Monday, June 4, 2007

Introducing... Stampede 'Lite'!

This weekend, we discovered that the (dreaded) Calgary Stampede had followed us all the way to Victoria. Granted, there were no cheesy saloon-facades in banks and grocery stores, no cows or horses painted on every shop window, no businessmen decked out in denim for a week, no drunken 'cowboys' letting out random 'yeehaw!'s well into the night on downtown streets, and certainly no Testicle Festival. Nonetheless, I think it's safe to say that we experienced a "Stampede Lite" this past weekend. All the fun, with half the calories!

Just like the Stampede, this weekend's famed "Oak Bay Tea Party" kicked off with a much-anticipated parade. However, unlike the Stampede parade (which I confess, I don't know much about since I've never actually watched it), the local parade was somewhat anticlimactic. We were expecting giant floats, mascots, marching bands and the like. Instead, we were treated to a bizarre (and somewhat sad) display of preschoolers and long-term care residents in wheelchairs passing by. It was quite surreal to watch. One minute, there'd be a swarm of 4 year old kids on bikes riding by. None of them seemed to understand that they were in a parade-- they just wheeled wherever their training wheels would take them. The next minute, there would be a group of very old people getting wheeled by in their wheelchairs. Sadly, none of these people seemed to realize they were in a parade, either. In fact, most of them were bundled up in handknit acrylic blankets and sleeping! (I kid you not.) Needless to say, it was quite a strange kick-off.

(I was going to take a photo of the long term care residents in their wheelchairs, but it just felt wrong on so many levels. Hence, check out the four-year-olds on bikes!)

The next morning, we debated about whether or not to go back to the Tea Party. After witnessing the 'parade' the previous morning, reason said it would be wise to stay home. However, an overwhelming urge to try out the pancake breakfast overrode the rational parts of our brains, so we found ourselves back at the beach and taking in the festivities.

There were rides:

As well as an airshow! Skydivers! Bathtub races! (And before you get excited like I did, it wasn't a race of real bathtubs. It was a bunch of jetskis going around in circles... false advertising, I know.)

We ate french fries and those little donuts (actually, here they were 'Birdie's' donuts and not actually 'Those Little Donuts"(TM).)

Marty tried his luck at playing darts, but lost the prize (a satin pirate pillow!) on a technicality... His dart hit the middle of the tiny target like it was supposed to, but since it didn't stick, the girl from Quesnel, BC wouldn't let him take the pillow home. Arrr.... (said in an angry pirate voice).

The weather was beautiful, the beach was packed, and overall, we had a wonderful day.

We even caught a glimpse of what might be the cutest little girl in the world:

Don't think she's super cute? Look again:

Check out that hair!! YEEHAW!!!


carmelclose said...

Cutie yes but I am sure GLADDDD I dont have her hair to deal with every morning!!

Heather said...

Did the parade at least have someone on a Penny Farthing bike? That's why the pub in Oak Bay Village is called the Penny Farthing, because of the dude in the parade.

I think one of the more surreal things I've ever seen in the Tea Party Parade is a senior's tap dance class. They'd walk along normally for a bit, and every now and then would do a bit of tapping. Mum and I almost died laughing.

dana said...

Maybe there was some guy on a bike... but if there was, I didn't notice him. I was too busy dodging stray preschoolers and otherwise blacking out from the feeling of let down.

Robin said...

OMG. What a spectacle that must have been. Truly the epitome of Victoria's "newly weds and nearly dead" descriptor. Rock on. Maybe you should have screamed "yee haa!" just to perk thinks up?!