Explore: Art of the Cocktail, Pumpkinfest, Oktoberfest and more

Dress in your best after-5 cocktail attire for the Art of the Cocktail, a cocktail party that allows you to sample alcoholic creations by local restaurants, distilleries and global brands, Saturday at the Crystal Garden.

This is the 11th year of the event, which organizers boast is the premier event of its kind in Victoria.

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More than 900 attendees are expected to sample combinations of more than 60 spirits and view the wares of nearly 50 different brands and restaurants.

There is more food than in previous years, thanks to several restaurants making a big splash in their debut at the festival.

“We’re a city of savvy food and drink connoisseurs, so there’s an expectation to bring something new to the proverbial table every year with Art of the Cocktail,” says Kathy Kay, director for the Victoria Film Festival, the main beneficiary of the event. “It’s an exciting challenge.”

New exhibitors this year include The Village Chinatown, which is set to showcase its famous latkes with salmon lox, paired with samples of its original Village Caesars.

Frankie’s Modern Diner will also be there featuring meatballs, their famous key lime pie and samples of their classic mimosa.

Other new attendees include Darcy’s Pub, The Courtney Room, Santa Teresa 1796 and Steamship Grill and Bar.

Perhaps the most audacious exhibitor display belongs to Prince of Whales Whale and Marine Wildlife, which will be on site with an ice luge to serve cocktail samples.

This year’s theme, A Trip to Paris, will inspire guests to dress up in their most chic apparel in the hopes of winning the coveted Best Dressed title.

Learn about the three elements that help create (and even fix) great cocktails at this year’s hands-on cocktail-making series: Cocktails Up Close — Acid. Sugar. Bitter.

Tickets for the grand tasting are $70. The event runs 6 to 8:30 p.m. Saturday. Tickets for the cocktail-making class are $35. It runs 1:30 to 3 p.m. Saturday. Both events take place at the Victoria Conference Centre — Crystal Garden, 713 Douglas St. For more information and tickets, go to artofthecocktail.com.

Help the planet and get home items repaired — for free

Don’t toss it out just yet. Bring your non-functioning or damaged household item to be fixed — for free — at two community events, Saturday in Fairfield and Sunday in Sooke.

The events will appeal to folks who believe in reusing instead of just discarding still-useful goods into the landfill.

People are encouraged to bring their damaged items from home to be repaired by volunteers. You can watch and even help, and perhaps learn how to fix the item again in the future.

Those who want to help repair or volunteer in some other way are invited. While the item is being repaired you can just sit back and enjoy a cup of tea or coffee.

• Repair Café Fairfield is hosting a free community event on Saturday that accepts anything that’s broken and that you can manage to carry.

That includes electrical appliances, clothing, furniture, crockery, housewares, bicycles, toys, mobile phones, tablets or hearing aids. Do not bring large appliances, such as stoves, to the event.

The event runs 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at the Fairfield Gonzales Community Hall, 1330 Fairfield Rd. For more information, go to repaircafevicbc.ca.

• At the event in Sooke, organizers boast that if you can carry it through the door, someone will try to help you fix it. They will accept appliances, electronics, fabric, furniture or anything else you bring.

You can enjoy coffee, tea and cookies while you meet your neighbours and learn new skills.

The event runs 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday at the Sooke Community Hall, 2037 Shields Rd., Sooke. For more information, go to transitionsooke.org.

Pumpkinfest and fearfest at Galey Farms

Take your children for a hayride, get lost (and found) in the corn maze or pet a farm animal at Pumpkinfest, Saturday and Sunday at Galey Farms.

At the family-friendly event, take a cow train or traditional train ride on the property, listen to live entertainment, take a hayride to the pumpkin patch and visit a kid-friendly Ghost Town.

Don’t forget to meet the farm’s newest inhabitant — Howard the Gnome — who stands 25 feet, 11 inches tall, located on the northwest corner of the farm.

Admission $12 adults, $8 children, which includes one train ride or corn maze ticket. Family combo pass (two adults, two children) $48. Free for infants.

Pumpkinfest runs 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday and Oct. 24 to 31.

• See Galey Farms’ dark side as it turns into the Festival of Fear when the sun sets.

You can visit four venues with a Haunted House for children, Crazy Train, CarnEvil Haunted House (not suitable for children under 13) and the Cornfield of Horror. You can also attend a séance with Madame Isabella.

Festival of Fear runs 6 to 10 p.m. today to Sunday and Oct. 24 to 31. The first ticket is $12 adults and $8 children (12 and under). Additional tickets $6 adults, $5 children.

Both events take place at Galey Farms, 4150 Blenkinsop Rd. For more information, go to galeyfarms.net.

Eat, drink and celebrate Oktoberfest

Eat, drink and be merry — German style — at Stein and Dine, Victoria’s annual Oktoberfest celebration on Saturday at the Victoria Public Market.

Eat in classic Oktoberfest style, with the Roast Meat and Sandwich Shop preparing popular Germanic favourites. Dine on Bratwurst and Sauerkraut, Raclette and Steamed Potatoes (pickles and melted cheese on top of potatoes), Käse Spätzle (with crispy friend onions — a German version of mac ’n’ cheese), Schnitzel on a Stick (with preserved lemon aioli) and pretzels with grainy sweet mustard.

Drink a selection of B.C. craft beer, from Germanic staples to classic West Coast styles from six breweries and a cider house.

Listen to live accordion music and the Tonemeisters, see Oktoberfest dancers and take part in a lederhosen, stein-holding or beard-and-braid contest.

You can also spend your night playing beer pong, giant Roast jenga or giant Connect 4 games.

Tickets are $49.75 (must be 19 and older) and include one 12 oz. stein, two drink tickets and two food tickets. The event runs 7 to 10:30 p.m. Saturday at the Victoria Public Market, 1701 Douglas St.

For more information, go to steinanddine.com.

Sidney Fine Art Show starts Friday

See a diverse selection of paintings, sculptures, fibre arts and photography at the Sidney Fine Art Show, Friday to Sunday at the Mary Winspear Centre, Sidney.

This is the premier event of the ArtSea Community Arts Council and is one of the largest and most prestigious juried art shows in British Columbia.

More than 3,000 visitors are expected to view close to 400 pieces of art.

Funds raised at the event support art and cultural programming on the Saanich Peninsula.

Tickets are $8, free admission for children 12 and under. The show runs 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday at the Mary Winspear Centre, 2243 Beacon Ave., Sidney. For more information, go to sidneyfineartshow.ca.

Sea duck slated for a timely return

Celebrate the arrival of possibly the most punctual sea duck in the world at All Buffleheads Day at Roberts Bay, West Bay and Esquimalt Lagoon on Saturday.

Of the bird species that arrive for a winter stopover on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, Buffleheads, small, black and white sea ducks, with iridescent colours, are the most punctual. They always arrive on the 297th day of the solar year — based on 22 years of observation at Shoal Harbour Migratory Sanctuary, Sidney.

The prediction for this year is an early appearance, favouring Oct. 15 (with a variation calculated at plus or minus 3.8 days). This precision might be a world record in timing. A late first wave is expected Oct. 29, and a normal last wave about Nov. 7 and 8.

The day is a national event because all buffleheads migrate synchronously from coast to coast.

On Saturday, Greater Victoria NatureHood will have representatives at the three main Bufflehead hotspots.

You can also take part in the All Buffleheads Day Bird Count, with a chance to win a Robert Bateman bufflehead print for the first six confirmed sightings posted to the @NatureHoodYYJ Facebook, Twitter and Instagram channels.

You can count for as little as 15 minutes or as long as you wish.

You are also welcome to attend a talk by Birds of Canada author, Dr. David Bird, later in the day.

The main event runs 10 a.m. to noon Saturday at Roberts Bay, West Bay (Spinnakers) and Esquimalt Lagoon (Royal Roads side, near the boathouse). The talk runs 6 to 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary, 3873 Swan Lake Rd. Both events are free to join.

For more information, go to swanlake.bc.ca.

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