The 2020 Seafeast parade will be virtual event all will enjoy. PRSES are accepting entry forms now for the June 27 event with the theme Tides are Turning. Shaun Stevenson, CEO and president of the Port of Prince Rupert, transforms into Capt. Jack Sparrow for 2019 Seafest, with the theme Happy Pirates of the Pacific. (Shannon Lough / The Northern View)

Seafest parade sails on June 27

Tides are turning during COVID-19 for Prince Rupert parade

The tides are turning for Seafest 2020, the Prince Rupert Special Events Society (PRSES),Vice President Alex Hoogendorn, said. Seafest is getting ready to set sail for its 43rd voyage in a virtual format on June 27. PRSES doesn’t want anyone to miss the boat, so are accepting entrants now for the event which will be broadcast on community television.

Seafest was originally cancelled in early April due to the pandemic concerns. With the slow ease of COVID-19 restrictions, employees returning to work and people expanding their social bubbles, the PRSES wants to rope the community in with good spirits and celebration.

Hoogendorn said one of the great things about the Seafest parade is how the community is on display and celebrating each other with pride.

READ MORE: COVID-19 is raining on the parade

“Prince Rupert shows strength and solidarity. We will pull through this quarantine like we’ve weathered storms in the past. We remain optimistic and envision good days ahead. So, our Seafest theme for 2020 is ‘The Tide is Turning’.

“…This is a chance for a win. We love our town. We have bonded together in fighting this virus and we’ve done a good job. We have something to celebrate.”

“(Anyone) can actually show their parade float, they can put together a funny skit, send greetings, they can sing, they can have a band play…” Hoogendorn said.

Many ideas were floated around by the committee as to how they could engage the community and keep the Prince Rupert tradition of a parade active during the restrictive times.

“There are people that ask if we could do a big drive around town. I don’t think that would be a viable option,” Hoogendorn said, “As the parade is usually around 60 to 70 floats, I do not see a safe or viable way around that.”

“If we put anything in a set location (on display) then we will attract a crowd and then we are responsible for that crowd.”

Hoogendorn said, while this years parade will be very different, Special Events are trying to unite the people by having all areas of the community participate.

“I would encourage anyone… to take on a leadership role, within their own work places. I am sure their bosses would not mind at all if one of their employees became the cheerleader, for both their company and their community, to help organize participation.”

READ MORE:VIDEO AND PHOTOS: Prince Rupert Seafest Parade 2019

“The hope is to have a virtual parade that will run for an hour … and will bring a smile to everyone’s faces just to remind us that we are in this together. We love this place. We love our home to build some pride,” Hoogendorn said.

The annual event really emphasizes the vast diversity of Prince Rupert residents, Hoogendorn said.

“We have so many communities within the community, but in the parade we are all saying ‘Yes, we love your dance. We love your culture. We love what you have and do and we accept it as part of the community.’ It is a really great way of validating each other and celebrating each other.”

For entry forms and more information visit www.prspecialevents.com


K-J Millar | Journalist
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