The Kinsmen Parade has been the marquee event of Ladysmith Days for decades. It has featured many memorable floats, and seen several community members showcase their creative talents for the Town.
Duck Paterson has been a leader in organizing the parade. He has been involved with the Kinsmen in Ladysmith since 1975, and has helped to organize the parade for nearly that entire time. The Ladysmith Legion ran the parade until around 1978-79’, and could not sustain the effort. That’s when the Kinsmen Club stepped in to organize the parade.
Over the years the Kinsmen Parade has seen floats from all over the Island participate. In the 60s, 70s, and 80s floats would come from Port Hardy, Duncan, Nanaimo, Victoria, and Campbell River. Floats would display everything from Ladysmith’s mining history, to a full display of a saw mill on the back of a flatbed truck. As years have progressed, the parade has seen competition from various long weekend events, but the core of the parade remains strong.
“We’re still putting it on, and right now I believe we have 26 entries,” Paterson said. “The only rule the Kinsmen have really is that the participants have to have as much fun as the crowd.”
This year’s theme is “A Seaside Celebration”. Many of the floats will stick to that theme, although they don’t have to. One float that is certain to stick to the theme will be the Ladysmith Fire Rescue.
“The fire department always has — I’m going to call it — a unique entry. That’s always been good for a few laughs and a lot of discussion afterwards… You’ve got to see their entries, they raise eyebrows in a lot of ways.” Paterson said.
The parade will also celebrate Ladysmith’s Citizen of the year, who will be announced before the parade begins.
Judges for the parade are chosen from the crowd, and are tasked with awarding ribbons from various categories to parade entrants. Parade goers are encouraged to bring their water pistols to 1st Avenue for a water fight with the Ladysmith Kinsmen.
“It’s just fun, and if people are laughing, whoopee. We’re very lucky the community that we live in, and this is our way of letting our hair down,” Paterson said.