Close to 30 car collectors brought their vehicles out for a ‘drive’ through downtown Fort Langley on Monday. The rather impromptu car rally was designed to replace the traditional May Day Parade and festivities that could not happen as a direct result of COVID-19 safety restrictions. (Roxanne Hooper/Langley Advance Times)

Close to 30 car collectors brought their vehicles out for a ‘drive’ through downtown Fort Langley on Monday. The rather impromptu car rally was designed to replace the traditional May Day Parade and festivities that could not happen as a direct result of COVID-19 safety restrictions. (Roxanne Hooper/Langley Advance Times)

VIDEO: Rain dampens numbers, not spirit in ’unofficial parade’ through Fort Langley

99th annual May Day Parade wasn’t allowed, so a few dozen car lovers decided to take a ‘drive’

If the sun had been shining, Russ Townsend and Steve Williams predicted as many as 300 car collectors would have brought their jewels to display in Fort Langley today.

But, due to the damp weather, there were fewer than 30 cars and collectors who turned out for a brief, and socially distanced – for the most part – drive through the historic village in what the two car enthusiasts labelled the unofficial May Day parade.

For the second year running, the long-standing May Day parade and related festivities in downtown Fort Langley had to be cancelled due to COVID-19.

Anxious not to let the historic holiday go unmarked, this pair of friends once again spread word among Lower Mainland car clubs – via email and phone – inviting fellow collectors to take a “safe” drive along the traditional parade route late Monday morning.

“We couldn’t have a full parade because of the pandemic, so we’re putting on a drive through car show,” said Townsend, who’s been the May Day parade marshall for 20 years.

Walking up and down Mavis Avenue – in front of the Fort historic site – and checking out the waiting participants, Townsend predicted “spectators in town will love it.”

“We’re going to show you a little bit of chrome, a little bit of hot rods, and just some real cool cars,” Williams added.

There was at least one New Westminster couple overjoyed by the unexpected car show.

They were among a few dozen on the village streets who stumbled across the “parade,” and this visiting pair marveled at their good fortune.

They had chosen to flee their home in New West, which was overwhelmed by smoke after an overnight fire destroyed an old commercial building near the Columbia Street SkyTrain station. Looking to escape for a bit, the car lovers headed for Fort Langley. Little did they know luck was on their side, and they’d arrive just ahead of the 11 a.m. parade start.

LAST YEAR – VIDEO: Car collectors come out in droves for drive through Fort Langley

Bob and Berla McLaughlin – along with their little dog, Sophie – said it was one of the few times they’ve taken part in an car events since COVID hit, and they were glad to be out, despite the rain.

Early in the pandemic, the Surrey couple had joined other members of the BC Hot Rod Association for a few drives to long-term care homes and hospitals to help boost morale and say thanks to all the frontline staff battling the coronavirus.

But since then, the McLaughlin’s 1930 Model A two-door coach has pretty much sat idle.

“We’re please to finally get out and fire up the old car and go for a drive,” said Bob, who noted they bought their car some 20 years ago, fully restored. All he’s had to do in the years since is keep it up, add a few pieces of replacement chrome here and there, and drive it to events such as this ‘unofficial parade.’

Watching the rain bead off his Model A, he concluded: “It’s a good day.”

RECENT NEWS: Vacant Fort Langley buildings to be replaced with restaurant

Last year, in part due to short notice and the onset of the pandemic, the “impromptu” drive attracted about 75 cars. This year, as Williams explained, hundreds were expected – if hadn’t been for the rain.

This would have been year 99 for the May Day festivities that have, in past, included a parade, May pole dance, and a variety of community festival in the village.

Langley Township Mayor Jack Froese was among those in attendance for the second year running, and thanked the drivers for coming out and showing what he called “a little bit of community pride” under difficult pandemic conditions.

.


Have a story tip? Email: news@langleyadvancetimes.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Car ShowsFort LangleyHolidaysVintage car rally

 

Close to 30 car collectors brought their vehicles out for a ‘drive’ through downtown Fort Langley on Monday. The rather impromptu car rally was designed to replace the traditional May Day Parade and festivities that could not happen as a direct result of COVID-19 safety restrictions. (Roxanne Hooper/Langley Advance Times)

Close to 30 car collectors brought their vehicles out for a ‘drive’ through downtown Fort Langley on Monday. The rather impromptu car rally was designed to replace the traditional May Day Parade and festivities that could not happen as a direct result of COVID-19 safety restrictions. (Roxanne Hooper/Langley Advance Times)

Close to 30 car collectors brought their vehicles out for a ‘drive’ through downtown Fort Langley on Monday. A Township fire truck brought up the rear. The rather impromptu car rally was designed to replace the traditional May Day Parade and festivities that could not happen as a direct result of COVID-19 safety restrictions. (Roxanne Hooper/Langley Advance Times)

Close to 30 car collectors brought their vehicles out for a ‘drive’ through downtown Fort Langley on Monday. A Township fire truck brought up the rear. The rather impromptu car rally was designed to replace the traditional May Day Parade and festivities that could not happen as a direct result of COVID-19 safety restrictions. (Roxanne Hooper/Langley Advance Times)

Fort Langley is typically home to a huge May Day Parade and local festivities that draw thousands to the village on the Victoria Day long weekend. But the pandemic made a large public event of that kind impossible. So car enthusiasts hosted their own type of parade down Glover Road. (Roxanne Hooper/Langley Advance Times)

Fort Langley is typically home to a huge May Day Parade and local festivities that draw thousands to the village on the Victoria Day long weekend. But the pandemic made a large public event of that kind impossible. So car enthusiasts hosted their own type of parade down Glover Road. (Roxanne Hooper/Langley Advance Times)

Bob and Berta McLaughlin of Surrey, with scruffy little Sophie, took part in a small car rally that drove through the village of Fort Langley Monday, to mark Victoria Day and to replace the traditional May Day Parade that would have been in its 99th year – if not for COVID. (Roxanne Hooper/Langley Advance Times)

Just Posted

Alexis Paige Simpson has not been in contact with her family in two months. (RCMP photo)
Chilliwack RCMP looking for missing 20-year-old woman

Police say Alexis Paige Simpson has not been in contact with her family in two months

(Maps.Chilliwack.com)
RCMP seek dash-cam footage after Chilliwack road rage incident

Male driving a black pickup stopped and allegedly threatened to punch another driver

Deepak Sharma of Abbotsford has been convicted of the sexual assault of one of his cab passengers in West Vancouver in January 2019.
Former Abbotsford Hindu temple president convicted of sexual assault

Deepak Sharma assaulted a female passenger when he was a cab driver

A blood drive in support of 1-year-old Rielynn Gormley of Agassiz is scheduled for Monday, June 28 at Tzeachten First Nation Community Hall in Chilliwack. Rielynn lives with type 3 von Willebrand disease, which makes it difficult for her to stop bleeding. (Screenshot/Canadian Blood Services)
Upcoming blood drive in honour of Agassiz toddler with rare blood condition

The Gormley family has organized a blood drive in Chilliwack on June 28

Woody’s RV World hosts a grand opening for its brand-new Abbotsford location on Saturday. (YouTube)
Woody’s RV World hosts Abbotsford grand opening on Saturday

First-ever B.C. location for successful RV chain, located on Marshall Road

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Chilliwack secondary school’s principal is apologizing after a quote equating graduation with the end of slavery in the U.S. was included in the 2020-2021 yearbook. (Screenshot from submitted SnapChat)
B.C. student’s yearbook quote equates grad to end of slavery; principal cites editing error

Black former student ‘disgusted’ as CSS principal apologizes for what is called an editing error

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross. (Photo by Peter Versteege)
BC Liberal leadership candidate condemns ‘senseless violence’ of Okanagan church fires

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross says reconciliation isn’t about revenge for past tragedies

A coroner’s inquest will be taking place at the Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni for the next week. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Teen B.C. mom who died following police custody recalled as ‘friend to many’

Police sent Jocelyn George to hospital after intoxication had gone ‘beyond the realm’ of normal detox

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel speaks to the Sacred Hearts Catholic Church burning down early Monday morning, June 21, 2021. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Penticton band chief condemns suspicious burning of 2 Catholic churches

Both Catholic church fires are deemed suspicious, says RCMP

COVID-19 daily cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day moving average to June 17, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections drop to 90 on Sunday, 45 Monday

Pandemic spread dwindles as 77% of adults receive vaccine

By protesting uninvited in First Nations’ territories, conservationists are acting in a neocolonial or paternalistic manner, says Huu-ay-aht Chief Robert Dennis. Photo by Heather Thomson
A closer look: do Vancouver Island First Nations support the war in the woods?

First Nations/environmentalist old growth alliance uneasy, if it exists at all

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Most Read