BC Adventures – Our To Do Picks for May 1 – 7

See comedy, documentary or jazz; read, cheer or smell the rhododendrons; and battle breast cancer and lupus this week

Juno-nominated band The Kerplunks play the Vancouver Island Children’s Book Festival

Make Reading More Fun at the Vancouver Island Children’s Book Festival – May 1
Sounding the “read” alert on literacy, the Vancouver Island Children’s Book Festival aims to get kids worked up about words with a program that includes appearances by some of Canada’s best children’s authors, illustrators and storytellers, plus a noon-hour performance by the Juno-nominated band, The Kerplunks. This 24th annual book bash, taking place May 1 
at Vancouver Island University (Nanaimo campus, 900 Fifth Street), also offers free sessions for preschoolers, including a puppet show and a parent-child room, running from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Registration is $10 per child or $25 per family at bookfest.ca. For more information, call 250-716-FEST(3378).

Fire up Qualicum Beach’s Fire & Ice Street Festival – May 1
So what if Qualicum Beach Village is a sleepy seaside town for most of the year? That’s all set to change on May 1, when it becomes the site of the 18th annual Fire & Ice Street Festival, a kicking community party that will see sidewalks overflowing with thousands of revelers enjoying free live music, roving performers and a kids’ zone. Plus, check out the 25-team chili cook-off, and an ice-carving competition between chainsaw-wielding sculptors from both sides of the border — the festival’s symbolic “fire” and “ice” — then cast your ballot for the best of both in the People’s Choice Awards. For more info on this fun fest, taking place rain or shine from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., go to fireandicestreetfestival.com or call 250-752-9081.

Groove with Jazz Guitarist Pat Metheny and His Robot Orchestra – May 1
Seventeen-time Grammy Award-winning jazz guitarist Pat Metheny has always set himself apart from the mainstream, expanding and blurring musical boundaries. Seems he’s still at it, as fans will see on May 1 at the Centre in Vancouver for the Performing Arts (777 Homer St.), where the musical maverick will be backed by a robot orchestra. Metheny worked for months with a team of scientists and engineers to develop this so-called “New Orchestrion,” a large mechanical device that blends actual instruments with the technologies of today. Swing by at 8 p.m. to catch him in action as he debuts five original pieces that showcase the instruments as they are struck, plucked and strummed via solenoid switches and pneumatics. Intrigued? Book your seat by visiting ticketmaster.ca or calling 604-280-3311.

Cheer on the Miss Sweet Pea Spring Pageant
 – May 1
Are you a fan of TLC’s Toddlers & Tiaras? Or how about the acclaimed indie film Little Miss Sunshine? Then you just may want to check out the real deal in action at the Miss Sweet Pea Spring Pageant on May 1 at North Delta Secondary Theatre (11447 82 Ave., Delta). Celebrating “natural beauty inside and out,” the pageant offers a wide variety of prizes including trophies, crowns and even cash scholarships to the wee winners. Whether you have a tot to enroll, or just want to catch the show, you can find out all the stuff you need to know by visiting sweetpeapageants.com

Attend the 18th Annual Art Walk – May 1 – 2
Ever since the psychedelic ’60s, Kitsilano has been home to more than its fair share of artists. Need proof? Hit the streets on May 1 and 2 for the 18th annual Art Walk, a fine arts feast that gives the public a free pass to explore 31 studios and galleries throughout Vancouver’s West Side from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. This year’s participating artists, 52 in all, are said to be the most diverse group yet, and include a nuclear scientist with a passion for painting and a criminal lawyer with a gas kiln in his garage. They do have one thing in common, though: They’re all masters of myriad media — from acrylic, aluminum and glass to fibre, concrete and wood. The best part? It’s all free — unless you decide to become an art collector, that is! For info, visit artistsinourmidst.com.

Smell the Flowers at the Burnaby Rhododendron Festival – May 2
It may not have seemed so at the time, but our soggy spring weather served a purpose. Those April showers have indeed brought May flowers, as you’ll see at the Burnaby Rhododendron Festival, a 22nd annual floral fest that’s in full bloom with the city’s official flower. Along with a riot of rhododendrons, it also blends art and horticulture with watercolour workshops, garden tours, interactive art activities, roving performers and a silent auction. Life’s too short not to smell the flowers, so swing by this free festival on May 2, from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., on the grounds of Deer Lake Park and Shadbolt Centre for the Arts (6450 Deer Lake Ave.). For further info, call 604-291-6864 or visit brags.ca

Walk a Block for Lupus – May 2
We all know walking is good for you. But it’ll have even more far-reaching health benefits if you opt to do it on May 2 for Walk a Block for Lupus, a family-oriented fundraiser running from 10 a.m. to noon at Bear Creek Park (13750 88 Ave., Surrey). The annual event coincides with World Lupus Day, which brings attention to this common but little-known life-threatening autoimmune disease that affects more than 50,000 Canadians, most of them women. After trekking around the track, stick around to enjoy prizes, informational exhibits and a kids’ zone, courtesy of Surrey Lupus Group. Registration begins at 9 a.m., with further info at 604-714-5564 or by e-mailing surreylupus@yahoo.ca. Can’t make it? You can still help out by making a donation at walkablock.ca

Battle Breast Cancer with Biff Naked
 – May 6
Bif Naked may be best known for her music career, but the breast cancer survivor is winning fans in a new demographic, too. On May 6, she’ll be the guest speaker at the 18th annual Awareness Day Luncheon hosted by the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, BC/Yukon Region, at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver (900 W. Georgia). The fundraiser begins with an 11:15 a.m. reception, and also includes a presentation by local breast health expert, Dr. Paula Gordon, whose 2020 Early Detection Working Group aims to wipe out breast cancer by 2020. Even if you can’t afford to spring for tickets, priced at $125 per person or $1,190 per table, you’re still welcome to bid on two Teresa Posyniak paintings, with partial proceeds supporting the battle against breast cancer, by visiting cbcf.org/bcyukon.

See André-Philippe Gagnon’s New Comedy Show– May 7
André-Philippe Gagnon has made quite an impression with his impressions. The Quebec-born comic came to world attention in the mid-’80s when he appeared on The Tonight Show and left Johnny Carson uncharacteristically speechless by impersonating all 18 singers in the famine-relief anthem “We Are the World.” Now this vocal chameleon has teamed up with comedy writers from Just for Laughs, The Royal Canadian Air Farce and Rick Mercer Report to create a brand new show, his most personal yet, that makes a one-night stop on May 7 at Boulevard Casino’s Red Robinson Show Theatre (2080 United Blvd., Coquitlam), starting at 8 p.m. Tickets are $59.50 to $69.50 at Ticketmaster outlets, by phone at 604-280-4444 or online at ticketmaster.ca.

See in a Documentary Film – or 60 – at Doxa 
- May 7-16
DOXA Documentary Film Festival returns for its tenth and best run yet from May 7 to 16, with 10 days of films tackling issues that the mainstream media often miss. Worried they’ll be yawners? Not a chance! This year’s program boasts almost 60 features and shorts, including an irreverent closing-night pic called Saint Misbehavin’: The Wavy Gravy Movie, an altruism-espousing film about the fictional son of Harpo Marx and Mother Teresa. There’s serious fare, too, including the festival’s opening-night flick, Terra Madre, which celebrates the human spirit with a celluloid snapshot of an anonymous Italian farmer. Catch these and other films at Granville 7, Vancity Theatre and Pacific Cinematheque in downtown Vancouver. For further details, call 604-646-3200 or go to doxafestival.ca.

Visit a Lavender Field – Anytime
Think you need to book a flight to the South of France to feast your eyes on acres of lavender fields? Not a chance. You’ll save big bucks, not to mention a butt-numbing nine-hour plane ride, if you visit the Okanagan Lavender Herb Farm (4380 Takla Rd.) in Kelowna instead. Lavender lovers can take a self-guided tour of the fragrant farm, which also offers a u-pick garden boasting 60 varieties of the healing herb and a gift boutique full of flower-infused bath, beauty and home products. Life is too short not to smell the flowers, so visit okanaganlavender.com or call 250-764-7795 for further information. Whatever you do, don’t leave without sampling the homemade lavender ice cream and lemonade!

Get Busy in Prince George – This spring
Not just a northern outpost with polar temperatures and plug-in cars, Prince George offers “more than you can imagine.” That’s the tagline of Tourism PG, and it’s sticking to that story – for good reason – by offering a slate of spring activities that just might tempt you to hit the highway. Case in point? On May 1 alone, visitors can check out a Roller Girl Boot Camp, Nechako Public Market (Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m.), Northern BC Sportsmen Expo (10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Coliseum, 888 Dominion Street), PG Legion Dance and a Home, Garden & Recreation Show (Kin Centres, 4199-18th Avenue). And that’s just for starters! For more information on these and other upcoming events, visit tourismpg.com or call 1-800-668-7646.

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