The Nicola Valley Rodeo Parade will make its triumphant return to the downtown core this September long weekend, kicking off the Nicola Valley Pro Rodeo and reviving the event after four years. 

The parade will mosey through the downtown core on Friday September 1, thanks to the efforts of Jacqueline Whitecross and a group of volunteers which is seeking more members. Whitecross serves on the board of the Nicola Valley Rodeo Association, telling the Herald she wanted to bring back the event for the sake of the community.

“We’ve got a great community, and I think of what children need, as well as adults, they love a parade,” said Whitecross. “To me it’s so important, I just really believe in giving back to the community, I’ve done that all my life.”

The rodeo parade will follow the same route as the annual Country Christmas parade, with floats lining up on Canford, turning left onto Cleasby, right onto Coldwater, left again on Chapman and following the bend, then up Coutlee and back down parallel Quilchena. The entry fee is $25, with proceeds going to the local 4H Club, less expenses.

The parade will follow a western theme, featuring local families in agriculture leading the parade. Whitecross said she hopes to have First Nations dancers or drummers join the parade.

While Whitecross said she has plenty of event organization and fundraising experience through her work with the Rodeo Association and Rotary Club of Merritt, she needs more volunteers to make the rodeo parade come to fruition. Both volunteer and spectator participation will be needed to bring back the community event.

“It’s so important to get people out for it [the parade], it’s been going on for so many years,” stressed Whitecross. 

Whitecross is seeking volunteers to sign floats up and follow up on applications, most of which she noted can be done by phone. She is also seeking parade day lineup coordinators to ensure the day of goes smoothly, and is grateful for all help.

Whitecross noted that the parade is sure to bring joy to all community members, old and young, with both assisted living facilities and some youth groups in town entering floats. She is hopeful the parade will help to show younger generations the importance of both agriculture and community. 

For more information on the Nicola Valley Rodeo Parade, including volunteer opportunities, call Whitecross at 250-936-8585.

Nicola Valley Rodeo Parade

When: Friday, September 1, 2023, at 7 p.m.

Where: See route here.

Cost: Free to attend, float entry fee $25.