If Williams Lake’s ever-popular Stampede parade is to continue it will need a new group to organize it.
With attempts for funding denied and only a small membership to do the work, Williams Lake Daybreak Rotary Club has confirmed to the city it will no longer be the parade’s organizers.
During the committee of the whole meeting (COW) Tuesday, Jan. 18, council received a letter signed by the club’s president Jason Noble and president elect Bill Carruthers noting with all the focus on COVID-related issues and personal health care they felt a formal notification was in order.
The letter cited the cost of liability insurance, availability of sponsorship funding, limited grant funding to augment sponsorship funding and general security which required Rotary to solicit volunteers as main issues.
“We have done the parade for about 16 years and felt that it was timely to look at a new group, if we are able to have a parade,” the letter stated, noting Rotary has seed funding and equipment such as pylons and safety vests that can be turned over to a new organization.
Club members would also be willing to try and help supply information to another group about organizing the parade.
Marilyn Martin, the club’s secretary, later told the Tribune that letting the parade go was an emotional decision for all the Rotary members.
“We’re still all sad, it’s a sad thing. We’re afraid no one is going to pick it up,” said Martin, noting the club did everything they could to keep organizing the parade. Being denied funding, ongoing COVID concerns and having a lack of volunteers, just proved to be too much.
“We’re just a small group. We can only do so much.”
Mayor and council discussed bringing the issue forward to a future regular council meeting with recommendations from the COW meeting to acknowledge the work Rotary put into the parade all those years and to direct staff to put out a request for proposals for another group to organize the parade.
In February 2021, the club also told the city it did not plan to continue organizing the parade. The club had applied for funding as the cost of the parade runs between $10,000 and $13,000 because of event insurance, porta potties, advertising and community policing but were denied twice.
At the COW meeting Mayor Walt Cobb said before Rotary organized the parade it was put on by the chamber and at one time the Stampede Association had a parade organizing committee.
Coun. Jason Ryll said the parade is integral to the fabric of the community.
“It will be more than sorely missed should it go away,” Ryll said.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the parade and the Stampede were cancelled in 2020 and 2021, however, it is hoped the Stampede will happen in 2022.