Rod Lavergne has a way with words.
For the past 20 years, the long-time silver-tongued Esquimalt resident has been the voice behind the Buccaneer Days “wakey, wakey” call, encouraging people to rise and shine for the weekend festivities, Friday to Sunday (June 10 to 12).
Early Saturday morning (June 10), Lavergne will hop in an Esquimalt fire truck and be driven through township streets.
With his trademark quick wit and love for his municipality, Lavergne will keep up a running banter over the truck’s loud speaker about how good the pancakes taste at the Esquimalt Lions Club pancake breakfast, at the Archie Browning Sports Centre from 7 to 11 a.m. He will also ensure everyone is up and at ’em in time for the parade on Esquimalt Road, starting at 10 a.m.
Ken Hill, now deceased former Esquimalt mayor and Buccaneer Days organizer, pitched the volunteer job to the straight-talking Lavergne over coffee one day.
“He was wondering if I knew anybody that was quiet, self-contained, not too noisy,’” Lavergne said with a chuckle. “I said, ‘Geez, Ken, I don’t know anybody like that.’”
After two decades of consecutive service, health issues sidelined the retiree last year. But now he is looking forward to returning since he says anything can happen during the wakey, wakey.
One man mooned the truck as it passed by one year – not everyone appreciates being roused from slumber at 7 a.m. on a Saturday – but Lavergne and driver, firefighter Tom Woods, will use a lot of discretion with the horn and siren so people won’t wake up on the wrong side of the bed.
For other residents the tradition, which pre-dates Lavergne’s involvement, is a highlight.
“Kids come out on the side of the street,” said Lavergne. “It’s the only time women in their housecoats wave to us.”
After nearly two hours of non-stop chatter over the PA system, Lavergne – not known for ever being at a loss for words – spends the rest of the morning resting his hoarse voice.
But for him, keeping the wakey, wakey tradition is worth the small sacrifice.
“As long as I can do it, I guess I’ll be doing it,” Lavergne said.
For a schedule of events, please visit www.esquimalt.ca, or call 250-412-8511.
Mark your calendar
• June 10 – Barbecue lunch at noon at Archie Browning Sports Centre; midway from 3 to 11 p.m.
• June 11 – Lions breakfast 7 to 11 a.m. at Archie Browning Sports Centre; parade at 10 a.m., day-long midway, Rugby 7s tourney, children’s activities, food booths, and arts and crafts vendors until 5 p.m. Community dance from 7 p.m. to 1 p.m. at Archie Browning Sports Centre, with live music from Consenting Adults and Splinter.
• June 12 – Day-long midway, food booths, arts and crafts vendors, lacrosse and rugby action and free pony rides. Skydivers drop into Bullen Park at 3 p.m.