To mark its fiftieth anniversary, the Hyack Festival Association is inviting the community of New Westminster to celebrate its golden jubilee by parading in place.
“We wanted to do something to bring the community’s spirits up and give them something to bring them together,” Hyack Festival president Becci Dewinetz says.
For 50 years, the Hyack Festival Association parade has entertained and inspired the community and visitors around the world with spectacular floats, award-winning marching bands, talented equestrians and colourful community groups.
This year, the Hyack Festival is evolving these traditions to celebrate community spirit and resilience, and to inspire hope.
“We’re bringing the community together by giving them something that they can stay home and do safely,” Dewinetz says.
“It’s free, family fun, which the Hyack Festival has always been about.”
With support from the City of New Westminster, the Hyack Festival is inviting the community to submit entries into their planned festivities: the Porch Parade and a virtual parade of shoebox floats.
For the Porch Parade, the Hyack Festival Association is asking members of the community to decorate their front porches to unleash their creativity and bring a smile to their friends and neighbours.
The Hyack Festival will produce a virtual map with the locations of all the registered porches so everyone can plan a walk or drive around the neighbourhood to see the displays from June 18 to 28.
Participants will get a chance to win one of three titles, which will be announced on Canada Day — People’s Choice (determined by online voting), President’s Choice, or the Team Tiara Award.
The community is also encouraged to show off their crafting skills by participating in the Hyack Festival’s Shoebox Parade and win fun prizes in the process.
“We’re asking people to get creative, get silly, have fun and decorate a box. We’re going to make a whole production out of it,” Dewinetz says.
Participants are asked to share their mini floats in progress by tagging @Hyackfestival and using the hashtag #paradinginplacenewwest and #ShoeboxParade for a chance to be featured on the Hyack Festival’s social media prior to parade day.
To submit your entry, fill out a registration form and send in photos of your finished creation. Submissions will be compiled in a video montage that will be live-streamed.
Everyone will be able to watch this virtual parade and the awards presentation from the comfort of their own homes.
The theme of this year’s festival is “Decades of Dedication,” to honour all the hardworking and dedicated past and present Hyack Festival volunteers and board members.
“The association is an amazing, wonderful group of volunteers who volunteer hundreds of thousands of hours for the city. And we are always happy to welcome new volunteers,” Dewinetz says.
“We also have a wonderful Board of Directors who are very involved. We’re a working board, not just a sit at home board, and everyone volunteers and contributes to our success.”
This year’s theme resonates personally with Dewinetz, who has been a member of the Hyack Festival Association since 1980 and was crowned Miss New Westminster in 1981.
She joined the Board of Directors in 2017 as the committee chair for the Hyack Ambassador Miss New Westminster Youth Ambassador Program and has been actively involved in running the program for over 20 years.
“It’s an amazing program for young women in New Westminster,” Dewinetz says.
“We teach them everything they don’t learn in school, from etiquette to first aid to car mechanics.”
Three generations of Dewinetz’s family have been involved with the Miss New Westminster Ambassador program. Her mother ran in 1958 as did her daughter in 2012.
Typically the youth ambassadors travel throughout the Pacific Northwest, promoting New Westminster. While it’s not possible this year, Dewinetz hopes they’ll be able to extend the 50th anniversary celebration into the following year.
To learn more and submit your entries for the Porch or Shoebox Parades, visit www.paradinginplacenewwest.com.