Oak Bay ready to pour it on for Tea Party

Citizenship judge will conduct affirmation ceremony Sunday

All the midway fun and excitement will return to Willows Beach as the Oak Bay Tea Party runs this weekend.

All the midway fun and excitement will return to Willows Beach as the Oak Bay Tea Party runs this weekend.

A seven-minute interlude could reignite Canadian passions during this year’s Oak Bay Tea Party.

Citizenship judge Gerry Pash only needs seven minutes to inspire citizens during a set break between the Commodores gig Sunday evening.

“Part of my mandate as a citizenship judge is community outreach,” he said, ‘helping Canadians realizes what they’re taking for granted.”

He’ll lead a group citizenship affirmation ceremony at 5:15 p.m.

“It’s an opportunity for people who are Canadians already to reflect on the freedoms, rights and responsibilities of being a Canadian citizen,” said Pash. “I will speak a little bit about the freedoms and rights – and what does Canada ask in return – then we’ll go straight into the oath.”

Despite taking only seven minutes in total it can still be inspiring, as Pash knows from previous affirmations at large gatherings. He’s led the oath at a HarbourCats baseball game, Sidney Days’ community picnic and Fort Rodd Hill.

“It’s done across the country in various locations,” Pash said. “People say ‘I’m a Canadian citizen. I was born here, but that felt good’.”

Commodores Big Band plays from 4 to 6 p.m. on Sunday and popular Vic High appears Saturday.

“Vic High Rhythm and Blues band has done such a good job appearing year after year that they are this year the headliner for Saturday night,” said Bill Murphy-Dyson, chair of the Oak Bay Tea Party Society.

Oak Bay event-planners fill two days with events that could individually make a lasting impression: air show, bathtub race, teacup race, midway, fun run and live entertainment.

“The air show starts with skydivers landing on the beach and it ends with skydivers landing on the beach. It’s cool,” said Murphy-Dyson.

Add the ultra-traditional pancake breakfasts, ladies nail-driving competition and a parade and you have the Oak Bay Tea Party June 6 and 7 at Willows Beach.

Throughout the weekend, roast beef, pancakes, corn, tea and more will be available through the work of, and to benefit, non-profits Oak Bay Kiwanis, Royal Oak Lions, Capital City Lions, Girl Guides and Oak Bay Sea Rescue Society.

“It’s one of our functions to provide a venue for raising money for non-profit groups,” said Murphy-Dyson.

Parking, as always, will be limited. Parking restrictions are in place in order to permit emergency vehicles easy access to and from Willows Park.

“It’s best to ride your bike, there will be secure bike racks … there will be extra buses as well. Otherwise park your car blocks away and walk,” Murphy-Dyson said.

They also aim to have the greenest Tea Party yet.

“We are going to be the greenest, or one of the greenest events on Vancouver Island this year, thanks in large measure to one member of our volunteer committee, Noreen Taylor,” said Murphy-Dyson. “About three years ago, she showed up with some volunteers and I called her the dumpster lady. She was literally going into garbage and sorting it out.”

See the full schedule online at oakbayteaparty.com.