BC Adventures – Our To Do Picks for July 23 – 29

This week in BC: Get a taste of the tropics, eat curry and party like it's 1499

Credit: TV Week

Don’t miss the three week-long Queer Arts Festival July 26 to August 13

What to do in BC this week

Make a Splash at the Nanaimo Marine Festival – July 21-24
Rub-a-dub-dub. There’ll be way more than just three men in a tub at the Nanaimo Marine Festival from July 21 to 24. This splashy summertime celebration at Nanaimo Harbour delivers oceans of fun with live entertainment, street fair, parade, fireworks and, of course, a legendary bathtub race. Started in 1967, the kooky competition has become a B.C. tradition, with high-powered tubs competing in a 48-km race across the Georgia Strait. And if you have an appetite for more than just action, it¹s sure to be satisfied with a variety of food vendors, a pancake breakfast and beer garden. For more details, call 250-753-7223.

Show off Your Stand-up – July 23
Can you juggle? Are you an amazing sketch troupe? Are you the next up-and-coming Robin Williams? If so, you’re invited to show off your star power at The All Humour Show! on July 23 at The Stadium Club in Edgewater Casino (750 Pacific Boulevard South, Vancouver). Hosted by local funnyguy (and TV Week columnist) Patrick Maliha, this local star-search contest gives you a chance to unleash your funniest five minutes on Vancouver crowds. Audience votes will determine a winner, who’ll go home with a $500 cash prize. Register today by sending your name, contact info and a brief description of your act to patrick@turnermusic.com. Otherwise, just swing by at 9 p.m. and enjoy the show!

Experience the Tropical Carribean – July 23-24
The easy, breezy vibe of the Caribbean is hard to duplicate without the help of swaying palm trees, sultry ocean air and rum-soaked calypso rhythms. But the Caribbean Days Festival, taking place on July 23 and 24 at North Vancouver’s Waterfront Park, comes close. This fun fete packs a tropical punch with outdoor musical performances, live dance, an international food fair and a Family Zone. And even if you couldn’t point out Trinidad or Tobago on a map if your life depended on it, everyone’s welcome to get into the groove, starting with a multi-culti street parade on Saturday at 10 a.m. For more information on this Caribbean craze, running from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. call 604-515-2400.

Take the Kids to Kids’ Day – July 24

Everyone knows you have to hush up in the library, but those rules don’t apply at Civic Square, located at the Burnaby Public Library near Metrotown. There, whispers will be replaced by shrieks of laughter as your mini-me’s enjoy Kids’ Day on July 24, part of the free, family-friendly fun that makes up the fourth annual Summer Sundays at Civic Square. An easy choice when planning your weekend activities, it features a weekly lineup of great local entertainment throughout July and August. For more information, call 604-570-4000.

Have a Gay Ol’ Time at the Queer Arts Festival – July 26 – Aug 13 

One thing’s for sure: You’re guaranteed to have a gay ol’ time at the Queer Arts Festival, taking place from July 26 to August 13 at Roundhouse Community Arts & Recreation Centre (181 Roundhouse Mews, Vancouver). This showcase of queer arts, culture and history rolls out three dynamic weeks of cutting-edge performances and workshops from all artistic disciplines, including music, dance, theatre, literary and media arts. One show creating the biggest buzz? Nggrfg — yes, you read that right — a Jessie-nominated play held on July 26 and 27 at the Roundhouse, starting at 7 p.m. Starring Berend McKenzie and directed by the late Canadian theatre legend Denis Simpson, this riotous, one-man tour-de-force prompted Georgia Straight scribe Colin Thomas to declare: “[It] left this crusty old critic in tears.” Tickets are available at Little Sister’s Book and Art Emporium, Rhizome Café, Banshee Clothing and online at brownpapertickets.com

Check out the Squamish Days Loggers Sports Festival – July 28 – 31
If you’re a city that’s bold enough to bill yourself as “the outdoor recreation capital of Canada,” you’d better make sure you can deliver on the claim. And Squamish, a rugged city where ocean meets mountain, definitely does. Located amidst the stunning vistas of Sea-to-Sky country, it’s the perfect backdrop to create memorable adventures. And that’s especially true from July 28 to 31, when the 54th annual Squamish Days Loggers Sports Festival kicks off in a rustic replay of old-time Canadiana with everything from log-rolling to axe-tossing to a 10K Race. Check it out at various local venues.

Get in Tune at the Kaslo Jazz Festival – July 29-31
Forget stuffy concert venues, the 20th annual Kaslo Jazz Festival will be about as far from claustrophobic as you can get. From July 29 to 31, a bevy of bands will perform on a floating stage just offshore Kootenay Lake in Kaslo Bay Park. And considering that fans can dance on the sand or swim around the stage, it’s no wonder USA Today ranked it as one of the “10 great places to get in tune.” This year’s fest rolls out a repertoire ranging from Latin jazz and electronica to folk-rock and blues from the likes of headliners David Gogo, Dan Mangan and Jim Byrnes, among others. And, PS: Don’t bother packing a picnic ‘cause a variety of food vendors will be on hand to quell your hunger pangs pronto.

Attend a Medieval Mixer – July 29 – Aug 1 

Are you ready to party like it’s 1499? Wannabe rogues and wenches are invited to do just that at the fifth annual B.C. Renaissance Festival, taking place at Thunderbird Show Park (24550 72nd Avenue, Langley) from July 29 to August 1. This centuries-old shindig resurrects the music, festivities and sporting events of the day, along with cameo appearances from historic figures like England’s King Henry VIII and his first wife Catherine of Aragon. Buy tickets at the gate, priced at $15 for adults and $10 for seniors and children.

See Some Summer 
Cinema – Tuesday nights in July and August  

A night at the movies usually costs a pretty penny. The exception? The Chevron Summer Cinema Series, screening free family films on Tuesdays in July and August at Second Beach in Stanley Park. Bring your own lawn chair or blanket and settle in for this cinema under the stars, beginning at dusk. And you won’t have to worry about getting your view blocked by someone’s head, either, ’cause the movies are projected on a massive, three-storey inflatable screen. On July 26, check out Ghostbusters and, in lieu of admission fees, feel free to bring a monetary or non-perishable food donation to help support the Greater Vancouver Food Bank Society.

Catch a Free Dance Performance on Granville Island – this summer
Not that you need another reason to visit Granville Island — home to a fresh-food public market, unique boutiques and scenic shoreline — but here’s one anyway: On Sundays throughout the summer you can enjoy free outdoor dance and music performances showing off an up-and-coming crop of homegrown talent. It’s all courtesy of New Works, a Granville Island-based dance troupe that’s presenting All Over the Map, an eighth annual series that stages all-ages shows ranging from ballet and hip hop to contemporary and aerial dance. On July 24, check out the Forrás Hungarian Folk Dance Ensemble, a living folk revival movement at Ron Basford Park, starting at 2 p.m.

Reveal Your Inner Explorer
 – this summer

If Britannia Mine ranks as a “been there, done that,” you might want to take another look. The award-winning heritage site, located 10 minutes south of Squamish on the Sea to Sky Highway, is ready to “unearth the explorer in you” with a slate of new attractions courtesy of a $14.7-million makeover. Once considered the British Empire’s biggest copper mine, it’s a place still rich in history where visitors can check out dozens of interactive exhibits, films, displays and hands-on activities, including gold panning, riding on a subterranean mine train and even creating a do-it-yourself explosion. For more details, call 1-800-896-4044.

Add Some Spice to Your Meal – this summer

Spice up your summer at Raga Indian Restaurant (1177 West Broadway, Vancouver), serving up an appetizing 30th-anniversary deal on meals until July 31. With the purchase of any dinner, penny-pinching patrons will enjoy a free vegetable pakora appetizer and mango ice cream dessert. The only catch? This special offer is valid for dine-in only. Drop by from noon to 10 p.m., or call 
604-733-1127 for reservations. 

Originally published in TV Week. For daily updates, subscribe to the free TV Week e-newsletter, or purchase a subscription to the weekly magazine.