Grande Parade fills Duncan on Saturday

It’s back! In fact, it never went away.

There had been a move afoot to change Duncan’s Grande Parade but you, the paradeloving folks of the Cowichan Valley, spoke loud and clear and the huge, colourful cavalcade will wind its way around the downtown core as usual Saturday, July 18 starting at 11 a.m. Getting it together takes effort from the organizers of two festivals, a whole lot of enthusiastic businesses, the City of Duncan and the Municipality of North Cowichan as well as a large number of supporting groups.

Starting over by the Island Savings Centre on James Street, the parade meanders up Canada Avenue to Fourth Street, then follows Jubilee all the way to Kenneth Street, passing City Hall and making the turn again onto Canada, to Queens Road and finally to Alderlea before ending up back at the Centre again.

Since it surrounds Duncan’s main entertainment and shopping area, the event is always a treat for everyone because businesses and organizations take the opportunity to strut their stuff to the thousands of Valley residents who mark the event on their calendars and then flock to town to line the streets.

The cavalcade includes everything from marching bands, including the area’s own beloved Town Crier, and the Cowichan Pipes and Drums, to the Cowichan Community Band, floats, dancers, fancy cars and trucks, and entries by service organizations such as Hiiye’yu Lelum and the Cowichan Valley Shriners.

The Candy Crushers Roller Derby girls will have competition in the parade this year from the ominous sounding Brass Knuckle Derby Dames so watch for both groups.

Coming to Duncan for the event this year are the 20-member Vancouver Traveling Band and the 200-member Albert Head Air Cadet Squadron which will be marching behind its own band. This group also features a drill team demonstration with replica firearms.

And of course, don’t forget the district’s fire departments will be out in force, offering candies and squirts from various sorts of water weapons – often a welcome treat on a scorching summer day.

There are all sorts of angles for viewing and even places that offer shade from the sun so be sure to get downtown early to set up your chairs and blankets by the roadside.

You’ll know when the parade is ending, too, because the parade marshalls, the Duncan Daybreak Rotary Club will bring up the rear in the event.