Friday, 26 July 2013

Music in the Park Victoria

It has been a tradition for the municipality of Saanich to host a family friendly evening of music in the park during the summer months. There is a different band that performs every week, there are kids' attractions such as face painting, bouncy castles, balloons, concession for fun summer junk foods, the playground and a spot for dancing close to the stage. The goal of these events is to get the community outside and mingle without breaking the bank.

photo by Ashley the Islander

Majestic Park
A few weeks ago I biked the kids 10kms to Gordon Head's most recently renovated park. We managed to find our friends despite being an hour late. There were so many people in attendance: young babes in arms; toddlers making their way to the swings; climbers going up the ladders; explorers digging for gold in the sand; parents pushing kids on the swing; grandparents clipping their helmets in place; aunts and uncles buying mini doughnuts and snow cones; child-free adults grooving to the band. I was so happy to see and hear such a wide range of cultural diversity too - the West Coast dialect of English wasn't the only accent or language I heard. There were many modes of transportation present: cars, minivans, bikes, cargo bikes, kid-hauling trailers, scooters, walkers, pedestrians.

photo by Ashley the Islander

The evening was warm until the sun hid behind Mt Doug's peak. The band finished their set and the parents began packing up their picnics, enlisting help from their kids. I wasn't keeping track of the time or the darkness creeping up on us. I was running around the playground, chasing the kids up the slide and making sure we were winning freeze tag. Then my friend reminded me that her bike ride home was only one kilometer and that mine was a tad longer. I put jackets on, turned on my lights and pedaled hard since the multi-use trail home isn't properly lit. The days are definitely getting shorter, and I need to remember that!

Beckwith Park
Jose got his camera packed in his panniers and was ready for the shoot. Not all pictures are as spontaneous as I would like them to be ;) I had invited friends to meet me for a bike ride over to Beckwith but none had confirmed. JahJ complained about not pedaling his bike and threatened not to be happy unless he did. We insisted that the distance and elevation were too much for him. Reason was not going to win him over, so I offered him an apple and sat him backwards on the Flightdeck, facing his sister. I had seen a similar set up with a Hooptie in the Twitterverse, and thought it would be a nice change of pace. My little acrobat managed to turn himself over while I was riding and kept voicing his displeasure for the 30 minute ride.

His tune changed when we got to the park. The water was still on at the water park, so we quickly set up home base in the shade and he stripped down to his undies. Jose stayed with napping Nae-J and I grabbed a bowlful of salad to eat while JahJ ran through the water. He was drenched in seconds and smiling ear to ear. I was enjoying the Rock 'n' Roll band, and thinking about how I would have preferred Italian parsley to the cilantro I had thrown in my salad. The water turned off and JahJ made his way back to our picnic to have some supper. I was impressed with his sense of direction, especially in such a large crowd.

Nae-J woke up and JahJ wanted to go on the playground. The four of us walked around to check out the displays. There was a playpen with sleeping turtles in it. We saw lizards and even held a snake. Daisy the cow had a little tent set up where kids could learn about dairy. There were old police cars and ambulance trucks to sit in. We enjoyed being in a community of friendly faces enjoying a warm summer night with music and dancing.

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