The Pitt Meadows Museum is again working hard to prepare its two sites for the Pitt Meadows Day, on June 7 this year and honouring the city’s centennial.
The museum will have, weather permitting, its “engine guys” and a volunteer blacksmith at the Hoffmann site.
The General Store will celebrate Pitt Meadows’ 100th birthday year with an exhibit called “Through a Century of Progress: Pitt Meadows 1914–2014,” as well as a new “Hatty Birthday” display, at which visitors can try on some hats, make a centennial fascinator, then take photos by the gramophone to remember the special day.
The new the Creative Communities Pitt Meadows Memory Band exhibit, mounted on the picket fence at the museum, will officially open at 2 p.m. with a ribbon and cake cutting ceremony.
Pitt Meadows Day history
• At one time, Pitt Meadows Royal Party members all received a bowl of strawberries with ice cream as a treat for their efforts.
We were once told that for a few years the event was held on May 24th, no matter what day of the week it fell on. We know this was the case in 1953, when May 24th fell on a Sunday.
It seems that by 1963 the event was being held on the first Saturday in June.
The event went through a difficult time in the late 1940s and no celebrations were held in 1948, 1949, 1950 and 1951. Credit must be given to the newly formed Pitt Meadows Lions Club for “re-activating” Pitt Meadows Day in 1952. Marlene Wickson was queen that year.
Before 1958, and the queen and her Royal Party gathered for the official ceremonies on a makeshift stage put together for each year’s event. In 1958, British Columbia’s centennial year, a permanent stage was erected. But that was dismantled in 2003. There is now a new stage for this and other events in the community and this stage is also a centennial legacy project.
A Maypole dance was once an integral part of the celebrations, but at some point stopped being done. In this centennial year, a group of volunteers working with Grade 3 students at Pitt Meadows elementary is re-activating the tradition for the celebration.
The first mention of fireworks at a Pitt Meadows Day celebration is in 1966. A salmon BBQ is also mentioned this same year.
The name of the event has also changed several times over the years. In 1937, it was known as Pitt Meadows May Day. By 1938 and through 1944, it was the Pitt Meadows Annual Sports Day and Strawberry Carnival. Starting in 1945, the celebration was known as Miss Pitt Meadows Day. The day continued with this name through 1947, and it was used again when the event was reestablished in 1952 and continued through 1967, with the exception of 1964, when, in honor of the town’s 50th anniversary, it was referred to simply as “Pitt Meadows Golden Anniversary.” The present day name – Pitt Meadows Day – started in 1968.
The “school program,” which included the Maypole and other dances, as well as tumbling and other physical education displays and choir, no longer appears in the official program after 1971.
Prior to 1937 there was no spring celebration in Pitt Meadows.