BC Adventures – Our To Do Picks for July 30 – August 5

This week in BC: Watch fireworks, catch aerial acrobatics and spot shining lanterns

Credit: TV Week

French acrobats Delphine and Franck perform their routines on Granville Island

What to do in BC this week

Get Crafty at the Filberg Festival – July 29-August 1
Consider yourself crafty? Then the place to be from July 29 to August 1 is at Vancouver Island’s 29th annual Filberg Festival, one of Canada’s biggest arts and crafts expositions. Held at the Filberg Heritage Lodge and Park — a designated heritage site in Comox — the nine-acre waterfront retreat will host non-stop entertainment, fab food and more than 120 artisans from across the country, peddling everything from pottery, woodcraft and metalwork to original paintings, jewelry and toys.

Check out the Harmony Arts Festival – July 29-August 7
On hot summer nights, only the most unflappable culture vulture would bother poking around some stuffy museum. Everyone else can check out the 21st annual Harmony Arts Festival, an open-air celebration taking place July 29 to August 7 along the West Vancouver waterfront. Featuring over 50 free concerts, this award-winning cultural carnival rolls out everything from rock, blues and jazz to classical and world music from the likes of Cousin Harley, The Paperboys, Leora Cash Quartet and Tanga, taking the stage nightly at 7:30 p.m. in John Lawson Park. Plus, you can also pull up a lawnchair for some Cinema in the Park, tip a glass in the wine garden, flex your charge cards at the North Shore Tourism Art Market and set out on a Remax Studio Tour.

Ignite the Night at the Illuminares Festival – July 30

Pity the poor cruise passengers disembarking at Canada Place on July 30. When dusk falls, the unsuspecting souls are in for a surprise if they catch sight of a procession of costume-clad souls, each carrying flickering lanterns and pacing to the hypnotic beat of drums. Let’s hope they don’t run back screaming to the ship, thinking they’ve stumbled upon some satanic ritual. So locals, make sure you tell them it’s just the Illuminares Lantern Festival, rolling out a night of free music, fireworks, stilt-walkers and jugglers from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on the grounds of Canada Place. Like a Cirque du Soleil on the streets, this fun fest is such a visual feast the Georgia Straight called it “the most magical of Vancouver’s summertime events.”

Catch Canada’s Largest Japanese Jamboree – July 30-31
Jonesing for some Japanese food this weekend? Or maybe a little sumo wrestling? Then there’s only one place to be on July 30 and 31, and that’s the 35th annual Powell Street Festival, taking place at various Vancouver venues, including Oppenheimer Park, Firehall Arts Centre and Chapel Arts, from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. This giant Japanese jamboree, considered Canada’s largest, features a jam-packed agenda full of free dance, music and martial arts performances. For more details call 604-739-9388. 

Cross the Border for the Point Roberts Arts and Music Festival – July 30-31
Some of the best fun can be found this long weekend across the border at the 15th annual Point Roberts Arts and Music Festival, taking place on July 30 and 31. This free, all-ages blitz, set on the beaches of Lighthouse Marine Park in Washington, is considered one of the best music fests in the west. And, it’s no one-note wonder, either — featuring everything from food stands to craft vendors to kids’ activities. Catch it starting at noon.

Don’t Miss the Celebration of Light – July 30-August 6

Hate crowds? We hear you, but trust us; it’s worth elbowing yourself a spot among the sardine-packed streets to catch the 21st annual Celebration of Light. One of Vancouver’s signature summer events, it busts out a colourful kaleidoscope of fireworks that sets the city’s skies ablaze as China, Spain and Canada show off their pyrotechnical prowess on Wednesdays and Saturdays from July 30 through to August 6. For the best vantage points, stake out a spot (early!) at English Bay, Vanier Park or Jericho Beach. And don’t forget to tune your boombox to SHORE 104.3 FM so you can really make the most of this 25-minute, music-simulcast show, starting at 10 p.m. sharp.

Enjoy Aerial Acrobatics – August 3-7 and 10-14

If you’re a sucker for the circus, take note: A high-flying duo is set to swing into Vancouver with the greatest of ease. Performing aboard a sailboat stage, French acrobats Delphine and Franck vow to wow audiences with two silent productions unfolding outdoors at Granville Island throughout the summer. Using the mast, boom, rigging and other parts of their sailboat to exhibit their acrobatic excellence, the husband-and-wife team show West Coasters what we’ve been missing in a production that has traveled to Spain, Morocco, the Caribbean, Costa Rica and Hawaii. Catch the 20-minute shows at the finger docks near the Public Market from August 3 to 7 and August 10 to 14. The Navigators, inspired by Buster Keaton’s silent films, starts at 5 p.m., and Between Wing and Island, an explosion of aerial acrobatics, starts at 7 p.m. Admission is free, but donations are welcome.

Mingle with Writers on the Sunshine Coast – August 4-7
Talk about a literary luau! The 29th annual Sunshine Coast Festival of the Written Arts, running from August 4 to 7 at Sechelt’s Rockwood Centre (5511 Shorncliffe Avenue), is Canada’s longest-running summer gathering of homegrown writers and readers. Whether you’re a budding bookworm or an avid wordsmith, you’ll enjoy a rare chance to mingle with two dozen established and emerging writers, including Margaret Trudeau, Sarah Selecky, Timothy Taylor and Susan Juby. For more info, call 1-800-565-9631.

Bust a Gut with Russell Brand – August 5-6

Long before pop tart Katy Perry fell for Brit wit Russell Brand, English audiences were already hopelessly smitten with the irreverent wisecracker thanks to his turn on the BBC TV show Big Brother’s Big Mouth. The feeling soon became mutual in North America when Brand starred as rocker Aldous Snow in the hit films Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Get Him to the Greek. And while you could settle for seeing the hirsute hottie on the big screen — he’s in Arthur, Hop and The Tempest — why do that when you can catch him up close and personal on August 5 at Red Robinson Show Theatre (2080 United Blvd., Coquitlam) and on August 6 at River Rock Casino Resort (8811 River Rd., Richmond). Tickets are available at Ticketmaster.

Go to the Edge of the World and Back – August 5-7

The remote location of Haida Gwaii, formerly known as the Queen Charlotte Islands, means that the only sounds you’re likely to hear are crashing waves, screeching seagulls and chirping crickets. That all changes from August 5 to 7 with the Edge of the World Music Festival, a weekend-long roundup featuring everything from fringe events and food vendors to performances by The Odds, Jaffa Road and The Avenues, among others. This all-ages exposition, held at Tlell Fall Fairgrounds, is also fully family friendly, thanks to an interactive kids’ zone and an on-site campground. Tickets start at $30. And here’s an idea: if you’ve always wanted to amp up your knowledge of aboriginal culture, swing by early to check out the Haida Heritage Celebration on August 2. 

Take off Fridays at YVR – Fridays this summer

One way to get hot under the collar? By cooling your heels for hours at the airport. That’s why YVR is hosting Take-Off Fridays, a bustling bonanza that capitalizes on the old adage: “Time flies when you’re having fun.” Not content to be just a gateway to the skies, the world-class airport is doubling as one of Vancouver’s premiere entertainment venues with this summer-long lineup that offers family-style fun ranging from live DJs and performance artists to magicians, spa specials and even free dental cleaning and check-ups for new patients under 12 at Vancouver Airport Dental Clinic. Check it out on Fridays until August 26 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the domestic and international terminals. And, for a cost-effective way to get to YVR, hop on the Canada Line and you’ll be there in 26 minutes or less.

Shop Material Bloom at Granville Island – every day this summer

Talk about a one-stop shop! If you’re looking for one-of-a-kind rings, you’ll find them—paired perfectly with complementary jewelry boxes—at Net Loft (1 – 1666 Johnston Street) on Granville Island until August 2. A collaborative exhibition between jeweler Barbara Cohen and woodworker Peter Pierobon, Material Bloom shows off the internationally acclaimed artists’ strong sculptural sensibilities with a collection of finely wrought multi-media rings and masterfully worked jewelry boxes. Check out this free exhibition daily from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., with further information at 604-669-8021.
Go Scuba Diving – anytime
Did you know scuba diving was first introduced in 1943 by undersea explorer Jacques Cousteau? Or that it’s one of the world’s fastest growing recreational sports, certifying more than a million new divers each year? Bolstering those numbers big-time are B.C.-based companies like Sink or Swim Scuba (#2 – 4131 Mostar Rd., Nanaimo), offering training for all skill levels, from beginner to advanced, along with specialty courses in rescue diving, night navigation, fish identification and even underwater digital photography. For further information, visit sosscuba.ca or check out dive.bc.ca for a full list of dive companies operating in your area.

Make a Splash – this summer
There’s still time to make a big splash this summer — at least at Cultus Lake Waterpark, near Chilliwack. While parents steep in the hot tub and little ones splash in the tot pool, bigger kids can go for a slide on a network of tunnels, twisters and blasters of all sizes. No wussy waterpark, it boasts B.C.’s only freefall tube ride, a speed slide, Radical Rapids, an Adventure River and a 75-foot-tall Colossal Canyon. Swing by daily, rain or shine, until September 5, with further info available by phone at 604-858-7241.

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