A two-day, $70,000 event that is, essentially, free to the community doesn’t happen without a strong group of volunteers, and they are still needed for the fast-approaching Canada Day festivities in Orillia.
The celebration will begin Saturday at noon at Couchiching Beach Park, when the children’s fun zone will open. That’s also when the food and craft vendors and the beer garden will open, followed by a dance featuring live music from Dr. Krane at 7:30 p.m.
The Orillia Canada Day committee still needs volunteers to help with set-up, tear-down, selling buttons (a $2 button, with proceeds going toward next year’s celebration, gets visitors into the weekend event) and manning the inflatable attractions, such as bouncy castles.
There will not be a midway this year, so volunteers are needed to ensure all of the inflatables are available.
Organizers tried to secure a midway, but “they are booked,” said Brian Hare, manager of operations with the committee.
“We’re trying now to book them for next year. That’s how booked they are,” he said. “We’re trying to make up for it by bringing in the blow-ups a day early.”
While it was stated on the Orillia Canada Day website there would be a fee to enter the children’s fun zone on Saturday, that has changed. Businesses have stepped up with donations, so admission will be free with the purchase of a button.
Other than the lack of a midway, the schedule of events will look familiar to those who attend every year.
Sunday’s festivities will begin at 8 a.m. with a pancake breakfast. Registration for the Wheely Great Parade, for kids on all kinds of wheels, will open at 9:30 a.m., with the children’s fun zone opening at 11. A silent auction will run throughout the day.
Opening ceremonies will begin at 1 p.m.
Two of the most anticipated events of Canada Day in Orillia are the main parade and the fireworks.
The parade will begin at noon Sunday at Andrew and Mississaga streets. It will proceed down Mississaga Street to Front Street and continue to the park.
The fireworks — $15,000 worth — will begin at dusk.
The committee rarely strays from the schedule because “it works” every year, Hare said.
But it doesn’t work so well without volunteers. Those interested in helping out are encouraged to show up at the park Friday at 10 a.m. to assist with set-up. While there, they can inquire about other ways they can help throughout the weekend.
Committee members are also needed, said Hare, who has been involved for about eight years.
“Somebody stepped up and did this when my kids were small. That’s why I do it now,” he said.
To find out more about volunteer opportunities, email [email protected].
For a complete schedule of events, visit orilliacanadaday.ca.