The city’s signature summer festival offered a full serving of sun and sea.
The Nanaimo Marine Festival was a hit again this year, drawing spirited crowds all weekend long.
Bill McGuire, commodore of the Loyal Nanaimo Bathtub Society, said he was proud of the work of his volunteer team again this year as the festival drew to a close at the end of Sunday’s Great International World Championship Bathtub Race. He said the work would begin right away on planning for the 2014 Marine Fest.
“To see the crowds today, I don’t know how you’re going to improve on that but we’re going to try,” he said.
The festival started with family activities downtown on Friday and continued Saturday with the Sailpast on Wheels Parade.
“It’s a way for the tubbers to show off their sponsors and it was nice to see the rest of Nanaimo getting involved,” McGuire said. “It brings lots of smiles to people’s faces, some of the things the tubbers put together for a float.”
The fireworks show gets better each year, he said. He had his grandson visiting from Vancouver, and the youngster said it was the best one yet.
“It’s really gratifying to hear that and see the families downtown,” said McGuire.
The bathtub race itself attracted 41 entries. Some of the tubbers were quick to get back to the beach, while others showed determination to finish the challenging course.
“They’re a different lot, and unless you’ve tried bathtub racing you wouldn’t know what you have to go through,” said McGuire. “A lot of them persevere over pure principle. It’s quite a sport.”
Crowds pose few problems for police
The Nanaimo Marine Festival was smooth sailing for the Nanaimo RCMP, which says it dealt with no serious incidents.
Liquor-related infractions topped the list of offences during the Marine Festival weekend. There were upwards of 17 people arrested for public intoxication and “lots” of liquor pour outs, according to the Nanaimo RCMP.
The number of arrests are very pleasing considering more than 30,000 people attended the fireworks Saturday night, said Const. Gary O’Brien, spokesman for the Nanaimo RCMP.
“It was very low key … kudos to the planners, but also the attendees of the event for acting accordingly,” he said.
The Nanaimo RCMP scaled back its presence over the years because of the lack of problems at the annual event.
– with files from Tamara Cunningham