The Reverse Dry Grad Parade is still a go after Williams Lake city council approved the route at its regular meeting on Tuesday, May 25.
“It’s not quite as elaborate as they’d hoped to have,” Mayor Walt Cobb said during the meeting. “I thought maybe with the changes that came down [for COVID restrictions] … but it is not so.”
“You only graduate once,” Cobb added.
Coun. Craig Smith said he feels bad for the grads but suggested they could perhaps have a party in September.
Echoing Smith, Coun. Marnie Brenner said she was hoping there could have been something such as a drive-thru banquet.
“You have people going to Walmart and hanging out, and yet we cannot have these guys coming together for anything. It doesn’t make a lot of sense sometimes, and I feel badly, but these guys have really persevered.”
Melanie Berg, communications with the dry grad committee, told the Tribune the parade will take place on Saturday, June 12, beginning at 3 p.m. and run until 5 p.m.
“Rules right now say the kids have to be two metres apart, with it being a drive-by event,” Berg said, noting the parade will take place down a stretch of Western Avenue and several other nearby, adjacent streets.
Grads are being encouraged to come up with elaborate displays to stand by along the sidewalk as cars pass by viewing the parade participants.
“Rather than floats, they can do some type of tent, in case it rains, and they can decorate their own spot like a float,” Berg said. “The theme is Enchanted Forest, so the plan is to have them in sections: wizards, elves, gnomes and goblins. While they aren’t allowed to stand together they have a choice to be near a friend, or date, almost like a block party. It should be fun and interactive.”
Current plans are for the parade to enter from Midnight Drive onto Western Avenue, exiting at Pigeon Avenue.
With roughly 240 graduates, organizers are hoping the community will embrace and support the event. The dry grad committee said it’s number one priority is making sure graduates are safe.
“We are encouraging grads after the parade to go home and to be with their families. Make it a family night,” Berg said.
This past Monday, the Williams Lake Dry Grad Committee received a document from the Province of B.C. published earlier this month noting any graduation celebration beyond a ceremony, itself, is prohibited.
The Provincial Health Office ruling means the cancellation of its planned formal, cohort-based luncheon, which was scheduled to take place Wednesday, June 9 at Lake City Secondary School. The event was also slated to be the recipient of a Williams Lake and District Credit Union sponsor-a-plate fundraiser, which will now be put to a different use depending on what students and organizers scramble to come up with as a suitable replacement activity.
The dry grad committee also learned graduates are now reduced to having four guests attend their personal, graduation ceremony as they walk across the stage at LCSS.
“It’s unfortunate, but it’s really quite limiting for a lot of families,” said Kim Nowotny, team leader with the grad committee and a staff member at LCSS. “Last year we said between eight to 10 guests, and we felt that was good for our space (in the LCSS Williams Lake Campus commons area).”
While options to use the fundraised plate money from the credit union are still being tossed around, the LCSS school graduation ceremony, meanwhile, will go on both June 10 and June 11 between 4 to 8 p.m.
Residents are also encouraged to support the Dry Grad Car raffle, as Cariboo GM, HUB International, president Roger Gysel and the grad committee have banded together to once again donate a vehicle — this year a 2021, white Chevrolet Spark — to be raffled off to a lucky community member.
Tickets for the dry grad vehicle raffle are available from any graduating student, at the LCSS Williams Lake Campus, Cariboo GM, Do-More Promotional and at The Mantel, who is the offering a $500 gift card to The Mantel as the second-place prize in the raffle draw.