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Wakey wakey! Buccaneer Days returns to Esquimalt after two years

The early-morning “Wakey wakey” call will return to Esquimalt streets this weekend as Buccaneer Days makes a comeback.

The early-morning “Wakey wakey” call returned to Esquimalt streets this weekend as Buccaneer Days makes a comeback.

The well-loved community event kicks off at noon Friday with a barbecue hosted by Esquimalt Parks & Recreation at the Esquimalt Recreation Centre, said chairman Bob Mackie, who has been involved in Buccaneer Days for at least 25 years.

West Coast Amusements rides and midway next to the Archie Browning Sports Centre are expected to be ready for action by 3 p.m. Friday and run until 11 p.m., he said. Saturday hours are 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., and Sunday hours are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The traditional Wakey Wakey alert via bullhorn begins at 7:30 a.m. Saturday, Mayor Barb Desjardins said. The caller — billed as a “mystery voice” — will be in a fire truck that drives around until 9:30 a.m.

“They do it early to try and get everybody down to pancake breakfast and then from there to the parade.”

The pancake breakfast starts at 7 a.m. while the parade begins at 10 a.m. Saturday. Esquimalt Road will be closed to traffic from 9:45 a.m. to noon between Dominion and Admirals Road. The finishing point is Esquimalt and Admirals.

Reviving Buccaneer Days is a big deal, Desjardins said. “We are so excited,” she said. “The community is just bubbling from this.”

Mackie said he has been stopped on the street and taken plenty of phone calls from people wanting to know what is happening with the traditional Esquimalt festival.

On Thursday, he was at the Buccaneer Days site watching everything take shape.

Buccaneer Days has its roots in 1939, when the district began hosting a May Queen celebration. That became Esquimalt Days and then Buccaneer Days in 1966 — which inspired people to come out in naval and pirate garb.

Desjardins said that organizations throughout Esquimalt are involved in the event.

“I think the most important thing to remember is that this is the community celebration of all the service groups, all the community groups — [from] Girl Guides to the Chamber of Commerce,” she said. “It’s a way of coming together to let the rest of the community know you’re there, but also it’s a fundraiser for each of them.”

Money is raised by having booths in the sports centre’s curling area as part of the Buccaneer Market.

The sports centre will also be home to the Buccaneer Days dance, with doors open at 7 p.m. Saturday and bands starting at 9 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 at the door.

Outdoor entertainment will be featured during the weekend on the Bullen park stage. The public can also take in dog-agility demonstrations and sky diving from 2 to 3 p.m. Sunday.

jbell@timescolonist.com