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

Canadian Pacific Railway’s Caboose 437115 was retired and donated to Maple Ridge in 1991. Now, it’s in need of some repairs, and the museum is looking for some people willing to help in its refurbishing. (Maple Ridge Museum/Special to The News)
LOOKING BACK: Caboose needs a new roof

Maple Ridge Museum is putting the call out to loca train lovers for some help

Grant De Patie. (The News files)
Virtual sit-in in memory of Maple Ridge gas attendant killed in 2005

Protest for stronger safety protections for late-night workers

Have an opinion you’d like to share? Submit letters to the editor through our website, via email or the postal service. (Heather Colpitts/Black Press Media)
LETTER: Pitt Meadows does not need new RCMP detachment

Local resident says the price tag is too much

Maple Ridge author Tiffany-Ann Bottcher is one of 21 authors whose real-life stories are featured in the new book Women in Business in a Changing World. (Special to The News)
Maple Ridge author shares real-life story to inspire women in business

Tiffany-Ann Bottcher, is a long-time Maple Ridge resident, a full-time business coach and blogger

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. There’s new evidence the Vancouver police were warned about a possible riot days before violence broke out during the final game of the Stanley Cup playoffs on June 15. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
Maple Ridge residents share Vancouver Stanley Cup Riot memories

June 15th was 10th anniversary of Canucks Game 7 loss

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

UFV athletes were honoured for their strength and perseverance during the pandemic. (UFV photo)
Fraser Valley athletes recognized in year without sports

UFV Cascades athletes honoured for strength shown during the pandemic

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

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

Most Read