A bright blue sky and summer temperatures greeted crowds gathered along Lakelse Ave. in downtown Terrace July 30, setting the stage for the return of the Riverboat Days parade from a pandemic-enforced hiatus.
Judges chose the Gingolx Concert Band from the Nass Valley as best overall entrant of more than 35 in the parade which this year carried the theme “music on parade.”
The band, which when combined with player from other Nass villages becomes the the Majagaleehl (Flower of the Nass Valley) mass band, was near the front of the parade, right behind the Gingolx Majorettes in bright yellow attire.
The band also collected first place, and a $150 prize, in the bands and dancers category with the Gitladax Nisga’a Dancers placing second, winning $100.
In the commercial category, first place and $150 went to the Gitlaxdax Nisga’a Terrace Society while second place and $100 went to the Miles End Motors/Bubbland float.
In the non-commercial category, first place and $150 went to the Indian Residential School Society – Northwest Region with second place and $100 going to the Gitlaxt’aamiks Gathering Our Strength Canoe Journey float.
The latter float from Gitlaxt’aamiks (New Aiyansh) in the Nass Valley featured people walking beside it who just days before had completed a canoe journey in the Prince Rupert/North Coast area.
One of this year’s organizers with the Riverboat Days parade committee, Gord Shaben, thanked those who participated in the parade and the spectators who came out to enjoy it.
“With COVID, as you know, these past couple of years there’s been a lot of changes. People have moved on and businesses have been sold,” he said of the committee’s work in building new connections, and reviving old ones, to assemble the myriad items that go into organizing a parade.
A core group consisting of Shaben and Joyce Bradley — who are veterans of past parade organizing — along with Janice Shaben and Lynn Kinney had the benefit of notes from past parades.
“We then pulled in other people and included new people,” said Shaben.
The group has already met to record this year’s experience so as to have a playbook for next year and beyond.
Shaben said the group also welcomes more volunteers.
“None of these things could happen without volunteers. People need to remember the values that volunteers can bring,” he said.