Cumberland will be quieter this May long weekend, though that doesn’t mean there is no parade.
It’s just that the community is asked to stay home and let the parade come to them.
The coronavirus has shut down events in recent months, including the usual May long weekend festivities in the Comox Valley community.
This year though, the decision was made to keep the parade going, though rather than as a public gathering, it will take the form of a motorcade through the community to visit people where they live. The aim is to have something in line with physical distancing standards. The participants are by invite-only, and will include council, the May Queen, Cumberland Events Society committee and led by the fire department.
This compromise means the 132nd Victoria Day Celebration, known for years as Empire Days, can still take place in some form.
“We don’t want it to stop there,” said Mayor Leslie Baird during the May 11 council meeting, streamed on YouTube.
She explained the event is on, with council and other invitees taking part by driving in their own vehicles.
“We’re taking the parade to the people of Cumberland,” she said.
At council, Baird said organizers were finalizing a route and looking for a piper to play from the back of a pick-up.
The plan is for vehicles to start their route about 10 a.m. on Victoria Day. Again, as the parade is coming to the community rather than the other way around, Baird said it will strictly be a Cumberland event rather than for visitors from outside the community.
Though the parade is for people in vehicles, some members of council did express a wish that bikes could take part. Coun. Gwyn Sproule, for one, said she had an electric bicycle that was “effortless” to ride.
Over the last couple of months several drive-by parades have happened throughout the Comox Valley to provide a morale boost or mark significant events like birthdays while still allowing people to follow distancing provisions during the pandemic.