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Tea party fun returns to Oak Bay

The midway and other attractions are in place and ready to go, say organizers of the Friday to Sunday event
James Clark puts the last component onto the Sizzler ride during setup for the Oak Bay Tea Party. ADRIAN LAM, TIMES COLONIST

The Oak Bay Tea Party is back for its 61st year at Willows Park, starting Friday and running through Sunday.

The midway and other ­attractions are in place and ready to go, said Sandy Germain, chair of the Oak Bay Tea Party Society.

Friday hours are 4-10 p.m., Saturday’s are 10 a.m.-10 p.m. and Sunday’s are 10 a.m.-7 p.m.

The Tea Party is always held on the first full weekend in June, Germain said. Friday was added to the schedule in 2018.

As always, a big crowd is expected, she said. “We go anywhere from 10 to 15 thousand, maybe 20,000, depending on the weather,” Germain said. “We don’t charge admission so it’s really hard to gauge how many people come and go.”

The forecast for the Tea Party’s three days calls for sun and temperatures in the 20s.

The traditional Tea Party Parade begins at 10:30 a.m. Saturday from Windsor Park and ends at Willows Park, with the Law Enforcement Torch Run starting just ahead of the procession.

“We’ve got 44 entries in it this year,” Germain said. “Some years, we’ve had over 70 — that was in pre-COVID times.”

Oak Bay High School will be there with its marching band, as will Reynolds Secondary School, Spectrum Community School and Gordon Head Middle School.

Running for over 60 years is an accomplishment, but Germain pointed out that the Tea Party is not alone in its staying power.

“You look at the Saanich Fair, there’s some really long-standing events that have been going on in our area.”

So far, Germain knows of two entrants in the annual spectacle known as the Mayor’s Floating Teacup Race, with Saanich Mayor Dean Murdock challenging Oak Bay’s own Kevin Murdoch.

“I’m not sure if Kevin’s got anybody else in there yet.”

Past participants, other than local mayors, have included former Olympic rower Silken Laumann, Ed Bain from The Q radio station and CHEK TV, and former NHL player Geoff Courtnall.

Tea Party-goers should note that parking restrictions will be in place around Willows Park, so they should consider alternatives like cycling or taking B.C. Transit.

There will be a secure bike-parking facility on site.

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