The Sunshine Coast didn’t have many permanent residents during the early 1900’s, but the summer months brought crowds of people looking to catch a break from the city, and with all these vacationers came the West Howe Sound Regatta. Starting in 1929, it was held alternately at Granthams Landing, Hopkins Landing, and Gibsons Landing. A “costume parade” started the festivities and soon enough the wharf would be brimming with spectators, many of whom had just made the trip over by a Union Steamship. The surrounding waters were swarming with local boats, there to participate in or simply watch the chaos. Events included home-made raft races, sailing races, swimming and diving competitions, and pillow fights in canoes. There was even a sun-tanning competition called “skin game”, with each community submitting 3 contestants. The regatta continued throughout the 30’s, but came to an end after the Second World War.
The middle of August would then bring along the Fall Fair, which contained events lasting from Friday to Saturday evening. Community members brought in entries for a wide variety of categories, and judges chose the most impressive to receive cash prizes for their efforts. The displays were shown at Gibsons Elementary, of which categories included: baked goods, farm animals, flowers, produce, and even displays of hobbies such as needlework or photography. Apart from the displays, a children’s parade would also take place on the Saturday. “A group entry won special merit, a group of Gibson Girls all charming maidens who excelled in doing the Charleston. When time came to gather names half these charming maidens were found to be young gentlemen” (Coast News 1959-08-20, “Children Stage Parade”). After the overall winners had been announced, the festivities finished off with an evening community dance.
Gibsons Landing’s Wharf Day was a one-time event held on August 16th of 1947. Crowds gathered to celebrate the opening of the new wharf, with the main event being a parade on Marine Drive.
Port Mellon also had its time to shine with the annual Labour Day celebrations taking place at the Seaside Park. Throughout the day various sports competitions and races would be held, although the main event was the crowning of the Pulp Queen. This tradition started in the late 1940’s and carried on for many years to come. School children voted for a Queen from the 6th grade, while the representatives of the younger grades would be cast as flower girls, pages, and a crown bearer. There were also games of Bingo held, and an evening of dancing to wrap up the day.
In more recent history, from 1969-2018, Gibsons Landing was home to the Sea Cavalcade. Originally created to bring all of the communities together, this was undoubtedly the most elaborate celebration on the Sunshine Coast. The whole town was turned upside down to host the spectacle; which at times included 2 dances (one on the Gibsons wharf and one in the legion), a beer garden, the crowning of the Sea Cavalcade Queen, a children’s fishing derby, races, a “war of hoses”, fireworks, and a parade.
“B&W 4x4" photo. Local volunteer firefighters’ "War of Hoses" event in the Sunnycrest Mall parking lot as part of the Gibsons Sea Cavalcade. 4 men (2 in uniform) try to control a basketball with fire hoses. Spectators in background.” (photo 2287)
For the first time this summer we will see Gibsons Landing transform into a wonderland of lights with the first ever Lantern Festival. Taking place on July 27th, the day will include music performances, free dance lessons, food trucks, and a lantern procession at 9pm. “In coming years, we will look at expanding the scope and getting the word out even more--this year we have had only a couple of weeks to get everything together,” said Verna Chan, the event’s main organizer.
Celebrations have come and gone, but as time has proven, there will always be something exciting to bring the Sunshine Coast together.