From left: Food bank chairperson Betty Sanddar

From left: Food bank chairperson Betty Sanddar

Lake Cowichan celebrates Lake Days 2015

New dinner cruise event makes a big splash on Lake Days, while the KinDucky Derby bobs.

Despite a shaky start earlier this year, Lake Days 2015 was met with success as it introduced several new events to the program and garnered a turnout on par with last year.

Jackie Cummings, the new executive chairperson of the Lake Days Celebration Society, estimated the turnout this year to be between 1,500 and 2,000 people. An exact number, she noted, may not be possible to find due to the gates and entry fee being lifted this year. The price however, wasn’t the only change to come to Lake Days this year.

One of the most successful additions to this year’s Lake Days were the dinner and lunch cruises. The cruises, hosted by Jake’s at the Lake, took guests on a three-hour cruise around Cowichan Lake as they enjoyed a multiple-course meal. The new event proved to be a big hit with residents and visitors alike, with all cruises completely selling out.

“I had to turn down about 90 queries on the first day alone,” Cummings said. “People were asking about reserving tickets for next year as soon as they stepped off the boat.”

Earlier this year, Lake Days was facing an uncertain future as former executive chairperson Bob Day stepped down from his leadership role, leaving the spot vacant for weeks. Cummings later filled the head seat, and though organization of the event was off to a late start and volunteers were in shorter supply than usual, Cummings and her team were able to make this year’s Lake Days a hit.

“Volunteers are always in demand,” Cummings said. “Realistically, we were running this with very few people and we were looking for more. Considering there were only five or six of us, I’d say we did pretty darn good. I’m very happy with it.”

Though the will of the organizers and volunteers was strong enough to pull the event together, the forces of nature brought the annual KinDucky Derby to a disappointing end, despite completely selling out of ducks before the event began. Due to the water conditions and a lack of wind, the 1,249 rubber ducks released into the Cowichan River still hadn’t reached the bridge on South Shore Road by the hour and a half mark, when the organizers of the derby decided to stop the event and instead decide the winner through a draw. Back at the Kin Hut, Ella Mister-Douglas drew Joan Nahirnick as the winner of the grand prize of $1,000.

Cummings said that she would like to thank former committee members Bob Day and Laurie Johnson, as well as the current committee: Cathy Craft, Joe Tatham, Betty Sanddar, Terry Hale, Nora Hayward and Mike Desjardins.

“They were each so valuable in their own way, and without them I would have lost my mind,” Cummings said. “Some were new and some stepped up to take on more responsibilities this year. Those that had already been involved for years really helped guide me through it.”

Cummings also said that she was looking forward to returning to the Lake Days committee next year, though she is planning on taking on a different role due to other commitments.