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Celebrate community at Hyack parade and Festival in the Park

Spotlight on: Hyack International Parade and Hyack Festival in Tipperary Park return to New West
A tradition continues: The Hyack International Parade features marching bands, floats, community entries and much more. It returns to New Westminster on Saturday, May 27. photo Jennifer Gauthier/The Record

What’s happening?

The Hyack International Parade and the Hyack Festival in Tipperary Park return to New West on Saturday, May 27.

“For over 50 years, the Hyack festival Association has been producing this event annually at the end of May,” said Sheila Sharma, executive director. “It’s always our pleasure to gather and encourage volunteers from our city to rally around this event that brings the citizens from every walk of life together in camaraderie, finding a common joy in the celebration of our community.”

The parade begins at Sixth Street and Eighth Avenue at 11 a.m., travels down Sixth Street to Queens Avenue, and turns and heads towards Queen’s Park.

Along with many local and B.C. participants, out-of-town entries will also be taking part in the parade.

“We have upwards of 100 entries, and we have out-of-town floats coming from Wenatchee, Kelowna, Penticton, Olympia, Marysville, etc.,” Sharma said. “Same route as normal but be aware of bike lanes and construction in the uptown area.”

The association is encouraging folks to walk, bike or take transit to the area.

Did someone say after-party?

The Hyack Festival in Tipperary Park- something association likes to call “the after-party to the parade” – takes place in Tipperary Park (next to city hall) from 11 a.m. till 4 p.m.

“The spectators can follow the last parade entry down Sixth Street, turning onto Queens Avenue, where you’ll find Tipperary Park has come alive with food trucks, market vendors, live entertainment, a kids’ Zone with inflatable carnival games, face-painting, crafts and wooden boat-building,” Sharma said. “It’s the perfect way to bring the community together to celebrate with one another over things that bring us joy.”

“Our Hyack Festival is the perfect way to spend a charming day in New Westminster,” Sharma said.

What is the Hyack Festival Association?

Formed in 1971, the association strives to bring the citizens together by organizing large-scale events, such as the longstanding youth ambassador leadership program, the Farewell to Summer fireworks festival (which began in 2022), the Hyack International Parade and the Hyack Festival in the Park (formerly the Uptown Street Fest).

“It is our privilege to continue to boost the community spirit of all our citizens by creating events where we can all come together and celebrate with one another over shared experiences of joy,” Sharma said.

Supporting diversity

Sharma said the festival and the parade connect directly with one of city council’s new strategic priorities, which is centred around community-building.

“The diversity of the participants entered into our parade is a heartwarming blend of the many groups that make up our community,” Sharma told council at its May 8 meeting. “From multicultural and historical organizations, from local community groups and businesses, to LGBTQIA plus and indigenous representatives and more, the Hyack International Parade and Festival embraces the diversity that makes New Westminster a leader in inclusion and representation.”

City council has proclaimed May 27 to be Hyack International Parade and Festival in the Park Day in New West. The proclamation states the Hyack Festival is recognized throughout the Pacific Northwest as a fun and family-oriented celebration and welcomes and encourages participation by local citizens and visitors from around the world.

“The Hyack Festival preserves history and traditions, promotes the City of New Westminster, stimulates the local economy and entertains and involves people in a fun-filled atmosphere,” said the city’s proclamation. “The Hyack Festival is committed to providing a safe outdoor platform for our citizens to joyfully come together in camaraderie.”