A Season of Cheer: BC’s Spring Festivals

Posted Monday, February 29, 2016

Kootenay Rockies, Thompson Okanagan, Vancouver Island, Vancouver, Coast & Mountains, Kelowna, Whistler, Culture & Entertainment, Food & Wine, Parks & Wildlife

Few offerings quicken the pulse more than boisterous celebration, particularly those set to welcome the first signs of spring. Here follows a few seasonal fests, great and small.

Birds of a feather flock together May 9 – 15 during the Wings Over the Rockies Festival in the Columbia Valley Wetlands, near Invermere. This Kootenay Rockies celebration marks the annual spring bird migration to one of the few remaining, intact portions of the Pacific Flyway — an area that is critical to the yearly influx of thousands of waterfowl and neo-tropic birds. The week-long fest showcases more than 100 scheduled events and activities, including interpretive walks with Columbia Wetland Adventure, Columbia River paddles with BC Rockies Adventure Guides and more. Enthusiasts can take it a step further and brush up on the basics with Birding for Dummies, expand their winged horizons while learning about the History of Migration or capture the moment during Birds & Photography outings. wingsovertherockies.org

For many, celebration can be as simple as raising a glass — an act best put into practice during Kelowna’s Great Okanagan Beer Festival. Set in BC’s flourishing wine country, this May 12 – 14 event pairs brews with lakeside views, a killer combination that showcases 40 of Western Canada’s top brewers for three days of fabulous pours. Beer and brewing seminars, alongside a rousing concert series, will draw fans of the froth, while the main event, set for May 14, will host an estimated 3,000 enthusiasts as they raise their glasses to cheer the divine unity of water, hops, yeast and malt. gibbonswhistler.com/festivals-events/great-okanagan-beer-festival

In Whistler, exploration in Mother Nature’s backyard is second nature — so much so, that the four-season mountain town boasts a festival to celebrate that very fact. Go Fest: Whistler’s Great Outdoors Festival showcases four solid days of events and activities aimed to embrace all things al fresco, May 20 - 23. On the roster: outdoor enthusiasts can join in the pack during group running and biking socials, work their core during stand-up paddle boarding (SUP), shine their lines during fly-fishing tutorials, paint the peaks during Picasso Portrait Parties and more. As a bonus, fans of live music can kick up their heels at an array of musical performances, all set to take centre stage in the mountain town’s Village Square. greatoutdoorsfest.com

On Vancouver Island, food and wine pairings are nothing short of fantastic during the aptly named Tofino Food and Wine Festival. Slated for June 3 – 5, this gathering of gourmands is a veritable showcase of local food and drink, with stellar events that include the Long Beach Lodge Patio Party (the view!), alongside a Cocktail Show and a Sunset BBQ, both at Schooner Restaurant. During the three-day fest, excitement builds towards the main event, Grazing in the Gardens, a sample-friendly event that mixes nibbles from local chefs with award-winning sips of reds and whites at the Tofino Botanical Gardens. It’s bound to be a boisterous time, one best topped with a Morning After Bubbles and Brunch at Jamie’s Rainforest Inn. tofinofoodandwinefestival.com


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