Despite facing an uncertain future as the year began, things are beginning to look brighter for Lake Days, Lake Cowichan’s biggest summer event. While the departure of former executive chairperson Bob Day, and the subsequent lack of nominees for the top position, put Lake Days behind schedule, the committee’s new head Jackie Cummings recently expressed confidence that the celebrations would be ready to start on June 7 – along with a few changes.
Residents will be seeing a roster of new events take place during Lake Days, including the food bank scavenger hunt. The event will see several teams of five or six compete to collect a list of non-perishable foods for the Cowichan Lake Food Bank within the span of two hours. Registration will be free and the winning team will be rewarded with a steak dinner. The scavenger hunt replaces Lake Days’ former food bank fundraiser, which was comprised of donation boxes at the event gates – an initiative that Cummings said saw little success.
“The food bank is always in need of donations year-round,” she said. “We’ve always had the donation box set up at the gates, but this year we wanted to get the community involved with the fundraising. We wanted to make it fun and interactive.”
Other additions to this year’s Lake Days will include a dinner cruise, fishing derby, “blue ribbon” chili cook-off, hot dog eating contest and a human foosball court. The court will be built and supplied by Irly Bird, and Cummings said that this year it will be used on a drop-in basis, though the group hopes to have a scheduled tournament in the future.
Lake Days will also be seeing the return of past events such as the Lady of the Lake, the road hockey tournament, Build, Bail and Sail and the talent show. Some events will be undergoing changes, such as the soap box derby, which will now be held as a one-day event and will also be receiving a new course on King George Street.
Cummings said that the only event that will not be returning this year will be the logging demonstration, which is being cut due to mixed reviews.
“There’s been some people who have wanted [Lake Days] to move on,” Cummings said. “Change is good – though this is probably the biggest change we’re making this year.”
Each new event will be sponsored by a different local business, a boon to the group’s fundraising efforts which will allow them to eliminate the $2 admission fee that was charged in previous years.
“During our conversations, it boiled down to the fact that if there wasn’t something for everyone, you’d essentially be paying $2 to come in and buy a hamburger,” Cummings said. “We’re a volunteer organization, so we’re not concerned with revenue. We’ll still have a donation box at the entrance.”
As for Cummings, she said she was unsure if she would be returning to organize Lake Days next year, despite the positive experiences she’s had so far.
“I’ve had an awesome group of people to work with, and a lot of awesome ideas,” Cummings said. “I’d like to come back, if time permits.”
The Lake Days committee is still looking for volunteers to assemble and disassemble fencing and other areas of the event. To donate some time, contact the committee through email at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, visit the event’s official website (www.cowichanlakedays.com).