Celebrations for the 100th annual Naramata May Day are officially underway, thanks to the work of several Grade 5 students across the village.
The festival’s Soapbox Race, featuring students from Naramata Elementary, kicked off the weekend’s events at Ellis Avenue and 8th Street on Friday afternoon, May 19.
With guidance from the Naramata Fire Department, students raced their personally designed and constructed karts to mark the start of the long-running May long weekend gathering.
“The community has been doing this for so long and it’s so nice to kick it off with a little bit of fun today,” said Reagan Lovig, a recreation coordinator at the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen. “May Day for the kids is also about trying to teach valuable lessons, like leadership and teamwork, and that’s what this is.”
Unlike the last 99 editions of the gathering, May Day celebrations this year will happen over the course of the whole weekend. Lovig says that the event is typically celebrated with several planned gatherings all on Monday to wrap up the long weekend.
Naramata’s Soapbox Race, however, is always the event that kicks off the community’s annual celebration.
The race began at 1 p.m. and featured several different groups racing their own respective karts.
Celebrations will continue all weekend long, with the bulk of the events scheduled for Monday including the annual parade and ceremony from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Manitou Park on Dorothy Road in Naramata.
The parade will be followed by a traditional Maypole Dance by Naramata Elementary School students.
“May Day is steeped in history and tradition so we wanted to make sure we do it properly over the whole weekend,” Lovig said.