Festivals & Events

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Photo Creative Commons Licensed by Rick Phillips

Photo Creative Commons Licensed by Rick Phillips

March is the time of year when most people are ready for the snow to melt and the sun to come out. Hopefully we’ll be lucky enough to receive some early spring sunshine in the Pacific Northwest and there are plenty of fun activities this month (indoor and outdoor) in Victoria, Seattle, Vancouver and Portland. Whether you’re looking for live music, art, food and wine events, theater or comic book conventions, March has a little bit of everything!

Victoria: There’s still a little time to catch Dine Around Victoria where participating restaurants offer 3 course meals for $20, $30, $40 or $50 per person. Also, Pacific Baroque Festival is celebrating the music of J.S. Bach with several notable performers who specialize in the Baroque period.

Seattle: If you’re interested in seeing a musical, celebrating St. Patrick’s Day or dressing up for Comicon– Seattle has a little bit of everything in March. Food and wine enthusiasts will enjoy Taste Washington showcasing Washington food and wine and if you’re interested in art you’ll enjoy SAM’s Miro exhibit.

SBS 9Visit Seattle to go to the West Coast’s largest boat show! The Seattle Boat Show features more than 1,000 recreational watercraft displayed in the CenturyLink Field Events Center and on Lake Union with a shuttle to take you between locations. Also, don’t miss seminars, accessories and more. Events cover the Great Bear Rainforest, how to buy a boat for first time buyers, and presentations on varnish, weather, electronics. Topics also include saltwater fishing, self steering, salmon fishing and planning a cruise to Desolation Sound and the Discovery Islands.

Visit http://www.seattleboatshow.com/home.html for a complete list of events and vendors.

Information on the Seattle Boat Show:


CenturyLink Field
Monday-Thursday 11-8
Friday 11-10
Saturday 10-8
Sunday 10-6

Chandler’s Cove, South Lake Union
Weekdays 11-5
Saturday and Sunday 10-15

Clipper Vacations Seattle Boat Show Packages include transportation to Seattle, admission to the Seattle Boat Show and accommodations in a downtown Seattle hotel.

Two night packages from Victoria start at $205 pp/do
One night packages from Vancouver start at $150 pp/do
One night packages from Portland start at $136 pp/do

Pacific Northwest Ballet's Stowell/Sendak Nutcracker Photo: Andrea Sterling

Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Stowell/Sendak Nutcracker Photo: Andrea Sterling

Following Black Friday shopping last week, the holiday season is officially in full swing. The holidays are my favorite time of year with lots of fun events in December to celebrate both the holidays and the arrival of a New Year. Everyone has their own traditions from caroling to looking at holiday lights to seeing the Nutcracker. December is also a great time to try a new event or visit a place you’ve never been before. The mild weather in the Pacific Northwest makes it a perfect destination for a holiday getaway and if you are from or traveling to Seattle, Vancouver, Victoria or Portland this December, here’s a round up of events in each city:

Seattle December Events:
Festival of Trees Celebration at the Fairmont Olympic (through December 4)
Gingerbread Village at the Sheraton Seattle Hotel (through January 1)
Argosy Christmas Ship Festival (Through December 23)
Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol at the ACT Theatre (through December 29)
Pacific Northwest Ballet presents Stowell & Sendak Nutcracker (through December 29)

Vancouver December Events:
Winter Farmers Market (Saturdays)
Vancouver Christmas Market (through December 24)
Free ice skating in Robson Square (through February)
Capilano Canyon Lights (through January 4)
Bright Nights at Stanley Park (through January 5)

Victoria December Events:
Festival of Trees at The Fairmont Empress Hotel (through January 7)
5th Annual Canada’s National Gingerbread Showcase (through January 5)
Centennial Square Ferris Wheel (through December 22)
The Butchart Gardens Holiday Lights Tour (through January 5)
Christmas Starlight Cinema free outdoor movies (December 3, 4, 10, 11, 17 & 18)
Sips and Sweets Night at Craigdarroch Castle (December 7)
24th Annual Lighted Ship Parade (December 7)

Portland December Events:
OMSI presents The International Exhibition of Sherlock Holmes (through January 12)
Locally Crafted Christmas at the Pittock Mansion (through January 2)
Winter Wonderland at PIR (through December 16)
Oregon Zoo Zoolights (through January 5)
Christmas Festival of Lights at the Grotto (through December 30)
Holiday Ale Festival (December 4-8)
Christmas Ship Parade (December 6-21)
Oregon Ballet Theatre presents The Nutcracker (December 14-24)
Oregon Symphony and Northwest Community Gospel Choir present Gospel Christmas (December 13-15)
Portland Baroque Orchestra presents Handel’s Messiah (December 13-16)
Portland Cello Project presents Winter Sweater Spectacular (December 20)

Photo by Deddeda Stemler courtesy of Tourism Victoria

Photo by Deddeda Stemler courtesy of Tourism Victoria

With the last leftover Halloween treat consumed, my attention turns to planning what activities we can take in for November through to December.

I am lucky enough to have a bi-national household. I was born in Canada and my husband in the United States, so we get to observe all the holidays!  With the US Thanksgiving fast approaching I have to also keep in mind all the other fun stuff that is happening around us here in Victoria. Read the rest of this entry »

Photo: Lake Union Boats Afloat

Photo: Lake Union Boats Afloat

Seattle boaters take note! The 35th Annual Boats Afloat Show is September 11th to the 15th, the largest floating boat show on the West Coast. Hundreds of boats will be docked and open to tour in South Lake Union, as well as gear, kids’ events, and over a dozen rare and notable boats. Admission is $18 for the opening night VIP experience, $12 a day from the 12th to 15th or $18 for a four day pass. Read the rest of this entry »


Photo: Connor Turner
Creative Commons Licensed via flickr

Once again, Bumbershoot snuck up on me. With summer in full swing, it’s too hard to plan ahead for Labor Day Weekend and the beginning of fall. When the lineup for Seattle Center’s annual music and arts festival was released way back in May I was excited, promising myself I’d get tickets early. Now, only a few days left until the biggest end-of-summer shindig and I’ve only just decided which day to go. All three headliners are incredible but I’m most excited for Saturday to see Grynch, Kendrick Lamar, Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience, and Crystal Castles.

Read the rest of this entry »

Victoria Dragon Boat Festival

Dragon Boat in front of Victoria Clipper
Photo: Victoria Dragon Boat Festival Society

August is one of the months in the Pacific Northwest where you can usually count on nice weather and for those looking to make the most of the end of summer, there are plenty of options to keep you busy until the start of the school year and the return to cooler temperatures.

The Seattle Opera is performing its last cycle of “The Ring” under Speight Jenkins, retiring after 30 years working to make the Seattle Opera a Wagnerian center. In Victoria, the Dragon Boat Festival is a race and festival many enjoy every year. Labor Day weekend has many options this year including Bumbershoot music festival in Seattle, Art in the Pearl in Portland, and is a great weekend to head up to Victoria where you can take in the Vancouver Island Blues Bash and the Victoria Classic Boat Festival. For fans of the outdoors, Whistler has several mountain bike and racing events.

Here is our rundown of Things to Do in August:





San Juan Island:



Bard on the Beach
Photo: Creative Commons Licensed by Irene Kehler

While we all may be familiar with the common coupling of Shakespeare in the Park, Vancouver’s “Bard on the Beach” gives a whole new meaning to this pairing. When traveling around Vancouver in the summer months you cannot miss the spectacular white tents sitting along Vancouver’s beautiful waterfront in Vanier Park. Each tent hosts world class actors preforming some of Shakespeare’s most well-known plays. Read the rest of this entry »

Guest post by Pelindaba Lavender


At Pelindaba Lavender, just outside of Friday Harbor, WA, we host the annual San Juan Island Lavender Festival at our 20 acre organic lavender farm.  For the past 10 years we have spent two days each summer when the lavender fields are at their “peak of purpleness” hosting a party for thousands of our friends from all around the world.

For the lavender connoisseur we have it all.  For those not quite there yet, they usually leave enthusiasts! Tours and exhibits survey the entire process – from field to finished product.  The Gatehouse Farm Store is open for visitors to browse and sample many of the over 250 different lavender products we handcraft.  Workshops and demonstrations cover topics from lavender cultivation, harvesting and essential oil distillation to history and uses as well as cooking with lavender (bring your appetite!).  Kids and adults can make beautiful wands, wreaths, crowns and more at the craft tent.  Visitors can harvest their own bouquets of certified organic lavender from the many varieties in bloom in the Cutting Field, and the Production Fields are open for strolling, relaxing and breathtaking photo ops. Read the rest of this entry »

Rock the Shores Lineup

Rock the Shores Set Times

Guest Post from Rock the Shores

The second annual Rock The Shores is returning to Victoria, BC and will take place over two days, July 13 and 14, 2013, at the Juan De Fuca Recreation Centre’s lower fields. As the largest concert event of the summer on Vancouver Island, Rock The Shores 2013 will host 12 artists over the two-day festival, featuring Weezer, City & Colour, Mother Mother, Sam Roberts Band, Matthew Good, Awolnation, The Sheepdogs, Jimmy Eat World, 5440, Vince Vaccaro, Reignwolf and Acres of Lions.

With the goal of creating a very special setting and experience for this legendary concert, Rock The Shores 2013 will feature expanded food vendors and beverage gardens, a smoking zone and a special VIP area. Get your tickets now and join us for this unforgettable two-day concert experience Saturday, July 13 and Sunday, July 14!

For visitors from Seattle, two night packages to Victoria can be purchased at clippervacations.com and start at $211 including transportation on the Victoria Clipper, two nights hotel and all taxes (however, this does not include Rock the Shores admission). For complete ticket information, discount information for Clipper packages, maps, travel information and more, please visit www.rocktheshores.com.

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