The Youbou Regatta includes a number of races

Youbou Regatta returns with more events this year

Along with popular, yearly events like the quarter-mile race, this year's regatta will also feature an adults-only dance.

Youbou is getting ready to host its biggest event, the annual Youbou Regatta, this Saturday (August 8) at Arbutus Park.

Following tradition, the Regatta will kick off at 8 a.m. with a pancake breakfast at the Youbou Fire Hall, sponsored by the Youbou Volunteer Fire Department Society each year.

The pancake breakfast runs until 10 a.m., when the parade takes over the festivities. The parade will make its way from the Youbou Hall to Arbutus Park, where the Regatta will continue until 4 p.m. The parade is free to enter, and awards are available for several categories, including best homemade float, best commercial float, best couple and best pet.

The Regatta really starts at Arbutus Park, where the popular annual events take place. This year will see the return of the canoe and kayak races, swimming races, music in the park, cannon ball contests, the lifeguard relay challenge and the volleyball tournament, as well as events for kids such as the chalk art contest and watermelon eating relay. The Youbou Regatta’s flagship event, the quarter-mile swim, will see 20 to 40 contestants race to the shore from a tugboat.

“It can get pretty competitive, we have competitors from the Stingrays swimming team who come every year,” Linda Blatchford from Cowichan Lake Recreation said. “But its open to everyone and we have awards for lots of different categories, like oldest and youngest to swim, first place from a swimming team and first place for someone not on a swimming team.

“The [Youbou Regatta] is well attended and a lots of fun. Everybody is welcome to participate in the event; there’s no charge to enter the parade, swimming races, canoe race, kayak race, or any of the other events offered.”

Organizers will also be bringing back the Whistle, Splash and Flip Triathlon, a less serious competition which sees teams compete through a three-part relay consisting of whistling with a mouthful of crackers, running and swimming with flippers on and racing while flipping pancakes.

Blatchford said she’s hoping for a big turnout to this year’s event, comparable to the usual several hundred people from around the Cowichan Valley who come to visit Youbou for the Regatta.

The Youbou Community Association is also hoping to bring back a few events that have been absent from the Regatta in recent years, including the Funky Chicken Bingo 50/50 draw and the adult dance, which takes place at 9 p.m. at the Youbou Hall and will feature live music from local band Clear Cut.

“We had to stop hosting the dance a couple years ago because Sunfest fell on the same weekend,” Blatchford said. “Since Sunfest is now the weekend prior, we’re bringing it back this year.”

Tickets for the dance are $15 and will be available at the door with presale tickets available at the Youbou Hall or the Cowichan Lake Sports Arena office.

A barbecue concession will also be open at Arbutus Park from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

For more information on the Youbou Regatta, call Linda Blatchford or Tanya Kaul at the Cowichan Lake Sports Arena at 250-749-6742.