Organizers of the Great International World Championship Bathtub Race and Vancouver Island Exhibition are taking a wait-and-see approach before deciding the fate of their events in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Nanaimo News Bulletin file)

COVID-19 hasn’t yet caused cancellation of Nanaimo’s Bathtub race or VIEX

Marine festival, agricultural fair organizers taking wait-and-see approach

While threat of COVID-19 has led to cancellation of summer events in Nanaimo, organizers are waiting before deciding the fate of this year’s Bathtub race and VIEX.

Bathtub Weekend 2020 is scheduled to begin July 24, with the 52nd world championship race July 26. Greg Peacock, Loyal Nanaimo Bathtub Society commodore, said the situation is fluid, but the board’s initial plans are to make a decision in mid-May about circuit races scheduled for Father’s Day and Canada Day, before making a decision on the big race sometime in early June.

“If we end up postponing the big race in July, we have the opportunity to hold the event in the last weekend of August and we’ve actually booked Maffeo Sutton Park for that already,” Peacock told the News Bulletin.

RELATED: COVID-19 concerns see Nanaimo dragon boat festival cancelled

READ ALSO: Departure Bay ferries temporarily halted due to COVID-19

Karen Streeter, VIEX president, said she and her board are also taking a wait-and-see approach for the fair, currently scheduled for Aug. 21-23. No deadline for a final decision has been set, she said.

“We’re at the end of August; I think it’s a little too early,” Streeter told the News Bulletin. “Let’s hope and pray and keep our fingers crossed that it’ll be done soon and we’ll just carry on. I think people will need something to cheer them up, and somewhere to go after all of this, and I’m hoping the fair can be that destination.”

Tribal Journeys, the traditional canoe journey with indigenous peoples from B.C. and Washington state, was scheduled to be hosted on Snuneymuxw First Nation territory for the first time ever, with festivities set for July 27-Aug. 1.

However, in a press release issued Monday, Mike Wyse, Snuneymuxw chief, said the event was cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns. Snuneymuxw is open to hosting the event in the future, the press release said.

Nanaimo Child Development Centre’s Silly Boat Regatta fundraiser, set for July 19, was cancelled with Dominic Rockall, executive director, also citing the pandemic as the reason. The next regatta is expected to take place July 18, 2021.

Heiko Behn, Nanaimo Dragon Boat Festival Society chairperson, announced in a social media post that the festival, scheduled for July 10-12 at Maffeo Sutton Park, was cancelled for similar reasons. The next Save-On-Foods Nanaimo Dragonboat Festival is slated for July 9-11, 2021.

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