Festivals & Events

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The holidays are almost here, and with them come a variety of meals and events to plan and prepare for. However, before the busyness of the season sets in, take some to relax and enjoy some of your favorite fall and winter activities. Whether you are a foodie or a sports fanatic, there are plenty of November 2014 things do to in Vancouver, BC.

Relax with Hockey and Delicious Food

Creative Commons Licensed by Mr. Leung

Creative Commons Licensed by Mr. Leung

It would not be fall without hockey! This season, hockey fans are in for a special treat, as Rogers Hometown Hockey will be traveling though out the Canada to bring hockey-related festivities to 25 communities. Now that it is almost a month into the season, the tour will be stopping to the east of Vancouver in Burnaby on November 8-9. The weekend will kick off on Saturday with meet and greets with hockey celebrities, games and activities, a winter market full of local food, and other entertainment. The weekend’s festivities culminate on Sunday with a half-hour pre-game show hosted by Ron MacLean, co-host of CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada, followed by an outdoor viewing party of the game. This is an event hockey lovers won’t want to miss.

Everything is Better with Chocolate

Creative Commons Licensed by David Leggett

Creative Commons Licensed by David Leggett

One of the most popular treats during the holidays (and probably the most popular treat in general), so why not indulge a little more this year by attending an entire event dedicated to this delightful confection? The Festival of Chocolate runs from October 15–November 10 so you can learn what makes each kind of chocolate different, discover how to cook with chocolate (you can pick up some tasty recipes) and of course plenty of chocolate to sample. If that isn’t enough chocolate for you, there are a number of chocolate shops and cafes where you can pair your snack with coffee, tea or even wine.

Speaking of sweet sounding events, Candytown kicks off the beginning of the holiday season on November 22. This outdoor festival transforms Yaletown into a Christmas town, filled with lampposts decorated as candy canes, costumed characters such as elves, gingerbread people, the Ice Queen and Santa, and hundreds of sparkling lights. Visitors can go on free horse carriage rides, learn how to carve and see candy being made at Frankie’s. The festival also features a winter market, where shoppers can stock up on gifts and holiday treats. With so many things to see and do, it is unfortunate that this festival just lasts one day. Luckily, come December, there will be a whole slew of holiday activities to enjoy, from tree lightings to holiday shows, so stay tuned to add them to your calendar.

More November 2014 Things to Do in Vancouver, BC

November 2014 Things to do in Portland

Portland in the fall/ Courtesy of Lance Brown

We’ve reached that time of year where feasts, festivals, events and activities abound. While all these celebrations are a great note to end the year on and make the holidays more festive, they do require some preparation. Since it is never too soon to start planning, we have combined our resources to provide you with some of the most interesting and exciting November 2014 things to do in Portland so you can create a fun-filled holiday season be before it even begins.

Enjoy November Foods and Feasts

November has long been known as the month of the plentiful harvest. Therefore, why not enjoy the fruits (literally) of Mother Nature’s labor and attend a food, beer or wine festival, or two in preparation of the big feast on Thanksgiving day. Epicureans will particularly enjoy the Nortwest Food & Wine Festival, where they can attend classes, participate in contests and purchase food to take home with them. With over 600 wines and gourmet food from 50 restaurants, even the most discerning eaters are sure to have something to enjoy.

You can wet your whistle at BelgianFest, with at least 20 different Belgian-style beers produced by Oregon breweries. If you prefer grapes to wheat, both Columbia Gorge wineries and Willamette Valley wineries are having special open house events over Thanksgiving weekend. This will be a great opportunity to sample of new wines or revisit old favorites while resupplying your wine cellar for the rest of the holiday months.

Appreciate Artists from Around the Northwest

One of the great things about the Pacific Northwest is that it is home to many talented artists. This month, there are a couple festivals that allow you to celebrate and enjoy whichever medium(s), you prefer. Early November launches the Northwest Filmmakers Festival, where over 400 entries from filmmakers in Alaska, British Columbia, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington are gathered to showcase the best films in the area. During the festival there are several parties and workshops where filmmakers have the chance to network and share industry insights.

A little later in the month, the rest of the visual artist community, such as painters, sculptors, photographers and even writers get their time to shine at the Wild Arts Festival . About 70 artists and 35 authors will be in attendance at the festival, showing off their art and books that have been created or inspired by nature. This a great opportunity to get a head start on your holiday shopping as there are many unique crafts that you are unlikely to find anywhere else, which will make great gifts for anyone to whom you want to give a little a piece of the Northwest. If you are in need of more gift ideas, make sure to stop by the Portland Holiday Food & Gift Festival, which features 300 exhibitors selling festive gifts, art, clothing, toys and food.

Celebrate the Joy of the Holiday Season

The holiday season is nearly in full swing, and there are a number of events and activities to participate in as you celebrate. Take your friends and family to the Turkey Trot at the Zoo on Thanksgiving day to participate in a four mile family fun run to ensure that you all work up an appetite for dinner. Besides being Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving marks the first day of Christmas and winter festivities, so take a break from your shopping to enjoy the Macy’s Holiday Parade downtown or lightings throughout the city. Of course, this is just the beginning of a variety of holiday happenings, so be sure to check back in for tips on where you can see amazing light displays, catch a production of the Christmas Carol or Nutcracker and more!

More November 2014 Things to Do in Portland

November 2014 Things to Do in Victoria

The Empress Hotel at Night, Creative Commons Licensed by Brandon Godfrey

This time of year there is a good chance that you are looking for things to do indoors and out of the rain and wind. Tantalize your taste buds at artisan food and beverage festivals or support the arts by going to a concert or a play at the theater. There are also a couple of opportunities to get a head start on your holiday shopping at either the 26th Annual Out of Hand Craft Fair or at the 16th Annual Downtown Victoria Gallery Walk. As long as you are beginning your holiday preparations, you may also want to scheduling Christmastime activities as many begin in November.

Explore Victoria’s Art and Culinary Scene

The fall months are known for celebrating and producing extraordinary food and beer, so make sure to take full advantage of them. At Winterbrau, you can taste handcrafted winter beers from over 15 local breweries and sample snacks from Canoe Brewpub’s kitchen. The best part about this event is that you can get unlimited food and beverage samples, so bring your appetite!

If you are literary minded, there are several opportunities for you to connect with fellow writers and bookaholics this month. Stop by the Victoria Writers Festival to can attend readings, workshops and perhaps find some new books to curl up with during the winter months. Likewise, there is the Victoria Comic Book Expo, which has thousands of comic books to buy, sell or trade.

Light up the Town in Preparation for the Holiday Season

The end of November also brings the beginning of the holiday season. As a result, expect to see a smattering of festive things do to in Victoria. Kick off your holiday activities off by attending the Festival of the Trees held at The Fairmont Empress Hotel. This highly anticipated event fills the hotel with tons of trees that have been beautifully decorated by local businesses and organizations. If you visit during the opening decorating gala, you will find Santa, elves and other helpers trimming the trees and playing music. Admission is free, but with a minimum $2 donation (proceeds go to the BC Children’s Hospital) you can vote for your favorite trees, and the winners will be announced at the end of the season.

Later in the month you can also help get the rest of the country in the holiday spirit, at the annual Christmas Lights Across Canada event. According to the Official Website of Ottawa Tourism , “the program was launched in 1985 as a way to liven up the darkest of winter days.” The event reaches from coast to coast, lighting up the Capital of Canada in Ottawa, and extending to all of the provincial and territorial capitals around the country. The Victoria branch of the celebration features the lighting of a large Sequioa tree on the lawn of the Parliament buildings, special guests, Christmas carols and hot chocolate and cookies for everyone. Of course, these events are just the beginning of all of the festive activities taking place this year. Make sure to check back soon for more things to do during the winter holidays in Victoria.

More November Things to Do in Victoria

November 2014 Things to Do in Seattle

Seattle in the fall, Creative Commons Licensed by Wonderlane

Although many of us in Seattle haven’t even consumed all of our Halloween candy for the year yet, there are already more opportunities for feasting looming on the horizon. Most notably, is Thanksgiving, which involves a ton of food as well as friends and family. Of course, all that celebrating is followed by the biggest shopping day of the year, Black Friday, which falls on November 28th this year. As usual, there will be a ton of great sales and deals all over the Seattle area. As such, this is a great chance for organized shoppers to complete all of their holiday gift buying in one fell swoop. The December holidays will be here before we know it, so stay tuned for information about festive events and adventures happening in the greater Seattle area to get a jump start on planning.

Relax with Sumptuous Food and Outdoor Activities

Besides spending time with loved ones, many people enjoy indulging in some football over Thanksgiving weekend. This year is a great opportunity to do so, as the Seattle Seahawks take on one of their biggest rivals, the San Francisco 49ers, on Thanksgiving evening. This is sure to be an electrifying game, so have plenty of goodies on hand for hungry fans. To make sure there is plenty of food around for Thanksgiving weekend, and for the rest of the holidays, stop by the Christmas in Seattle Gift & Gourmet Food Show. With over 400 exhibits and a culinary program featuring local chefs, there will be tons of tasty treats to sample and purchase. This is also a great opportunity to get a jump start on holiday shopping, as there are plenty of gifts available.

If folks feel as though they need a way, besides shopping, to burn off additional Thanksgiving calories there are several outdoor activities to partake in. Take advantage of Free Park Day, where entry to national parks like Mount Rainier and Olympic National Park is free for the day. Yes, the weather will be cooler, but the colder temperatures make the outdoors look even more magical, creating sparkling frozen lakes and waterfalls. Likewise, there is the Seattle Marathon and Half Marathon, which is in its 42nd year and is one of the top ten largest combined marathons in the U.S.

Let the Holiday Magic Begin with Plays and Parades

Once the shopping rush of Black Friday has passed, all of the area’s holiday events are officially in full swing. In fact, the Macy’s Holiday Parade kicks off amid the shopping on the morning of November 28th at Westlake Mall, and bargain hunters who stick around after they’ve shopped-till-they-dropped will get to experience the Macy’s Star Lighting as well. Meanwhile, shoppers on the East-side can enjoy nightly performances of Snowflake Lane, featuring dancing, music and, of course, snow! Whichever event (or events!) visitors choose to partake in, they will find plenty of cheer throughout the season.

More November Things to Do in Seattle

The arrival of fall provides the opportunity to explore a variety of the things that have made Portland a current hot-spot – coffee, beer, spirits and music. Along with all of the October things to do in Portland, Halloween is also a great time to celebrate Portland’s individuality. Let your creativity run wild, create a fabulous costume and then go out and join one of the many Halloween-related events happening around the city.

Sip and Savor Fall’s Best Flavors

A sampling of Portland beers. Credit: Jonathan-Brusco

A sampling of Portland beers. Credit: Jonathan-Brusco

You can get your drink on in a variety ways at three different festivals this October. Sample some of Portland’s finest spirits at the Great American Distillers Festival with over 40 different craft distillers or check out the craft beer events taking place during Killer Beer Week. One of the highlights of this exploration of local beers is the Pumpkin Beer Festival on October 18th, where the will be over 25 pumpkin flavored beers and cocktails to taste to help get you in the fall spirit! Portland is quickly becoming one of the coffee capitals in the country, don’t miss out on the chance to tour local coffee shops during Caffeine Crawl Portland and learn more about everyone’s favorite beans.

There are also plenty of occasions to explore Portland’s fabulous art’s scene this October. Stop by the Hood River Valley Harvest Fest to enjoy even more fall fare, as well as arts, crafts and music. Speaking of music, if you enjoy jazz, blues, rock, soul, folk, funk or punk, pay a visit to the Reel Music Festival. This event has been running for 32 years and combines a variety of art forms to create a series of films with a music theme.

Revel in the Magic of Halloween all Month Long with Regattas and Dances

Giant Warty Pumping. Creative Commons Licensed by Vasenka Photography

Giant Warty Pumping. Creative Commons Licensed by Vasenka Photography

If visiting just one haunted house doesn’t give you enough of a scare, trying exploring FrightTown. This “town” has three very different haunted houses, “The Witch House,” “The Madness” and “Barom Von Goolo’s Museum of Horrors,” making it a pretty sure bet that at least one them will give you the chills. You can also run (and paddle!) for just the fun of it at the West Coast Giant Pumpkin Regatta, which features a 5k run and a race across the lake in giant pumpkins. Finally, don’t forget to get dressed up in the best costume you can think of on the big day itself and dance the night away at the Halloween Bash Vintage Hot Jazz & Costume Soiree.

More October 2014 Things to Do in Portland

Fall is finally here, and with it are many entertaining October things to do in Vancouver. Explore some of the scenery in Stanley Park, pick and carve some pumpkins and enjoy seasonal food and drink at many of the festivals happening around town. Winter will be soon be upon us, so take advantage of these last few weeks of good weather and engage in some fun fall activities before the cold sets in.

Halloween Hauntings and Spooky Soirees

October 2014 Things to do in Vancouver, BC

Haunted Vancouver Trolley, credit Rachel Patterson

Halloween is only a few short weeks away, and you’ll want to make sure you are sufficiently outfitted with the best costume and ghostly gear imaginable before the big day arrives. Luckily, you can find all these supplies and more at the Halloween Expo, which also has appearances from celebrity guests, performances, games and, of course, makeup and costumes. If you haven’t gotten inspiration for a costume from all of the displays, make sure to check out the Halloween parade on the last day of the expo, as hundreds of cosplayers will be walking through town dressed up in variety of different costumes.

Prepared to be scared? Take a ride on the spooky side with the Haunted Halloween Trolley Tour, where you will hear ghost stories, stop at the creepy Mountain View Cemetery and pay a visit to the autopsy room of the Vancouver Police Department. For even more thrills, explore the seven haunted houses, 13 rides and other shows and attractions at the PNE’s Fright Nights.

Experience Fall’s Finest Flavors with Crisp Apples and Beer

Creative Commons Licensed by Anna from Grassau, Deutschland

Creative Commons Licensed by Anna from Grassau, Deutschland

In addition to Halloween festivities, there are plenty of other October things to do in Vancouver, BC to get you into the fall spirit. October is BC Craft Beer Month, and there is no better way to celebrate local beers than by stopping by the BC Beer Awards and Festival and sampling a few different brews. If trying out all that beer causes you to work up an appetite, pay a visit to the UBC Apple Festival to taste another sweet treat – apples! Not only will you get to try out 60 varieties or apples as well as other apple-based foods and beverages, but you will also have the opportunity to learn more about this delicious fruit and even purchase some to take home with you. Last, but not least, your festival going won’t be complete with celebrating the wonderful town in Vancouver that houses a variety of fun events throughout the year. The Downtown Eastside Heart of the City Festival features over 80 different events, including music, theatre, film, comedy, history walks so you are sure to find something you enjoy.

More October Things to Do in Vancouver, BC

The past few months have made up one of the most beautiful summers in recent Seattle history. Besides providing additional weeks of sunshine and outdoor enjoyment, one of the best things about this perfect summer is that is turning into an even more glorious fall. Make sure to include taking in the colors of the changing leaves in UW Botanical Gardens, seeing fish jump at the Ballard Locks, engaging in Halloween festivities or spending the night out on the town enjoying local arts and food on your short list of October things to do in Seattle. You are sure to delight your senses where ever your journey may take you.

Treat Yourself with Fall Food and Culture

Leavenworth in the fall.

Leavenworth in the fall

Seattle is renowned for its fantastic art and culinary scene, and there are several opportunities this month to experience both. Listen to some sweet tunes at the Seattle Earshot Jazz Festival, which features more than 50 concerts by local and international jazz artists. The cooler weather also makes October a good time to stay inside and curl up with a good book. Stop by the Lit Crawl Seattle to relax and let over 65 local authors read their works to you, you are sure find a book or two that you will want to add to your collection.

Top off a day or an evening spent appreciating the arts with a delicious meal. During Seattle Restaurant Week, you can indulge in a three-course dinner at 170 popular restaurants in the greater Seattle area. The reduced prices offered on the special meals during this event make it a great opportunity to experience new restaurants or visit an old favorite.

If you are feeling adventurous, travel over to Leavenworth (there are great opportunities to view fall foliage along the way) for Oktoberfest. People travel from all over to attend this event that celebrates German culture and heritage; you can expect great beer, tasty food, live music and fun!

Celebrate Halloween with Spooky Haunts and Festivities

Creative Commons Licensed by Elizabeth from Lansing, MI

Creative Commons Licensed by Elizabeth from Lansing, MI

Looking for a good scare? Visit the KUBE 93 FM Haunted House if you dare, as it certainly isn’t for the faint of heart. If you want to be shaking from music besides just fear, be sure to check out either FreakNight or the Fashionably Undead Bash: Beware of the Woods, which combine dancing with a number of scary attractions. Don’t forget that Halloween isn’t just a celebration for people, it can be a fun day for animals too! Stop by the Woodland Park Zoo and watch a variety of animals as they play with pumpkins during Pumpkin Bash.

More October Things to do in Seattle

While the long, sunny days of summer are wonderful, it’s hard not to welcome the changing of seasons as we head in to the autumn months. After all, what’s not to love about fall? The days are still mostly sunny and bright, there is a crispness in the air and nearly everywhere you look the once bright green leaves on the trees are transforming to beautiful yellows, oranges and reds. Take advantage of this beautiful season while you can, and check out a few of these October things to do in Victoria.

Experience the Beauty of Fall in The Butchart Gardens

October 2014 Things to Do in Victoria

Fall Colors Greet Visitors to the Sunken Garden Courtesy of The Butchart Gardens

One of the best ways to experience Victoria’s fall foliage is by taking a day trip to The Butchart Gardens. This may come as a surprise to some, as you may expect the spring and summer months to be the best time to visit the gardens since that is when most of the flowers are in bloom. However, seeing the variety of leaves changing colors combined with the sunflowers, dahlias and chrysanthemums that are still blooming is absolutely magnificent.

Scare Yourself on a Tour of Haunted Victoria or Haunted Zipline

Haunted Victoria Tour

Haunted Victoria Tour

Of course, you can’t make it through October without partaking in a little ghoulish activity. Luckily, there are no shortage of things to do in Victoria to help you get into the Halloween spirit. Embark on a weekend filled with goblins, ghosts and all things scary on the Haunted Victoria Tour. You can tour Victoria’s old buildings and alleys by day and travel on a narrated ghost tour by night to hear spooky stories about some of the town’s more famous citizens. If you’re seeking even more thrills, check out the haunted houses, haunted cornfield and crazy train ride at the Festival of Fear, or go on a zipline ride with AdrenaLINE Zipline Adventure Tours.

Go Pumpkin Picking

Pumpkins Creative Commons Licensed by Harald Bischoff

Pumpkins Creative Commons Licensed by Harald Bischoff

If you don’t like being scared, there are still a plenty of fun Halloween-related activities you can participate in around town. Pick out a pumpkin to decorate at a local farm or patch. Better yet, Galey Farms also hosts Pumpkinfest, where you can go on a hay or train ride, journey through a corn maze, check out seasonal displays and spook your little ones just a bit in the children’s haunted house. Finally, you can end this month of spooky events with a bang and watch fireworks light up the night sky at Bear Mountain’s Halloween Spooktacular.

More October Things to do in Victoria

3D Chalk Art at the Victoria Chalk Art Festival Photo Creative Commons Licensed by Blake Handley

3D Chalk Art at the Victoria Chalk Art Festival Photo Creative Commons Licensed by Blake Handley

In mid-September, street artists take over Victoria, BC creating amazing pieces of chalk art throughout the city. This year the festival has expanded to Royal BC Museum and taking over most of Government Street. Chalk artists will be all over Victoria September 13-14 for you to observe as they create street art. The free festival also features food vendors and more.

Street painting has a rich history beginning in Great Britain in the 1800s. These “screevers” created pavement art that would often feature political commentary. In Italy, street artists are called “madonnari” because they often created images of St. Mary (the Madonna). Italian street artists often traveled from city to city between festivals, creating street art wherever they traveled. El Greco got his start as a street artist.

Several centuries later, chalk artists continue to paint sidewalks throughout the world including 3D pieces.

For more information on the festival, visit http://www.victoriachalkfestival.com/

More information on the history of Street art:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Street_painting

https://kurtwenner.com/images/PDFs/History_of_street_painting_Final.pdf

Victoria Chalk Art Festival 2013 Photo Creative Commons Licensed by Blake Handley

Victoria Chalk Art Festival 2013 Photo Creative Commons Licensed by Blake Handley

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Shot from the Great Canadian Beer Festival.
Credit: Dustan Sept

September in the Pacific Northwest welcomes a variety of events to help you forget the end of summer. Treat yourself to a trip to “Germany” in both Seattle and Portland at Fremont Oktoberfest (September 19-21) and Widmer Oktoberfest (September 13). Both festivals boast a shocking amount of beers to try and kick off the Fall season. Victoria will also be celebrating September with beer: the Great Canadian Beer Festival will take place on September 5th. There will be local entertainment and beer from over 40 breweries across Canada. In Seattle this month, savor the last bit of summer with the Washington State Fair (September 5-21). Don’t miss the summer concerts, rodeo, and especially the wide variety of deep fried foods. The Vancouver International Film Festival will take place September. Go see award-winning films from Cannes film festival this September 25th through October 5th. Finally, make your way to the “best food festival in the country,” Feast Portland (September 18-21).

 

Seattle

 

Victoria

 

Vancouver

 

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