PORT HARDY—Communities across North Vancouver Island hold summer festivals, but none of them bring out the weekend warrior quite like Filomi Days.
Port Hardy officially kicks off its annual summer celebration tomorrow with the Filomi Days Parade from Thunderbird Mall to Carrot Park. By the time the parade winds up, however, sporting events for both participants and spectators will be well into their second day of competition.
Over the course of the weekend, prospective athletes and fans will have a chance to take in slo-pitch, soccer, outdoor volleyball, street hockey, dragon-boat racing, stock-car racing and soapbox-derby racing.
Three Filomi weekend events kick off tomorrow, including the Filomi Fishing Derby. With a new sponsor — Jim’s Hardy Sports — and a new weight-in location — Government Wharf — the derby returns after a one-year hiatus. Weigh-ins are held from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday. Prizes will be awarded for top spring salmon, ling cod and hidden-weight halibut, during an awards ceremony at the main entertainment stage in Carrot Park Sunday at 4 p.m.
Also starting Friday are slo-pitch and soccer tournaments, which will continue through Sunday. The annual Filomi Slo-pitch tournament, hosted by Port Hardy Slo-pitch, takes place at the Beaver Harbour Park fields, with a break for Saturday’s parade and the dance Saturday night, Friday through Sunday. A wood bat format puts a premium on strategy and defence — check out the action.
Tsakis FC of Fort Rupert hosts its third annual 7-on-7 soccer tournament at Port Hardy Secondary School, with games beginning Friday evening and running through Sunday’s men’s and women’s finals. Youth divisions will also be contested on Saturday only, and kids’ races will also be part of the day’s activities.
More competition is on tap Saturday. Before the parade, the Tri-Port Dragon Boat Society will already have run the preliminary heats, beginning at 10 a.m., in its fourth annual regatta in Hardy Bay, directly in front of the bulk of the waterfront park activities. Trophy-round finals continue into the afternoon, and don’t forget to bid on one of the many paddles, custom-painted by local artists, that will be given out in a silent auction throughout the day.
The annual Brian Burns Memorial Street Hockey tournament also gets off to an early start Saturday, with a 9 a.m. puck drop on Hastings Street, between Sporty’s and North Island Lanes. Action continues through the day in several age-group categories, from tykes to adults.
Immediately after the end of the parade, the first serve of the 3-on-3 volleyball tournament — sponsored by Funtastic Sports and Courts — will be made in Carrot Park, between the Seawalk and the Lion’s Club entertainment stage. The one-day event is a popular showcase, taking place in the middle of park-based activities and concessions.
After local stock car drivers take part in the parade, you can catch them at considerably higher speeds at Tri-Port Speedway, in the Tacan Industrial Park off Byng Road. The season points-series races begin at 4 p.m., giving families plenty of time to enjoy activities at the park and still make it out to the speedway for dirt-track action and some of the best burgers you can find on the North Island.
The stock car club will switch gears Sunday, with Tri-Port Motor Sports Club members playing host to the kids’ Soapbox Derby beginning at 10 a.m. on the Main Street hill, between Rupert and Market streets. Racing is held in two age groups and prizes will be awarded following the event.
That may seem like enough activity to pack into a weekend, but there’s more.
If drag racing or baseball are more to your liking, head to the Hyde Creek area near Port McNeill.
The North Island Timing Association holds the second of its three Rumble on the Runway drag-racing weekends at Port McNeill Airport Saturday and Sunday. Actually two separate points races, both days begin with qualifying at 10 a.m. and elimination races starting at 1 p.m.
Just across Hyde Creek, at the area’s ballpark, the North Vancouver Island Baseball League hosts its annual post-season playoff tournament Saturday and Sunday beginning at 10 a.m. each day. Sunday’s finals feature the traditional barbecue of salmon burgers and hamburgers, hosted by the ladies of the Hyde Creek Hillbillys and benefitting the Hyde Creek Recreation Association.