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Hay River readies to celebrate Canada Day

As with every Canada Day, a big and boisterous parade is expected in Hay River to celebrate the birth of the country.

"I think our local residents basically really take pride in Canada Day and are proud to be Canadians," said Mayor Brad Mapes when asked to explain the large parade every year in Hay River.

A float from the Canadian Coast Guard rolls along Woodland Drive in last year's Canada Day parade. NNSL file photo

Mapes noted many volunteers help out with the parade, along with many segments of the town like the Filipino community and organizations like the fire department.

"You can go down the line," he said. "There are so many people that take a lot of pride in it, and every year it just seems like it gets bigger. I know from talking to quite a few of the residents and also to people who are from outside, they're pretty impressed with the size of the parade for being such a small community."

Mapes pointed out that the parade has obviously grown over the years when you look at old pictures.

"Every year it just seems like it grows a lot," he said. "And this year is going to be that much bigger."

The Canada Day parade this year is being organized by Dale Loutit, the recreation programmer with the Town of Hay River.

Loutit said the parade normally attracts 15-20 floats.

The town asks groups and organizations to register their floats in advance of the parade by filling out a form at the Rec Centre.

"But a lot of people put in their float the day of and just show up, which is welcome, of course," said Loutit.

Along with floats, the parade usually features decorated bicycles, vintage cars and trucks, motorcycles and a wide array of other vehicles, and people dressed in a variety of costumes.

"Be creative," said Loutit. "Zoom on down and participate."

As for why she believes the parade is so popular, Loutit said it's a chance for people to get out and celebrate being Canadian.

The Canada Day parade will line up in front of Keith's Water Service at 10 a.m. on July 1, and the parade will begin at 10:30 a.m.