Three glorious summer days out of the office. If you’re not already heading for the lake cabin, the trailhead or the marina, it’s not too late to formulate a plan. While B.C. Day isn’t as much of a dedicated celebration as our national holiday, it’s not to say that there aren’t festivals and events being celebrated. We’ve assembled 15 Metro Vancouver events that are on our radar for the long weekend. Personally, I’m counted among those heading out of town, so you’ll have to tweet me and let me know what I’m missing out on!
Where: most activities focus around East Beach and the White Rock pier.
When: July 31 – August 2
About: the festival kicks off Friday evening with Fresh Air Cinema in Semiahoo Park. Saturday’s schedule starts with morning yoga, followed by a children’s parade. Exhibitors and artisans will ___ the Promenade from 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. Mouths will water at 11 a.m.for the SFN Salmon BBQ, and the afternoon will get competitive with a sandcastle contest and beach golf. A 9 p.m. lantern walk and 10 p.m. fireworks display will wrap up the day. Sunday will see a myriad of water activities: Sundog SUP Classic, skim boarding and paddle board demos. On shore there’s zumba, kid’s sand soccer and an 11 a.m. SFN Salmon BBQ. The festival will close with its signature Torchlight Parade. Floats adorned with twinkling lights will wind through White Rock’s streets at twilight.
Where: Fort Langley National Historic Site (23433 Mavis Ave, Langley, V1M 2R5)
When: August 1 – 4, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
About: Have you ever imagined being born in a different decade? How about a different century? Brigade Days in Langley celebrates the trials and tribulations of early 19th century British Columbian settlers. Visitors will find costumed interpreters – dressed as HBC workers, Aboriginal traders and trappers – reenacting the pioneer way of life. Highlights of the weekend include a pig roast (Aug. 2), 1800s recipe cook-off (Aug. 3) and of course, the Brigade’s signature event: The Arrival of the Fur Brigades (Aug. 4). Brigade Days will conclude with the BC Day Caribbean Festival and Concert on Aug. 4 from 5:30 pm. – 8:30 pm.
Where: Oppenheimer Park, Firehall Arts Centre, Vancouver Japanese Language School, Vancouver Buddhist Temple & Centre A
When: August 1 & 2; 11:30 a.m. –7 p.m.
About: The Powell Street Festival is a longstanding celebration of Japanese Canadian arts, culture and heritage. (Powell Street is Vancouver’s historic Japanese Canadian neighborhood.) An opening ceremony kicks off the Saturday schedule, followed by dancing, cultural demonstrations, storytelling, origami, ceremonies and games. The day wraps at 6:30 p.m. with Souldaiko, a one-of-a-kind drum and dance performance. Sunday features a comparable schedule, with a visit from David Suzuki, Powell Street historical walking tours, tea services, and live music in the late afternoon.
About: SHOREFEST will feature vendors and live music, kicking off at 2 p.m. It’s expected to be B.C.’s biggest beach party, with organizers anticipating one million visitors. The Sunset Beach Stage will see performances by Paul Pigat, Wes Mackey, Chin Injeti, Colleen Rennison and Daniel Wesley. The English Bay Stage will host Kuba Oms and Canadian rockers, Chilliwack. At 8 p.m. avert your eyes to sky. “Skydancer” Anna Serbinenko will be making her arrival to the party an aerial one. The evening will wrap up with the Honda Celebration of Lights fireworks display at 10:00 p.m.
About: This year marks the 25th anniversary of the event, making it the longest running offshore fireworks competition. Vancouver saw China compete on July 25 and Brazil on July 29. Saturday night, the Celebration of Light’s final display, belongs to Canada. Those not interested in staking out a spot hours in advance, can now purchase tickets in designated reserved seating areas. If you’re not at the beach, don’t forget to tune in to 104.3 FM to listen along with the fireworks simulcast.
Where: Loggers Sports Grounds (39555 Loggers Ln), Brennan Park and various downtown venues
When: July 30- August 3; various times – see link for schedule
About: Celebrate Squamish’s rich heritage and vibrant community spirit. Over the five day festival, there will be competitive logger sports shows, a 10 kilometre run, a pancake breakfast, parade, barbecues, picnics, BINGO, axe throwing and a downtown street party. The festival concludes on August 3rd with an afternoon Picnic at the Pavillion. Bring a blanket or chairs and enjoy the live performances of Overcomers, The Will Ross Band and Dentville.
Where: Exhibition Park (32470 Haida Drive, Abbotsford)
When: July 31 – August 3; Friday through Sunday 10 a.m. – 10 p.m, Monday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
About: The Abbotsford Agrifair wants you know, it’s more than you think. While perennial classics such as the Mighty Fraser Rodeo and competitive lumberjack shows are still the fair’s cornerstone, there’s a host of the unexpected. Share some laughs at the expense of the ducks and pigs racing for barnyard fame, and tap your toe along with the singers competing in the Valley Voices Vocal Competition. Cheer on the little legs of the Alberta Miniature Chuckwagon Rac or the carnage at the demolition derby . There will be a vendor village, agricultural displays, 4-H livestock shows and competitions, in addition to draft horse demonstrations and fair rides.
Where: West Vancouver’s Argyle Avenue waterfront, from 14 th – 16th Street. Venues include: John Lawson Park, Millennium Park, the Music Box and the Ferry Building Gallery.
When: July 31 – August 9; varying schedule
About: 130,000 visitors are expected to attend Harmony Arts Festival, now in its 25thyear. Diverse programming will see visual arts exhibitions, live music performances, outdoor concerts, food vendors, drop in art activities for kids, and an evening cinema series. (We’re excited for Casablanca)
Where: Starts at Thurlow & Robson Street, travels west to Denman, south to Pacific and ends at Jervis & Beach Ave.
When: Sunday, August 2; noon – 3 p.m.
About: 650,000 people are expected to turn out for this wildly fun celebration of diversity. This year’s theme is Gender Superheroes, encouraging reflection on those who inspired you to be Proud. This year’s Pride Marshals are Roan Reimer, Michelle Fortin and Romi Chandra Herbert. Parade attendees are reminded to kindly refrain from spraying water (costumes and sound equipment are pricey!), and plan to take transit to and from the event. Make your way to the Sunset Beach beer garden and to toast to Pride!
About: This community driven event is a family friendly festival, supporting the arts in Point Roberts. There will be live music, performances, an artisan marketplace, silent auction, raffle and plenty of food vendors. This year’s theme is Blast from the Past and admission is free.
About: Wanderlust Festivals are held around the world, billed as transformational retreats. Focusing on mindful living, Wanderlust-ers participate in group yoga, listen in on the Speakeasy lecture series (topics such as health and social enterprise), take guided hikes and meditate in the woods, nosh on gourmet meals prepared by top chefs, and dance to talented deejays under a sky of stars. It’s all around good vibes.
Bulleit Bourbon Canadian National BBQ Championships
About: Perhaps you weren’t aware, but the Pacific Northwest has a mighty competitive BBQ circuit. (Admittedly, we’re more of the final-product-consumer than competitive type.) Luckily for us, this year’s national championships take place in Whistler, and it’s truly going to be a celebration of tangy meat and lively music. Dusty’s Bar and BBQ will host the Barnburner Concert Series, providing live music each evening, offer family entertainment during the day, serve up barbecue samples and set menu BBQ dinners. The competition and awards ceremony takes place on Saturday, and there’s a buffet and pancake breakfast fundraiser in the mix as well. See link for entire schedule of events.
Where: Along the Seawall from Cambie Bridge to Olympic Village (215 W. 1st Street)
When: Sunday, August 2, noon-5 p.m.
About: Food cart crawl? Sign us up! The Food Cart Fest runs throughout the summer, taking place each Sunday. There are over 30 vendors for you to debate how to spend your caloric intake. We can feel the anxiety food FOMO (fear of missing out) aready. Our recommendation: go with friends and sample as many dishes as possible. Among the food carts are market vendors, a kid’s area, a summer patio and ping pong tables. Live music and deejays will be keeping it festive.