The 11th annual Departure Bay Neighbourhood Picnic held last Sunday was a fun event for all ages. After all, what is not to like about an event that combines food, games, music and sunshine.
Definitely the most popular activity was the Cake Walk. A large group of neighbourhood volunteers supplied a glorious array of cakes in all shapes and sizes.
It was great fun to watch children and adults walk around a circle to lively music. When the music stopped, everyone rushed to stand beside a number, hoping that theirs would be the one picked and they could claim their prize cake.
More fun was watching children, and even whole families, sit down afterwards to devour the winning cakes.
Another popular item was the games and races.
Children of all ages participated in bubble blowing, hula hoop, egg and spoon races, sack races, plain old running races, parachute games and the everpopular tug-of war. Prizes were awarded to winners, runners up and even to a few extra keen participants.
A great attraction this year was Chris the Balloon Man.
All the kids were enthralled as he quickly crafted flowers, swords, animals and almost anything one could imagine out of balloons.
Meanwhile, musical entertainment was provided by the band The Naked Grapes.
Crowds of people sat in the audience, tapping feet and clapping hands to their repertoire of fun and funky well-known tunes.
And of course no picnic would be complete without the food. The kitchen crew did a wonderful job serving hot dogs, chips, sweet treats and various beverages.
The pakoras donated by Amrikkos provided an exotic touch.
There was even a popcorn machine thanks to the folks at Auto Check.
Celebrity guests included Mayor John Ruttan along with councillors Fred Pattje, Diana Johnstone and Diane Brennan. Even former councillor Bill Holdom put in an appearance. A special thank you should go to organizer Joan Shillabeer and the rest of the DBNA executive and volunteers for putting on such a successful family day. Events like this take weeks of work attending planning meetings, enlisting sponsors, collecting equipment, making signs, shopping, baking and much more.
A stalwart group of volunteers was on-site by 9 a.m., erecting tents, setting out food and equipment and even cleaning up goose poop.
The last of the equipment was put away by about 4 p.m. For most volunteers the armchair at home provided the first rest they had all day.
Like many organizations throughout the city, DBNA is always in need of a fresh supply of volunteers to help out in order that these special events can continue.
If you are interested in finding out more about Departure Bay neighbourhood events and membership, please visit the website at www.dbna.ca.
In the meantime, a huge thank you to all the sponsors who made the event possible: Thrifty Foods (Brooks Landing); Fairway Market; Save On Foods (Country Club); McDonald's (Rutherford and Terminal Park); Tim Horton's; Amrikko's; Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory; Home Hardware; Auto Check; Remax; Nanaimo & Area Land Trust;
City of Nanaimo; St. John's Ambulance.
A quick footnote: Some readers will remember my article: Ten Things To Do In Departure Bay. This has now been made into a brochure, Explore Departure Bay, produced by a partnership between the DBNA and the City of Nanaimo.
The publication includes 12 things to do, a brief history of the bay area and some historic photos.
If you missed picking up a brochure at the picnic, copies are available at The Sand Dollar Cafe on Wingrove Street.
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