May Days set to parade through Fruitvale

Citizen of the Year ceremony, fireworks on Friday, parade and return of train rides on Saturday

Baseball, beer and burgers are just some of the attractions at this year’s Beaver Valley May Days celebrations.

With some familiar events, and some returning, this weekend Fruitvale is playing host to the annual festival and organizers are looking forward to it.

Juris Harlamovs is the chair of the May Days organizing committee and says the one event that can’t be missed is the fireworks display on Friday night.

“You can get a really good view of the action from Haines Park,” he said. “People keep telling me they are better than Trail’s (at Silver City Days). That is my personal favourite.”

Mayor of Fruitvale, Patricia Cecchini says her favourite part of May Days is the Saturday afternoon parade and festivities.

“You must catch the parade followed by coming to Haines Park where there will be all kinds of things happening,” she said. “Fabulous entertainment, motorcycle show and shine, delicious food, beer gardens, market games for the family and much more.”

May Days isn’t just about having a good time. The weekend-long festival also brings newcomers to the Beaver Valley, creating a stronger valley community.

“The big benefit is the community spirit the event generates which in turn, makes the valley a more vibrant place to live,” said Harlamovs.

The local boost and increase in Beaver Valley foot traffic wouldn’t be possible without a slew of volunteers, says Harlamovs. The whole weekend is run by sponsorships and donated time.

“May Days is completely organized by volunteers,” he said. “It would not happen without (them).”

Cecchini echoed his thoughts.

“They are invaluable,” she said.

And back, after being gone for a year, are the popular train rides that loop through the Beaver Valley while passengers sip lemonade and eat cookies for the 45-minute ride on the Spring Spirit Express.

The train rides were suspended for last year’s May Days celebrations due to a sharp increase in insurance costs, but this year, they are back with the help of ATCO Wood Products, Columbia Power and other sponsors.

“The train has been extremely popular over the past years, and was greatly missed last year,” said Mayor Cecchini.

“Due to the requests (for the train rides), ATCO was able to secure enough generous sponsors to cover the cost of the insurance not only for May Days, but also for our Jingle Down Main Christmas train.”

Tickets for the train rides could be bought with the donation of a non-perishable food item, and sold out fast.

There are also some new additions to the May Days schedule this year with a motorcycle show and shine on Saturday and car show in the Beaver Valley Arena on Sunday. Bikers and classic car owners will line up their shiny, well preserved vehicles for visitors to admire and enjoy.

Harlamovs wants to make sure that May Days revellers don’t forget about some of the other activities that get festival goers moving and working up a sweat.

“We must not forget our healthy activities like baseball, slo pitch, kids’ races the Antenna Trail hike, the Family Walk/Run and especially our three-on-three street hockey,” he said, adding that when all that is done, he invites walkers, hikers and runners to feast on some delicious food.

“After the workout, there is the food. My favourite is the Rotary’s beef on a bun, but we also have our tradition burgers, pancake breakfast and several other vendors. If you need to replenish your fluids, we have our ever-popular Beaverian Gardens.”

Beaver Valley May Days runs from 1 p.m. on Friday with the Seniors’ Tea Party and the Beaver Valley Citizen of the Year ceremony at 7 p.m., honouring this yea’rs winner, Dorothy MItchell. The celebrations end on Sunday with the afternoon bocce tournament, Amazing Race and live music.

For more information and a full schedule of events, visit www.beavervalleymaydays.com.

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