Former Westside-Kelowna MLA Ben Stewart can remember the first time he participated in a Westside Daze parade, several decades ago.
Stewart donned his Boy Scout uniform and joined several others as they walked down Main Street beside an old Willys Jeep and proudly waved their flags.
“In those days, after the second world war, it was kind of at that era where there was a lot of excitement for people in uniforms of any sort, whether you were a scout or a veteran,” said Stewart.
Stewart will once again walk in West Kelowna’s annual parade this Saturday, but this time he will do so as Westside Daze’s official parade marshal.
“It’s an honour,” said Stewart, noting he never missed a Westside Daze celebration during his time as MLA.
Over the past four years, Stewart has made it a tradition to dress up in unique costumes—such as Captain Jack Sparrow and Mad Hatter—for the event.
It’s unclear at this point whether he will carry on that tradition while leading the Westside Daze parade.
This is the third year Westside Daze has had a parade marshal, according to organizer Leah Thordarson.
In 2011, longtime cake maker Peter Klein led the parade and in 2012 Lieutenant Governor Steven L. Point was given the honour.
Stewart said he has felt the community’s support since making his decision to step aside as Westside-Kelowna MLA to allow Premier Christy Clark to run in the riding for a July 10 byelection.
“My aim is to not become somebody who is distant or someone who isn’t there in the community,” said Stewart.
“I (hope to) continue to give good representation for the premier here in the riding.”
The Westside Daze parade is the largest of its kind outside the Lower Mainland. It begins at 10:30 a.m. Saturday. An image of the parade route can be found on page A22.
The 2013 Westside Daze four-day celebration begins Friday evening, with a concert by Blues Brothers Too at 7:30 p.m.
Westside Daze spokesperson Wayne Moore said the fireworks are on their way, despite some concern they may not be able to be delivered from Calgary. The fireworks show takes place at 10:15 p.m. Saturday.
West Kelowna Mayor Doug Findlater added he has been assured Gellatly Bay construction will be wrapped up prior to the fireworks display.
“It may not be perfect, there may be a few stones unturned, but it’s going to be done,” said Findlater.
For a full schedule of events, visit westsidedaze.com.