The torch has been lit and the countdown to the Abbotsford 55-Plus BC Games has now gone down to double digits.
Jubilee Park was a hub of activity on Saturday (May 13) for the torch lighting ceremony, which marked the official 100-day countdown to the Abbotsford games.
Ice cream was provided by Banter and entertainment occurred all afternoon, with performances from the Abbotsford School of Integrated Arts (ASIA) Big Band, Legacy Dance Group, and JD Miner.
The flame was brought into Jubilee Park by one of the most decorated athletes in the history of the 55-Plus BC Games. Ninety-four-year-old Ron Huckerby had the honour of lighting the lamp to signify the countdown in Abbotsford.
Huckerby has been an active participant in the 55-Plus BC Games for the past 35 years, beginning in 1988 in Vernon. He participates in track and field including discus, shot put, javelin, hammer throw, weight throw, long jump, 50 metres run, and 100m run. Huckerby has won 82 medals in the 55-Plus BC Games over his 35 years of participating. It is expected that Huckerby will be competing in Abbotsford in August.
Saturday also saw welcome messages from Abbotsford Mayor Ross Siemens, Abbotsford-Mission MLA Pam Alexis, Gavin Dew the chief strategy officer for Abbotsford Tech District (event sponsor), Abbotsford 55-Plus BC Games President Mary Boonsta, Abbotsford 55-Plus BC Games Vice-President Caren Duyns, John Buis the BC Seniors Games Society President and also a traditional Indigenous welcome from Carmen McKay of the Coast Salish, Musqueam and Matsqui people.
The Abbotsford 2023 55-Plus BC Games will take place Aug. 22 to 26, and it is the 34th 55-Plus BC Games. Over 3,500 participants from 12 zones across British Columbia are expected to compete. The 55-Plus BC Games will primarily take place in Abbotsford, with the communities of Chilliwack, Maple Ridge, Mission, Harrison Hot Springs, and the Township of Langley hosting some of the games at their local venues.
The Games will feature 29 sports and activities and participant registration began for the event on March 1.
The Games will also coordinate approximately 75 to 80 volunteer chairs with 12 volunteer directors. An estimated 1,500 volunteers will be required in the planning and staging of the Games. Volunteer registration officially opened in April.
For more information on volunteering for the Abbotsford 2023 55-Plus BC Games, visit 55plusbcgames.org/abbotsford2023.