ‘raise a little hell’ at King Neptune’s Bathtub Weekend Launch Party Friday night (July 22) at the park, as Trooper will be one of the featured acts.
Anu Mayer, a planner contracted by Downtown Nanaimo Business Improvement Association, said Commercial Street will be closed off between Terminal Avenue and Church Street Friday and Saturday for the Bathtub Days Street Fair.
There will be face painting, balloon animals and entertainment suitable for all ages, Mayer said, adding on Friday night, from 5:30-8:30 p.m., karaoke will happen in Diana Krall Plaza.
“People can go have dinner, come hang out, the kids can come sing, the parents can come sing, it’s very family-oriented, but a lot more for younger people to do,” Mayer said.
Beginning at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday morning will be the annual Sail Past on Wheels Parade and following that a Nanaimo bar competition, with entries from local businesses from 1-3 p.m.
A fireworks display takes place over the skies at the harbour at 10 p.m.
Prior to fireworks, between 6:30 and 7:30 p.m., Mayer said Christina Walkinshaw, a Toronto comedian, will perform a standup act.
Mayer said Walkinshaw and opening acts will scan the crowd and adjust their jokes accordingly, toning it down if there are minors.
The fireworks’ soundtrack will be from 1967, the year of the first race, said Bill McGuire, Loyal Nanaimo Bathtub Society commodore.
“We’re touching base with 1967, but we’re also moving forward into the 50th year, and next year is the 50th year of the Marine Festival, so again it will be kind of a double-whammy,” said McGuire.
For a complete list of events, please go to www.bathtubbing.com and www.dnbia.ca.