Alexis Wood, 8 of Langford, visits with a minion on the Royal Canadian Coast Guard’s Christmas decorated miniature of the Wilfred P. Laurier vessel at Western Speedway last year. The 19th annual event takes place on Saturday, Dec. 2, beginning at Ogden Point at 5:45 p.m., before winding through Victoria, Saanich and the West Shore and ending at Western Speedway around 8:30 p.m. (Gazette file photo)

Trucks gear up for annual convoy Saturday

Event starts at Odgen Point, finishes at Western Speedway

When Wendy Watt watches YouTube videos of last year’s Island Equipment Owners Association’s Truck Light Convoy, a feeling of excitement washes over her.

Watching the lights sparkle on the trucks as they drive by the thousands of smiling Greater Victoria residents who lined the streets, makes her proud to be a part of an association that gives back to the community.

“I just get tingles. It’s just such an amazing cause, it’s just such an amazing event,” said Watt, the association manager. “The hours that the truck drivers and all the equipment owners put in to do this is just amazing and it’s all just out of the generosity of their own heart … it takes hours and thousands of lights.”

RELATED: Convoy of lights sparks holiday tradition

This year, 80 trucks are being decorated to dazzle thousands of residents throughout the region on Saturday, Dec. 2. The 19th annual convoy begins at Ogden Point at 5:45 p.m. and, with the help of a police escort, winds its way through Victoria, Colwood and Langford, before ending at Western Speedway between 8:15 to 8:30 p.m. The trucks then park and the public is invited to enjoy a hot dog, hot chocolate and see the trucks up close.

New this year, residents will be able to track the convoy’s progress online.

In addition to the parade, the event is also a fundraiser for various food banks in the Capital Region. While residents cannot hand food to drivers during the event, there will be a number of drop off locations set up throughout the various municipalities.

A number of local groups, businesses and firefighters will be collecting donations the night of the event. Some include View Royal Fire Rescue collecting at Helmcken Road and Watkiss Way, Colwood Fire Rescue at Juan de Fuca Recreation Centre and Sands Funeral Home, Thrifty Foods in Colwood, Langford Fire Rescue at the corner of Verterans Memorial Parkway and Goldstream Avenue and Millstream Village.

Donations benefit a number of food banks including the James Bay Community Kitchen, the Mustard Seed, the Salvation Army and the Goldstream Food Bank. Over the years, the association has donated more than 154,000 pounds of food.

“We just want to create awareness in the community of how important it is [to donate] any time of the year, but Christmas and the winter time especially,” said Watt, noting many residents will set up their chairs along the 35-kilometre route around 3 p.m. the day of to ensure they get the best view possible.

“I’m just really proud of the association and all that they’ve accomplished over the years in giving back to the community where we all do work and play.”

For more information, food drop off locations and to track the convoy’s progress on Dec. 2, visit ieoa.ca.

kendra.wong@goldstreamgazette.com

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