Oak Bay fine arts students Kenny Wang

Oak Bay fine arts students Kenny Wang

Mayor to battle top cops in floating challenge

Four freshly painted floating teacups will race during the annual Oak Bay Mayor’s Floating Teacup Challenge

Four freshly painted floating teacups will race, or perhaps struggle to stay afloat, during the annual Oak Bay Mayor’s Floating Teacup Challenge Race.

Oak Bay High students gave a pair of long-lost teacups a fresh coat of paint earlier this week.

“We have four teacups this year, we’ve only had two before,” said Bill Murphy-Dyson, chair of the Oak Bay Tea Party Society. “I got a call from the City of Victoria out of the blue ‘we have these two teacups if you want them.’”

But they’d been in storage and needed a facelift that will come courtesy of students under tutelage of Steve Price, the fine arts department head at Oak Bay High.

“We always really like to get the kids involved as much as we can. So we decided to approach the high school because (the teacups) looked pretty shoddy,” said Hazel Braithwaite, a director with the Oak Bay Tea Party Society.

Three of the teacups will feature Mad Hatter illustrations and designs inspired by students themselves.

“We always like to have the one the mayor’s going to be in have the municipal crest,” Braithwaite explained.

And so the tradition of a two-teacup race, doubles to four this year as Mayor Nils Jensen takes on top cops from around the region: Saanich, Victoria and Oak Bay police forces.

Oak Bay Police Chief Andy Brinton injured himself recently in bike accident and longtime local officer Deputy Chief Kent Thom will helm the vessel in his stead.

“It should be great fun and we’ll miss Andy but Kent is a formidable opponent too,” Jensen said.

The other two new police chiefs in the region, Frank Elsner of Victoria, and Bob Downie of Saanich also accepted the challenge.

“I’ll be up against some heavy competition,” Jensen said. “I have been going to the gym nearly every day for the last couple weeks pumping iron and practising treading water. Because on my first foray I went ‘a over teacup’ I think is the saying. The second year I didn’t have the strength.”

He’s hopeful experience added to that training will pull him ahead in the race.

“There’s a certain technique that can lead you to tipping over,” he said, voicing an opinion that sharing such knowledge might not be an obligation.

The teacup race takes place at Willows Beach following the airshow on Sunday, June 8 at 3 p.m.

The 2014 Tea Party will be held on June 7 and 8 at Willows Beach. Visit oakbayteaparty.com for a full list of events.