BY DUCK PATERSON
It’s about time. Probably the biggest missing part of Ladysmith during the pandemic would be the Festival of Lights. Having helped put Ladysmith on the map and being a volunteer-driven event for more than 30 years is amazing and speaks highly of the folks we have in this community.
One of the highlights of the evening, the Kinsmen Parade, will be back on the street on Light Up Night which is Thursday, Nov. 24, in downtown Ladysmith, but the parade will be different. According to the Kinsmen, the club is going to limit the number of parade entries as “the size and the length of the parade has become unruly.”
The Kinsmen say they will really look at quality of the entries, not just quantity, considering that Light Up is on a school night and sometimes in inclement weather.
An issue that prompted the change is traffic and safety, as the two mills are still operating in the evening, and heavy transport trucks are still coming and going. The floats compete with the trucks for space and it increases the number of people walking on the road as the parade disperses and the potential for a serious incident is evident. In the interest of public safety this is a big area of concern, and the Kinsmen Club don’t have enough members to patrol the whole parade route.
Another change is the staging area which is moving to Methuen Street.
“The street is wide enough where we can use both sides of the street and with the lesser amount of floats it will be easier to handle,” said parade co-chairperson Al Moore.
Methuen Street will be closed from First Avenue to Fourth Avenue starting at 4 p.m. so that the parade entries can line up and get ready for the 6:40 p.m. start.
“We need to make the whole night run smoother and safer,” Moore said. “We have met with Festival of Lights members and gone over the issue and they are in favour of the new approach.”
The deadline for getting the parade entries back to the Kinsmen Club is Nov. 8. Entry forms can be downloaded from the Ladysmith Kinsmen website at www.ladysmithkinsmen.ca or from the Festival of Lights website at www.ladysmithfol.com.
After the parade, the much-anticipated Ladysmith and District Credit Union fireworks will wrap up one of the Island’s most popular family events.