Kick off your summer with DND Family Days
By Ryan Melanson,
The weather is starting to warm up, and the 22nd Annual DND Family Days, happening June 22-23, is the perfect venue for members of the DND community to start getting into the summer spirit. As always, the event is presented by Personnel Support Programs Halifax, and promises to be a fun-filled two days of mechanical and inflatable rides, carnival games, military tours, good food, live music, prize draws and more.
It’s expected that more than 20,000 CAF members and their families, as well as civilian DND and NPF employees, will pour into the festival site, which will be set up right inside HMC Dockyard over the two days.
Returning as the Family Days presenting sponsor for 2018 is Sobeys, who will be on site with their always-popular cookie decorating booth; cookies are free of charge, and while the kids have the most fun decorating, mom and dad are welcome to join in as well. Keep an eye out for other special treats on offer from Sobeys through the weekend, and the sponsor will also be kicking off this year’s prize draws, giving away an evening at the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo in the 24-seat Wiser’s Lounge Executive Skybox.
New Platinum Plus Sponsor Irving Shipbuilding, who plan to launch the first ship of the Navy’s future fleet, HMCS Harry DeWolf, later this year, will also be at the Dockyard. The Irving Shipbuilding Children’s Entertainment Zone, featuring inflatables and other kids’ activities, will be located at the south end of the site just past HMCS Scotian.
Other attractions the kids won’t want to miss include face painting, carnival games, the many mechanical midway rides with free admission, the Harbour Hopper, and two different train rides, one offered by Giant Tiger at Jetty NC, and the other by Via Rail Canada at Jetty NB. Young military enthusiasts can also get on board a Halifax-class Frigate or a Maritime Coastal Defence Vessel as part of open ship tours, go on a RHIB ride in the harbour, step inside the cockpit of the new CH-148 Cyclone Helicopter, and learn about Army equipment with static displays from 5 Cdn Div.
Family Days isn’t only for kids, however. Parents are encouraged to check out all the sponsor booths, which include helpful home heating and energy tips from Bluewave Energy and Nova Scotia Power, fun simulators from Ok Tire and Dexter Construction, and plenty more. There will be live music over the lunch hour on both days, and the prize draws, beginning at 2 p.m., also offer something for all ages.
Guests are encouraged to check out the booths and attractions through the entire length of the Dockyard site, as there’s plenty to see and do at both ends, and special prize draws that can only be entered by visiting specific booths.
Of course, Family Days wouldn’t be possible each year without the generous support of all the sponsors. Along with Presenting Sponsor Sobeys and Platinum Plus Sponsor Irving Shipbuilding, the nearly endless list of Family Days supporters includes companies like BMO, Ambassatours, Xerox, Tim Hortons, WestJet, Avis Budget Group, CANEX and SISIP, The Personal, Lord Nelson Hotel and Suites, Manulife, Steele Auto, Glow The Event Store, Via Rail Canada, CBC, Bluewave Energy, MacFarlands Events, Casino Nova Scotia, Pepsi, Logistik, Dexter Construction, Molson Coors, OK Tire, and many more, along with government partners including the Province of Nova Scotia, Veterans Affairs Canada, and Parks Canada.
Tips and scheduling advice for DND Family Days
- Dates & Times: Friday, June 22 (11:30 a.m.-6 p.m.) and Saturday, June 23, (10 a.m.-5 p.m.) Location: HMC Dockyard (Entrance through HMCS Scotian Gate only).
- Access to the interior of HMCS Scotian will be off limits this year, with MOG5, located along Jetty NC, housing the new Family Days VIP area.
- Visit the Murphy’s tent early for Harbour Hopper tickets, which will be in limited supply. Runs begin at 11:30 a.m. on Friday only.
- Prize draws begin at 2 p.m. each day in the PSP Entertainment Tent.
- Bring a photo ID (DND ID, Military Family ID or your CFOne card) for entrance to the site through HMCS Scotian, and expect bag checks.
- While inflatables, rides and plenty of other activities will be free, there will be a charge for barbecue tickets and carnival games.
- No pets are allowed on the Family Days site.
- Weather in June can be unpredictable; wear layers in case of cold temperatures, but sunscreen is also recommended.