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PoCo's iconic May Days spring festival and parade turns 101

Port Coquitlam celebrates a free family-friendly tradition with the royal party, maypole dances, beverage garden and live entertainment
May Days - Party in the Square.

The excitement is mounting as the City of Port Coquitlam gears up to launch their annual May Days Spring Festival, May 5 - 11, with the classic Rotary May Day Parade, one of the longest running community parades in Metro Vancouver.

As one of the most highly anticipated, free family-friendly events of the year, the festival is brimming with community spirit and support for local businesses.

"It's the ultimate kickoff to the beginning of spring, where every sight and sound echoes the vibrant spirit of this community," says mayor Brad West.  

This well-honoured tradition is in its 101st year, with attendance expected to surpass 25,000.

The festival gets under way with the opening ceremonies at the Jon Baillie Arena, Port Coquitlam Community Centre (PCCC). Attendees can expect an address from mayor Brad West, as well as the presentation of the May Day Royal Party, choreographed by Lindsay Wilson (and team) from Coastal Edge Dance Centre, maypole dancing, with local children and colourful ribbons, plus assorted entertainment.

The May Day Parade will celebrate its 101st year. Photo via City of Port Coquitlam

“I always look forward to celebrating the annual May Days Spring Festival, a celebration that never disappoints," says West.

"Our downtown undergoes a remarkable transformation into a bustling hub of activity, immersing everyone in an atmosphere filled with excitement and boundless energy. You won’t want to miss out."

Kids, start your pedals!

The popular May Day Kids' Bike Race takes place Saturday, May 11 from 10 to 10:45 a.m., starting on McAllister Avenue along a 1.3-kilometre course. Kids will be divided into three heats for a non-competitive fun and friendly race:

·   Three- to five-years-old race 100 metres: 10:10 a.m., 10:15 a.m. and 10:20 a.m.

·   Five- to eight-years-old race 1.3 kilometre: 10:25 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.

·   Nine- to 12-years-old race 2.6 kilometres: 10:35 a.m.

Advance registration is required. Don't forget your (proper-fitting) bike helmet. It's mandatory!

Parade and live entertainment line-up

Secure your favourite viewing spot along the Rotary May Day Parade route Saturday, May 11 at in downtown PoCo to catch approximately 90 fanciful floats, with their colourful pom-poms, metallic fringe, streamers and balloons.

Marching bands, character costumes and performing artists will entertain, too. Parade route begins on Shaughnessy to Elgin, Elgin to Mary Hill, Mary Hill to Hawthorne, and ends on Tyner Road. 

The revelry is ongoing at Party in the Square from noon to 8:30 p.m. at Terry Fox Hometown Square. Enjoy a stellar lineup including headliners, Side One at 8:30 p.m., who will keep the crowd movin' and shakin' with their energetic dance tunes.

The square will be buzzing with eclectic acts, including: Choral Connections (all genres), Golden Spike Dancers, (local can-can legends), The Coyotes (pop & rock), Carmelina Cupo Trio (contemporary, Italian favorites, Latin & rock), Royal Oak (pop-punk), and Annika and the Earthlings (classic rock & country).

Don't miss the May Days Market on Wilson Avenue from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. and a chance to support a variety of local businesses.

Fuel-up with food vendors, beverages

Opening ceremony. Photo via City of Port Coquitlam

Satisfy any craving from an array of tantalizing food trucks, like Dos Amigos, Just-In Time Smoke BBQ, Reel Mac and Cheese, Rocky Point Ice Cream, S for Skewer, Teriyaki Express, Tornado Potato, and more.

Additionally, food/drink tent vendors will be located on the upper plaza level behind PCCC, such as the 4th PoCo Scouts BBQ, The Banana Bike, Lemon Heaven, Gary’s Kettle Corn, and possibly, Bevees (non-alcoholic cocktail drinks).

Enjoy your favourite craft or cold one in the beverage garden, including: Boardwalk Brewing, Nice Life Co., Patina Brewing, PoCo Brothers Brewing, Taylight Brewing, and Tinhouse Brewing Co., just to name a few.

Everyone is invited to this colourful community festival, so mark your calendars; it's a must-attend event not to be missed. Spray park will be open (weather permitting).

“From the Kids' Bike Race, the Rotary May Day Parade, May Day Market and Party in the Square, May Day promises to be an incredible day filled with fun and festivities for all ages," says West.

"It’s a great opportunity to create memories with friends and family while immersing in the vibrant atmosphere of the festivities."

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