The Ladysmith Maritime Society is once again launching their beloved annual marine festivals. Starting on May 25 with the Heritage Boat Festival, followed a week later by the Kids’ Pirate Day, on June 1 and ending in August with the Sea Life Festival. The hard-working volunteers of LMS are bringing the waterfront experience to the community.
“We have a full dock of participants,” says Art Rendell, Heritage Festival Chair. “There are 23 boats that are going to be here. The oldest one that I know of is from 1912. We will have a good representation of boats from the 30s 40s and 50s and some out of the 60s.” Activities include Nanaimo remote boat modellers display, rides on a Dragon boat, harbour tours, and a chance to see the Royal Canadian Marine Search & Rescue vessel with all its horsepower.
New for this year, is a series of short boating seminars during the day. The Harbour Heritage Centre and the boat restoration shop, will be open as well as the Ladysmith & District Historical Society’s Industrial Heritage logging and rail artifacts will be on display including steam Loci 11 and a hand pump rail car owned by Harry and Shirley Blackstaff.
A week later its Kids’ Pirate Day, June 1, from 10 am to 4 pm. This is a day chock full of activities for the family from the jumparound, a pirate slide, and petting zoo, to the popular balloon guy and the gang of pirates led by Captain Jack Sparrow. The Kinsmen will be hosting a fishing derby, and there are many more activities and refreshments planned.
New this year is the pirates’ dunk tank. “It could be very interesting to see which pirates will get dunked,” says Peter MacHardy with a twinkle in his eye. MacHardy co-chairs the Kids. Day festival with Dan Lutz.
The Friday night before Pirate Day is “Feast of the Pirates” down at Dine on the Docks. This is where you get to eat a rib dinner dressed in your pirate best.
Several thousand people attend the Kids’ Pirate Day.
“This event is possible only because of the amount of community partnership and volunteers from other organizations. “It takes over 150 volunteers for the day to turn this event into a wonderful day for everyone in the community. We welcome everyone in the community to come down and have an awesome day,” says MacHardy.
“I’m impressed by the level of community involvement,” says LMS executive director Richard Wiefelspuett. It’s a community marina that brings people and provides access to the water through these festivals, he said.
MacHardy who is new to his role thanks his predecessor Gerry Beltgens for “leaving a legacy.”