By Bob Groeneveld/Langley Advance Times
May Day celebrations are taking over Fort Langley again.
The annual celebration on May 20 begins at 8 a.m. with a pancake breakfast put on by the Fort langley Lions Club.
Breakfast goes to 10 a.m., followed by the big event of the day – the 97th annual Fort Langley Lions May Day Parade.
The parade will form up in the marshalling area on Church Street, and gets underway from the corner of Church and Mavis Avenue at 11 a.m.
Festivities organizer Wendy Canessa said the expected 50 floats, bands, and other participants will begin west on Mavis and then turn south on Glover Road, all the way to 88th Avenue, where the procession takes a right turn west to Trattle Street, swinging back north again as far as St. Andrews Avenue.
Roads included in and around the parade route will be closed from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
At the conclusion of the parade, the bulk of activities will shift into Fort Langley Community Park, where the May Queen will be greeted, dignitaries will have their say, and students from Coghland and Willoughby Elementary Schools will demonstrate their maypole dancing skills.
Canessa said the there will be music in the park, along with rides for children, an array of vendors, and food concessions.
The Fort Langley Lions will have their popular barbecue chicken, along with smokeys and fries, she promised.
“It’s our big fundraiser for the year,” she explained.
She said that St. Andrews Church, located next to the park, will again be providing hamburgers and hotdogs.
Canessa is so far expected more than 30 vendors and information booths in the park, with offerings from mosquito control to henna tattoos, from TransLink information to jewellery and crystals, from gluten free bakery to mini-donuts, from LEPS water conservation tips to financial advice, from woodworking and windows to gutter protection and electric vehicle awareness.
Tractors pull in
One of the mainstays of the annual Fort Langley Lions May Day Parade is the array of tractors and farm implements that the BC Farm Machinery Museum brings to the show.
“We’ll be in the parade with quite a few tractors,” said museum spokesperson Mike Prangnell. “Most of them will be pulling some old farm implements and there will be a display wagon.”
“One to look out for will be the old steam tractor.” he said. “It’s a pretty big one.”
Originally powered by a huge boiler, this year’s run in the parade will not be on steam, but powered by an air compressor.
Also in the parade will be Case, McCormick, and John Deere tractors from the 1900s, he said.
Prangnell will be an active part of the procession this year, too.
“I’ll be driving an AllisChalmers from just after World War Two, when horses were really being replaced by tractors.”
Prangnell said he is “actually a city boy myself” who was mostly involved with airplanes after joining the air force.
“When I grew up, the closest I got to a farm was a field across the road,” he said. “I watched the horses ploughing.”
It was a later interest in trains that is responsible for getting him aboard the tractor on Monday.
The farm machinery museum had a train display that caught his attention.
“I went in to help out,” he said, “and I’ve been helping ever since.”
MP plans to join parade
May Day festivities organizer Wendy Canessa said she expects Langley-Aldergrove Member of Parliament Mark Warawa to participatein the parade along with about 50 floats, bands, and others.
“He’ll be riding in the parade, not walking,” the Fort Langley Lions Club member assured.
Warawa’s constituency office confirmed that he plans to be part of the parade: “Yes, he’s looking forward to it.”
Warawa, who announced months ago that he would not seek seek re-election in the next federal campaign, recently was diagnosed with life-threatening cancer and has been under close medical care.