White Rock Sea Fest's torchlight parade goes under the sea

White Rock Sea Fest’s torchlight parade goes under the sea

WHITE ROCK — The musical stylings of a cartoon crab rarely seem appropriate for describing people’s lives.

However, for a group of float builders in White Rock the melodic lyrics of Horatio Thelonious Ignacious Crustaceous Sebastian Crab – better known as Sebastian Crab – are tailor-made.

"Up on the shore they work all day, up in the sun they slave away, while we devotin’ full time to floatin’ under the sea," sings Sebastian in Disney’s A Little Mermaid.

As luck would have it (mostly for this reporter, mind you) his verse behooves the recent lives of sisters Deanna Pederson and LaVerne Hogg.

"I was up yesterday at 6:30 and I stopped working at 9:30, so that was a 15 hour day," Hogg said on Tuesday, just four days before the parade.

To build a parade float, one should have four to six-months’ time. For the White Rock Sea Festival’s Torchlight Parade, however, Pederson and Hogg have done it in less than three. Putting in a 15-hour day is par for the course for the two sisters, along with 30 volunteers, who have spent seven days a week working to prepare the lead float in Hogg’s White Rock home.

This isn’t the first float the two women, who are both in their 60s, have built. They began building them in the ’80s and over the course of 15 years took floats to competitions in Canada and the United States. One year they even won the Grey Cup parade.

The theme for the 2014 Torchlight Parade is "Under the Sea" which, conveniently, (again, mainly for this reporter) is also the title of Sebastian Crab’s song.

Hogg’s home has been overrun with vibrant seaweeds, corals and fish, all masterfully crafted by the hands of local volunteers.

"We’ve had some really solid volunteers the whole way through," Hogg said of the women and men who have donated their time.

Jennifer Randall has become a core member of the team and has all but moved in to Hogg’s house.

"It’s been a wonderful experience. I’ve met people I wouldn’t have met otherwise," said Randall. "I’ve learned to sew again, I haven’t sewed since I was in high school."

It hasn’t been easy building a float from scratch in such a short period of time, though. A group of sea anemones with glowing fish hiding in their arms took several attempts to build.

"It took us 10 days to figure out how to do it without them falling apart," said Hogg.

For all those involved in the float, the project is about passion for the community and an attempt to reinvigorate the Sea Festival.

"I’m hoping that when we take the float down to the beach and there’s this great night-time parade and great weather that people will get enthusiastic and it might spur a group of people to get involved," Hogg said.

There will be eight floats participating, some coming from as far as Kelowna and Penticton. The floats will be judged and one will be selected winner.

As the home team, Pederson and Hogg’s float will not be part of the competition, but Hogg cheekily added that "we would win if we were."

The Torchlight Parade begins at 9 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 3 at Oxford Street on Marine Drive and finishes at Stayte Street.

matt@mattlaw.ca