Fifty years later, a Hope community event is once again gaining in popularity and organizers are determined to keep amping up the fun while keeping it affordable.
Brigade Days has been a mainstay in Hope for fifty years, and this year’s three-day party from Sept. 7 to 9 will be both a throwback to the early days of the event and a weekend jam-packed with new sounds and experiences.
Some events over the weekend will surely bring people back to their childhood memories of the three-day fair.
After a nearly decade-long hiatus, logger sports are back on Sunday, Sept. 9.
Following logger sports is a long-running tradition, the Sunday demo derby which is always held on the Sunday after Labour Day.
“Our demolition derby is one of the longest-running demolition derbies in B.C. and people have been coming to Hope specifically to see (it) Sunday afternoons,” said Lori Isbister, vice-president of Brigade Days.
“They don’t have to look it up, they don’t have to research it, they just know if they drive to Hope Sunday afternoon we’ll have a demolition derby. Even with the introduction of new things we’ve tried to keep that a staple. There’s just a following for that.”
The trade parade, Brigade Days’ version of a trade show, will be on all weekend at the curling rink. It was run for many years by Inge Wilson with the Hope visitor centre.
“It was a place for local businesses and other businesses to promote their place of business and their product. So with the way the market is now, there’s a lot of home-based businesses, so we’ve made the entrance fee for that very reasonable,” Isbister said.
The beer garden has been christened the Ken James Rip-Off Saloon, in homage to founder of Brigade Days Ken James.
The weekend festivities also include Saturday night music by Canadian rockers April Wine, the biggest act Brigade Days has attracted in its 50-year history.
“We’ve always had live music throughout the weekend, but not to this caliber,” Isbister said. Dave Mawhinney of the Silver Chalice was the force behind bringing April Wine to the party.
The focus for Brigade Days’ music is Canadian and, as much as possible, local acts.
Isbister was reluctant to give too much away about the parade Saturday, Sept. 8, except to say there would be some surprises and good-looking floats. Performing before and during the parade are the Seattle Cossacks Motorcycle Stunt and Drill Team
“They do the most amazing stunts on their motorcycles. They’re vintage Harley Davidsons and they do pyramids and laybacks as they’re driving down the street,” Isbister said.
The goal this year is to provide more and more within Brigade Days while keeping the entrance fees affordable. For a $15 weekend pass early bird rate, Isbister said this has been achieved. Friday night’s entrance fees are also being sponsored by Star FM, allowing people to have a taste of the event before committing to the full weekend.
Isbister estimates last year the number of attendees was between five and six thousand people. This year, she expects even more people to attend.
At the end of it all, Isbister says the event really comes down to community. The Hope Crime Prevention Society, Scouts, Rotary and many other community groups are manning concessions and working at the event which they get donations for from Brigade Days.
“We give back to those organizations that help us out, which is really what Brigade Days is about,” Isbister said.
For a full schedule of events, see brigadedays.com.
Pick up next week’s Hope Standard for great photos and stories from Brigade Days’ 50-year history, and for more detail on Ken James’ mysterious banana jingle.
Is there more to this story?