BC Adventures – Our To Do Picks for July 31 – Aug 6

This week in BC: Catch the Celebration of Light finale, see Robin Hood at the Bloedel Conservatory, Camp out at Science World, see free films in Victoria and more

This “promenade production” of Robin Hood is an interactive experience

What to do in BC this week

Head to the Kaslo Jazz Etc. Summer Music Festival – July 30-Aug 1
Forget stuffy concert venues; the 19th annual Kaslo Jazz Etc. Summer Music Festival will be about as far from claustrophobic as you can get. From July 30 to August 1, 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.” What’s more, this year’s fest rolls out a roster ranging from Tambura Rasa and Terminal Station to Monkey Junk and Circo de Teatro. P.S.: Don’t bother packing a picnic, ’cause a variety of food vendors will quell your hunger pangs pronto. Visit kaslojazzfest.com for details.

Enjoy the Celebration of Light Finale – July 31
Let there be light, cried Vancouver locals when it looked as if our long-standing summer fireworks festival was set to be extinguished a few years back. Thankfully, the Celebration of Light was saved from extinction by corporate sponsors, and on July 31, it goes out with a bang for another year when Concord Pacific presents A Tribute to China. Catch this international pyro-musical competition, which attracts the world’s leading fireworks designers, starting at 10 p.m., rain or shine, off the shores of English Bay. If you can’t stake out a spot there — and if you don’t arrive hours early, fuggedaboutit — your next-best viewing options are Kitsilano, Vanier Park and Jericho Beach. For more information, go to celebration-of-light.com.

Immerse Yourself in Japanese Culture at the Powell Street Festival – July 31-Aug 1

Beyond sushi, karate and geisha girls, how much do you really know about Japanese culture? Come find out at the 34th annual Powell Street Festival on July 31 and August 1, a family-friendly affair centred in and around the newly revamped Oppenheimer Park (400-block Powell St., Vancouver). Canada’s longest-running Japanese festival takes place from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. with traditional and contemporary performances, including taiko drumming, sumo wrestling, martial arts and modern dance, along with an array of Japanese food, crafts and displays. All daytime events at this community celebration, including a premiere screening of award-winning video art from Japan, are free, along with bike-valet service. For more information, go online to powellstreetfestival.com.

Celebrate with New Westminster’s 12th Street Festival – Aug 1
New Westminster has lots of main thoroughfares, but only one of them will be celebrated on August 1. The 12th Street Festival features a sidewalk shindig full of food, live music and heritage that reflects the cultural diversity of the growing suburban neighbourhood. The specifics in store? An old-fashioned dunk tank, doggy wash, salmon barbecue and martial arts demos, along with live music on several outdoor stages. This free event, organized by the West End Business Association and surrounding resident associations, takes place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. between 6th and 8th avenues. For more information, contact John Ashdown at 604-657-5600 or email weba@shaw.ca

See Robin Hood at the Bloedel Conservatory
 – Aug 4-19
It won’t just be picnickers roaming the scenic grounds of Queen Elizabeth Park (Cambie Street at W. 33rd Ave.) this summer. It’s also set to be the backdrop for Robin Hood, an irreverent adaptation by Vancouver’s ITSAZOO Productions, and one that marks the company’s third year of outdoor, sold-out, critically acclaimed shows. Bring your walking shoes because this “promenade” production is no sit-down affair; instead, it’s an interactive experience that invites you to follow the band of merry men on their outlaw adventures, starting from Bloedel Conservatory at 7 p.m., from August 4 to 7, 10 to 14 and 17 to 19. For more info, call 778-888-2435 or visit itsazoo.org.

Attend Victoria’s Free-B Film Festival – Fridays and Saturdays in August
Keen to see a film for free? Who wouldn’t, but if you don’t want to waste a sultry summer night cooped up inside a stuffy theatre, you’re in luck — if you’re in Victoria, that is. The city is the site of the 10th annual Free-B Film Festival, taking place Fridays and Saturdays throughout August at the Cameron Bandshell in Beacon Hill Park and Centennial Square. You can catch a big-screen blockbuster, courtesy of the Victoria Film Festival, under the stars on a triple-sized inflatable screen, starting at 9 p.m. On August 6, Tim Burton fans can catch then real-life lovebirds Johnny Depp and Winona Ryder in Edward Scissorhands. Word of advice: You’d better get there early because last year brought out a record-breaking 1,600 film fans. For a full lineup of upcoming movies, visit freebfilmfest.com.

Camp out at Science World – this summer
For a camping trip even urbanites will enjoy — minus bugs, bears and bed head — TELUS World of Science (1455 Quebec St., Vancouver) is offering an overnight adventure that doesn’t involve roughing it in the bush. Groups of 60 or more can book a Private Camp-In Experience from dusk till dawn that includes hands-on exploration of galleries, group science experiment, live science show, OMNIMAX film, evening snack then breakfast following a restful slumber among the exhibits. You’ll also have access to Kaleidoscope, Science World’s gift shop, plus have the option of ordering in a White Spot meal from Triple O’s. This package, available Monday to Thursday, is priced at $58 per camper, including free parking and one free admission for every five paid participants. For further information, go to scienceworld.ca or call 604-443-7443.

See Vancouver Theatre Sports’ Improv Musical – Wednesdays

Music to your ears. That’s how Vancouver TheatreSports League is billing The Improv Musical, a new Broadway-inspired show that’s been delighting audiences at the new Vancouver TheatreSports Improv Centre (1502 Duranleau St., Granville Island). Armed only with audience suggestions, the singing ensemble will belt out show-stopping choruses, rock anthems and heart-rending ballads, along with every cherished musical theatre cliché in the genre, all improvised on the spot for a riotously funny show that weaves together instant plot, characters and songs. Catch this unscripted and totally unmissable musical on Wednesdays, starting at 7:30 p.m. For more information, go to vtsl.com. 

Dine Local at the Teahouse – now

We all know life’s too short not to smell the flowers. So why not take it one step further and eat them instead? It’s time to step outside the flower box because Teahouse in Stanley Park is taking the concept of eating local to a whole new level with an edible on-site garden. Chef François Gagnon has rolled out a new summer menu featuring fresh-picked produce — everything from Jerusalem artichokes to pineapple sage to heirloom tomatoes — in dishes reflecting B.C.’s bounty, including Salt Spring Island mussels, Qualicum Bay scallops and Fraser Valley chicken. Located at Ferguson Point in Stanley Park, the Teahouse boasts classic French bistro cuisine, on-point service and postcard-perfect views of English Bay and Spanish Banks. For further information, call 604-669-3281.

Eat at Transylvania Flavour – anytime

What’s springs to mind when you think “Transylvania flavour?” Us too, but rest assured, there won’t be a single goblet of fresh-drawn blood on the menu at Transylvania Flavour Restaurant (2120 W. Broadway, Vancouver). Instead, Count Dracula would go hungry at this Eastern European eatery specializing in “classic creations rooted in history,” like cabbage rolls, slow-cooked lamb, schnitzels, soups and perogies. This licensed establishment is open Tuesday through Sunday for brunch and dinner and, as one restaurant critic rather understatedly put it, the food “doesn’t suck.” For reservations, go to transylvaniaflavour.com or call 604-730-0880.

Try Blood Alley’s Newest Eatery L’Abbatoir – now

The name L’Abbatoir (217 Carrall St., Vancouver) sounds like an elegant name for a restaurant, but French speakers know that it translates as “the slaughterhouse,” a term chosen to reflect the newly opened eatery’s proximity to Blood Alley. If you don’t mind the images the name conjures, you’ll be slayed by the menu, which has been described as “modern French with bouts of rustic classicism.” And while it boasts “all the best aspect of a fine dining restaurant,” owners Paul Grunberg and Lee Cooper describe it as “an everyday neighbourhood restaurant that’s casual, approachable and affordable.” It’s open for lunch and dinner from Monday to Saturday until midnight, with a Sunday brunch service. For further information, go to labbatoir.ca.

Ride the Rapids at Lytton’s Kumsheen Rafting Resort – this summer
The only time it’s good to be up the creek? When you’re talking about white-water rafting, an activity ideally suited to BC’s raging rivers. One of the best places to go? The Kumsheen Rafting Resort in Lytton (1345 Trans Canada Highway #1), offering several adventure packages designed to make a splash on mavericks and milquetoasts alike. If a trip down a rolling river with rapids named “The Jaws of Death,” “Devil’s Kitchen” and “Witch’s Cauldron” sounds like too much for your ticker (or your swimming skills), you can always opt for a safer, slower power raft, complete with an experienced guide. Trips take place along the Thompson River, with half-, full- and two-day trips available starting from around $100. For more information or to book, call 1-800-663-6667 or visit kumsheen.com.

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