Once the weather heats up, so does British Columbia's party spirit.
Summertime means festival time right across the province, with rodeos, wine tastings, literary shindigs, foodie feasts, concerts, even an old-time accordion competition. Here are some of the best of the fests:
From June 22 to July 1, the cool sounds of hot jazz will fill Vancouver's parks, theatres, bars and restaurants. The 27th annual TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival kicks off with a free weekend extravaganza at the Vancouver Art Gallery grounds, featuring live performances on three stages as well as art installations, craft markets, onsite bistros and kid-friendly events. Throughout the 10-day festival, hear every style of jazz from funk to fusion, blues and electronica, performed by some 1,800 musicians, including George Benson, Wayne Shorter, Bill Frisell, Trombone Shorty and Dianne Reeves.
If the King is your thing, put on your blue suede shoes and swivel your hips on over to the Thompson Okanagan for the 11th annual Penticton Elvis Festival, June 22-24, when dozens of tribute artists will leave this lakeside town all shook up.
Prefer polka? Then grab your squeezebox and your main squeeze and make your way to the Kootenay Rockies for the Kimberley International Oldtime Accordion Championships, July 9-14.
ARTS & CULTURE
It's double, double, toil and trouble at Vancouver's Vanier Park this summer when "the Scottish play" joins The Taming of the Shrew, The Merry Wives of Windsor and King John in the lineup at the Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival, on now until Sept. 22.
From the first stirring beat of the drum to the final taste of bannock, the Kamloops Pow Wow is a First Nations festival like no other. From Aug. 3-5, the Secwepemc people celebrate their heritage in Kamloops with storytelling, song, dance and traditional regalia in one of the biggest First Nations cultural events in Western Canada.
Looking for a good summer read? Then head to the Sunshine Coast Festival of the Written Arts, Aug. 16-19. One of Canada's longest running summer readers and writers festival attracts both established names and exciting new voices to the Rockwood heritage gardens in Sechelt. This year's schedule features Canadian literary icons Wayson Choy, Jane Urquhart and Camilla Gibb, as well as crime masters Peter Robinson and Gail Bowen, and celebrated poet Lorna Crozier.
FOOD & WINE
Swirl, sip and savour the best of B.C. wines at the Summer Okanagan Wine Festival, July 7-15. More than 30 events will be held throughout the Okanagan Valley, ranging from outdoor wine tastings to wine-and-cheese beach parties, all designed to let you soak up the best of the Okanagan under the summer sun.
Chefs, farmers, winemakers, brewers, spirit producers and diners come together for FarmFolk CityFolk's Feast of Fields, a gourmet wandering harvest festival that's outstanding in its field. There are three in British Columbia: Aug. 12 at Claremont Ranch Organics near Kelowna in the Thompson Okanagan; Sept. 9 at Golden Ears Cheesecrafters in Maple Ridge, and Sept. 16 at Alderlea Farm in Duncan on Vancouver Island.
FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY
Master sand sculptors from around the world converge on Parksville for the Quality Foods Canadian Open Sand Sculpting Competition Exhibition, a qualifying challenge for the World Championship of Sand Sculpting. The competition is held July 14-15, but the sculptures are on display until Aug. 19.
Rather than put water in their bathtubs, some people, it seems, prefer to put their bathtubs in water. Those are the ones who compete in the Nanaimo Marine Festival and World Championship Bathtub Race, July 19-22. Every summer since 1967, bathtubbers have raced through the waters around this Island city, which gives everyone else a good excuse to throw a party with a food fair, a carnival for the kids, live entertainment and "sail past" parade.
For more information on festivals and other events around British Columbia, visit www. HelloBC.com/events.
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