2021 has been a challenging time to get in front of a lot of people. It was hard to get out front of the public and showcase Rotary in our small town. When the organisers of Ladysmith Days and the Ladysmith Kinsmen Club decided to hold a Covid-Safe parade in the summer, Rotary Club of Ladysmith was all in.
The Rotary Club of Ladysmith sponsors Disaster Aid Canada and the DAC Community Response Trailer had just been painted, and the new decals were about to be applied. We formed a committee and decided to showcase a few of our projects with our Interact Club. We quickly assembled a team. We found our banners and made a plan. We had magnetic signs made for all the vehicles.
Interact would lead our section of the parade with their banner, next was to be Club President Frank Elsom in his classic Mercedes sports car, then the Rotarians with their banner, following them came senior members of the Rotary Club in Ken Grieg’s Truck which was towing the DAC Trailer. Behind that was Eileen Beltgens and the “Be Eager About Reading” kids and then another convertible with the Ladysmith Citizens of the year (community health workers).
Things got a little more exciting when we were asked to provide a ride for the Mayor, who ended up spending the parade riding in Frank’s Mercedes at the front of the parade.
The theme of the parade was Mardi Gras, so we wore beads, funny hats, and feather boas. We had a lot of fun marching and dancing along to music from New Orleans. It was so good to see all of the people in town along the parade route, most keeping their distance or in family groups. Our efforts won us third place for the team.
The most important part of the whole event was to display to the community that Rotary is still here. We may not have been out in the community very much in the past year (though we did hold bottle drives and a shredding event), but we are still here and also having fun.
The parade was a success for the organisers and the residents of Ladysmith, but it was also a great event for our Club. So much so that we have been invited to doll up our gear and participate in the town’s other big event, the “Ladysmith Lights Up” parade in November. Our team is planning to outshine ourselves by decorating the trailer with hundreds of lights and showcasing Rotary once again.
On a final note; as President Frank was driving through town afterwards, he was surprised by how many people were waving and smiling at him. He did not realize until later that he still had the Mayor of Ladysmith signs on his car.