The weather over the BC Day long weekend wasn’t the only thing that was sizzling in Ladysmith.
Transfer Beach saw a lot of it as well, with the town’s annual celebrations events on Saturday and Sunday. The enthusiasm of the crowd didn’t seem to be any less even with the heat or lack of the usual parade or pancake breakfast.
The turnout of families for the bullhead derby at the Maritime Society docks was huge and there was a multitude of bullheads caught along with a variety of crabs and even a four-pound dogfish was weighed in by one of the young fishers. One of the new items, chainsaw carving, attracted a lot of attention on both days with a carver impressing the crowds with his skills with various chainsaws and the art he created out of wood.
As one of the main family events of the year, Ladysmith Days would not be the same without the nail driving contest as well as the greasy pole climb and the increasingly-popular zucchini races which happened on Saturday afternoon.
Celebrations chair, Al Moore, said, “the crowds really get into these events. The activity generates a lot of excitement for the entire family. The zucchini races have really grown in popularity and some of the ideas and all the decorations are very unique. You’d be surprised how fast a zucchini can go with so many kids yelling at it.”
“This year Bosely’s Pet Store took on the greasy pool climb and it was very successful. There were a lot of youngsters giving it a try and even a few not-so-young attempting,” said Moore. “The nail driving contest has been a staple, of the event, for years and it pits friend against friend and even family against family.
“We’re really glad with the support from Ladysmith Home Hardware and the help they give us. We only have so many volunteers so when they stepped forward it took a load off of us. Community getting involved so we all can have fun is what it’s really all about and that is very true with Ladysmith Days.
The winner of the $100 for the greasy pole climb was Ashton Lidgate.
Celebrations kicked off on Sunday morning with the huge Ladysmith and District Credit Union’s “Kids Count Fun Zone” which featured a multitude of bouncy castles, slides and other inflatable activities as well as games and face painting, etc.
LDCU manager, John deLeeuw, said, “we love to support this. We’re part of the Ladysmith family and it’s built into us to give back,” he said. “Kids having fun is important and kids having fun with family is a beautiful thing so we want to help make it happen,” he went on.
Sunday also featured chainsaw carving, concessions and vendors at the beach along with live music at the Amphitheatre. Local rock band, the Diamond Dawgs, performed in the afternoon on the H.A. Davis stage and they were followed by the hugely popular Doctors of Rock and Roll.
Probably one of the highlights of the day was the appearance of the duo Funkanometry. Funkanometry is a dance duo from Duncan and Nanaimo featuring Jacksun Fryer and Carlow Rush. The duo has appeared on the World of Dance. Since joining, the two have become sensations with half a million followers on TikTok and other media. They have also performed on TV and have been on various talk shows and commercials.
“We were excited to be able to get Funkanometry here this year,” said Moore. “Those two are in demand and the talent they show is amazing. They move like they are one and the crowd was amazed.”
Winners of the 50/50 draws were Sidney Mrus and Vicky Powers.
At 8 p.m. the Ladysmith Citizen of the Year Award was presented, right before the closing band performance and the LDCU fireworks.
“The Celebrations committee realizes how hard so many of the folks of Ladysmith volunteer, donate to support local events and charities or just work behind the scenes to keep our community happy. It’s always a tough decision but this year we felt that after 38 years of leading the Ladysmith Celebrations event, working so hard all year around to make it all happen and then it’s not just Celebrations he lead, but Barry Frech worked on quite a few other activities. His years of volunteering is quite a tribute to the person Barry is, and his family as well,” Moore said, “having been behind the program for so long the committee felt it was high time he was at the lead.”
The closing band, which brought many of the crowd in the Amphitheatre onto the deck dancing were again another local band, Straight From The Hip. They rocked the crowd with many Tragically Hip tunes as well as some original and other cover songs until almost 10 p.m. when the fireworks torched the night sky over Ladysmith Harbour.
The fireworks, sponsored by the Ladysmith and District Credit Union, have been a staple for years, but recently there was a possibility that part of Ladysmith Days might not happen due to the CVRDs ban on fireworks. The Town of Ladysmith, having been a part of the CVRD bylaw, decided to institute the community’s own bylaw and permit locally-authorized fireworks on a one on basis.
“We’re very lucky on this because if we had to do them on land,” said Moore, “they would not happen. We have to get BC Forests’ exception and with the hot weather, a land based show would not happen! Saltair Marine, from Ladysmith, have been a very unsung hero on this. For years they take their barge out into the harbour and anchor it for the fireworks show.
“In fact,” said Moore,” they also have their crew go back and forth ferrying the pyro techs and all the boxes of fireworks out to the barge. Saltair Marine does this all on their own dime and, as far as we know, they have been there for over 25 years volunteering their equipment and crew. The fireworks crew do all the leasing with Clint and Starla, at Saltair Marine, so it not only saves us huge dollars but it saves us time and big headaches. With folks like the Ladysmith and District Credit Union being the visible sponsor, it’s also folks like Saltair Marine, and the Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue and the RCMP boat that make the fireworks show happen.”