For more than 50 years, one Regina man has been helping to lead the Queen City Exhibition parade.
Rollie Bourassa will be front and center Tuesday night, helping to lead the parade in the Evraz City of Regina float. He said the float is a revolving carousel with displays of all the things going on at the exhibition grounds and throughout the city.
“We’ve got spinning turntables and sound and everything on it, it’s always the lead float in the parade welcoming people to the Queen City Ex,” Bourassa said.
Bourassa has not only lead the parade for more than 50 years, but he also helps design and build the float as well.
He said when he first began helping with the parade, floats were always the big thing but now the cost of building a float is getting pretty high.
“At one time there used to be all the major stores (involved) and they all built nice big floats, floral arrangements and everything else. Now it’s getting a little thinner but there are still a lot of local communities putting together something,” Bourassa said.
There were more bands during his earlier years, but he said times have changed and with community bands and school bands being off for the summer, it’s hard to schedule them in the parade.
“It’s still a great time, the parade this year has a lot of entries,” Bourassa said.
This year’s parade will feature upwards of 100 floats and a fireworks display will cap off the night at dusk in Wascana Park.
One of Bourassa’s favourite parts of leading a parade is just watching all the faces of the people in the crowd.
“They’re all excited and they have the kids out, it’s a people thing,” he said.
Bourassa is also the chairman of the Memory Lane display at the exhibition, which showcases artifacts from the city and the exhibition from over the years.
“This year’s display is ‘yesterday, today and tomorrow’ because of big advancements out on the grounds. It’s now the largest events complex in Canada with the new agricultural (and) international building in there now,” Bourassa said.
He said you can walk the whole grounds without having to go outside.
This year the display will feature glassware sets from the 1910 and 1911 exhibition.
The Queen City Exhibition parade gets underway at 7 p.m. Tuesday night, beginning at Dewdney Avenue and Cameron Street and finishing at the Tartan Curling Club on Broadway Avenue.
The exhibition’s gates open Wednesday at 12 p.m. and run through Saturday night.