Victoria Day Parade, with a touch of Bavaria, rolls today at 9 a.m.

Members of the Victoria German Canadian Cultural Society are adding the last pieces of Bavaria to their float today as they prepare for this year’s Victoria Day Parade.

Rick Przybysz, director of the club, said members have spruced up their moving display, a small taste of Bavaria. It’s now painted and ready to roll.

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“We have painted it up a bit and cleaned it and we’ll be putting flowers on it,” said Przybysz. “It’s a lot of fun.”

The float will roll on Monday, filled with club members dressed in authentic German folk costumes, part of the 121st Island Farms Victoria Day Parade.

The German float will be one of 100 entries in the parade, which will start from Mayfair Shopping Centre at 9 a.m. Members of the Canadian Armed Forces will lead off the parade, which goes down Douglas Street and concludes at Humboldt Street.

Runners, two waves of them, the quick and the not-so-quick, will leave ahead of parade marchers to take part in the inaugural Victoria Day Douglas Mile. The first wave of runners leaves the start at Burnside Road at 8:30 a.m. and the second at 8:35 a.m. They finish at Victoria City Hall.

Making sure the parade starts without a hitch is the task of the Lions Club. The Lions volunteers marshal parade participants into their positions in the 90 minutes before their parade start.

Douglas Street will be closed from Cloverdale Avenue to Belleville Street from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Finlayson Street from Blanshard Street to Douglas Street will also be closed.

Douglas Street will be reopened to traffic gradually in sections as the parade finishes.

The parade, Victoria’s largest and longest of the year, is organized by the Greater Victoria Festival Society and its volunteers. This year, it’s expected to attract at least 100,000 spectators.

About 3,500 participants are expected to march in this year’s parade, many of whom come from out of town and will stay all weekend.

The parade will see 15 high-school marching bands, including some of the best from the U.S. This year, Victoria welcomes two U.S. high school newcomers: The Kitsap Marching Cougar Band from Washington state and the Century High School Marching Band from Oregon.

The only dark clouds for this year’s parade are expected to be in the sky and bringing some rain. But participants seem to have a plan.

The German club, for example, has decided against folk dancers. But they will still broadcast German music and, when possible, club members will leave their little rolling piece of Bavaria to mingle in their German folk costumes with the crowd.

“The only problem we’ll have is we won’t be able to hand out any real German beer,” Przybysz said.

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