Behest of the West: All locals report to Ukee Days

Get prepared to party West Coast.

Get prepared to party West Coast. Iiiiiiiiiit’s Ukee Days!

The long-running summertime celebration has been boosting local morale since 1975 and it’s imperative that you make an appearance at its 43rd annual one this weekend.

There is too much fun to miss out on. We’ve smacked into the middle of summer and, it seems, all walks of life around here have their heads down and their noses firmly fixed to the grindstone, gathering the tourism dollars they need to make it through the looming off-season.

We’re wary of the parable that tells us lazy squirrels that refuse to gather nuts go hungry when summer ends—there’s also a bit about a grasshopper and an ant that offers the same ominousness—but don’t let that scare you away from some much needed relaxing rambunctiousness this weekend.

Your neighbours want to see you.

The festivities are what we gather for, but we’re really there to celebrate us.

It’s a cool community that you live in for a reason. Be a part of it.

Ukee days is a bona fide blast you deserve to have and the hangover that ensues offers a much-needed reset. It’s the source of the second wind that pushes us through the rest of our tourist-filled summer.

Plus, earning that hangover will remind you how lucky you are to live amongst the locals you share a paradise with. Think of it as a weekend-long potluck dinner that everyone’s invited to and all you’re asked to bring is your love.

It’s an important communal meal to serve up. Please consider garnishing your dish with healthy servings of high fives and cheer. We talk a lot about how important it is to care for our surroundings and keep our slice of wild heaven pristine, but never forget that your neighbours need to be included amongst the wildlife we work to nurture and protect.

Habituate them to your fondness. Leave your heart out for them to get into. Condition them to positivity. Whichever community you call home on this Coast, your attendance is encouraged and valued.

Check out the thorough rundown of events we’ve put in this paper as a pull-out to serve as your guide. You’ll find it on pages 9-12.

Don’t fear the fact that the festival’s menu has changed this year. No two Ukee Days are ever the same. Events come and go as perpetually as the locals that love them.

Somewhere along the way, an Airband Competition, introduced at 1985’s event, dropped off the roster.

In 1986, a Pet Parade made its first appearance. When that was cancelled is unclear and why we ever got rid of something that sounds so entirely and wholeheartedly delightful is head-scratching.

That same 1986 event saw 100 Canadian Navy sailors arrive on three ships: Porte Quebec, Porte de la Reine and Porte Dauphane, to participate in the festivities. Eight of those sailors helped escort the local contestants of something called a Miss Ucluelet Pageant. A Ukeethon also used to exist, where, according to this newspaper’s coverage, “Two of a two male/two female team must choose to either walk or cycle while the other two canoe in an approximately 5 mile race.” A keg toss arrived in 2010, and left after 2012.

This year, we’ve waved farewell to the Wife Carrying Contest and it looks like the longstanding logger sports are in for a shake up.

Whatever changes our societal winds bring, the menu always satisfies. I’m particularly excited to watch the third annual West Coast Baby Race, though I’ve got no horses in the running this year.

Remember parents, their speed depends on your motivation. I had a hearty potential champion under my wing last year and biffed it. I don’t want the same fate for you, so here’s an offering of my mistakes to learn from.

Don’t get distracted by the adorable babies around you. This one’s nigh impossible, but you need to keep your focus.

Don’t rely on their favourite toy. Athletes are notoriously fickle and you’re going to need a full-bag of motivators to inch your star towards you. Food is a great equalizer, so be sure to have some in case their eyes lose interest in your shiny objects.

Never stop smiling. You live in a community that holds an annual Baby Race as part of an annual festival that celebrates how beautiful your surroundings and its inhabitants are. Bask in it.

Tofino-Ucluelet Westerly News