When news of the Vees win broke Sunday, the first thing on many Penticton residents mind was how the community was going to celebrate the team’s victory and record breaking season.
“Immediately after the win last night, people were talking about having a parade,” said Simone Blais, communications officer for the City of Penticton.
“We just kind of said go to a parade about two hours ago,” said Blais at noon Monday, adding that she didn’t have too many confirmed details to give out other than the day and time. “Our first initial step is to spread the word, yes we are going to have a parade.”
The celebration begins at 4 p.m. on May 16 to celebrate the hometown hockey heroes’ RBC Cup national championship win.
“We are so proud of the Vees players and organization,” Mayor Dan Ashton said. “We hope the community will line the streets in support of our hockey dream team that has achieved a record-breaking season and represented us so well all year long. We invite everyone to come out, wear blue and cheer loudly for our Vees.”
The parade will depart the Pen High parking lot at 4 p.m. The parade of vehicles will travel north on Main Street, west on Lakeshore Drive, south on Power and end at the South Okanagan Events Centre parking lot. Parking on Main Street will be restricted as of 2 p.m. that day, and Lakeshore Drive will see parking restrictions that afternoon as well.
“Things are coming together quite quickly so we really hope the community comes out,” said Blais, adding that the parade came together quickly Monday morning ”due to overwhelming demand.”
“it is amazing how quickly the wheels got turning on this one,” she said. “As soon as people started hearing parade, people started saying yes.”
The Vees will travel in six trucks that are being donated for the afternoon by Penticton Toyota, Skaha Ford and Parkers. There is likely going to be a city vehicle as well to haul the flatbed from the Downtown Penticton Association carrying a sound system to provide music for the event.
They will be joined by a contingent of convertibles from the Peach City Beach Cruise and the Peach Festival has readied their float and and the Penticton royalty to join the parade.
“It should be a lot of fun down there. We couldn’t do ticker tape, but we have bubbles that we will hand out to kids along the way so they can welcome the Vees,” said Blais. Among other items, she said, they also have 200 2-for-1 community centre swim/fitness room passes to give out.
“It’s not going to be super long, but I am sure the energy will be very, very high for the event,” Blais said, adding that the timing coincides well with the planned RBC Cup Celebration and Awards Night beginning at 5:30 p.m. in the South Okanagan Events Centre.
“We have about an hour-long parade just before that, we can end at the SOEC,the kids will be out of school, and everyone can be a part of it,” she said.
The SOEC event is free, but Blais cautions anyone wanting to go to pick up their tickets — available now at the SOEC box office — well in advance to give organizers enough time to plan accordingly for the crowds. There may be some tickets available at the door, but there are no guarantees.
“We’ll do our absolute best to insure everybody who wants to come can, but we may run out of space,” she said. Anyone who takes part in the parade is asked to arrive at the SOEC and go through the doors by 5:15 p.m. The event starts at 5:30 p.m.
Check out Vees Victory Parade on Facebook for more updated info.