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Explore: Dragon Boat Festival; Pet-A-Palooza; Island Star Party

A roundup of some community events and festivals on Vancouver Island for Aug. 10-16.
Cancer survivors take part in the ceremonial carnation toss during the Victoria Dragon Boat festival in Victoria’s Inner Harbour, Aug. 13, 2022. ADRIAN LAM, TIMES COLONIST

Dragon Boat Festival hits the Inner Harbour

Get ready for a weekend of races as paddlers try to make their boats fly at the Canada Dry Victoria Dragon Boat ­Festival in the Inner Harbour, Aug. 12 and 13.

The event is hosted by the Victoria Dragon Boat Festival Society and presented by Fairway Market, with the B.C. Cancer Foundation as the charity partner.

The Inner harbour will come alive as crews of 20 — 18 paddlers, a steerer in the back and a drummer at the front cut through the water in brightly-coloured boats.

The festival held its first race in the Inner Harbour in 1995 and has returned every year, except for 2020 and 2021, to the delight of participants and spectators alike. The event welcomes both competitive and recreational teams from communities around Vancouver Island, the Lower Mainland, the Interior, Washington State, Oregon and beyond.

Past years has seen up to 80,000 spectators turn up take in the weekend of friendly competition..

Some of the paddlers that will dip their oars into the harbour belong to teams made up of breast cancer survivors of both genders. People can support their favourite team or individual paddler by making a donation. Funds from this year’s campaign will benefit the B.C. Cancer Victoria Centre, one of six regional care centres in the province providing care and support for patients with cancer. Proceeds will also go towards clinical trials and support families across the Island.

At the festival, volunteers will be on-site selling Lights of Courage paper lanterns. The lanterns are a symbol of hope for those battling cancer, with proceeds supporting the B.C. Cancer Foundation.

There will be cultural performances and live music on both days. The races run 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, with medal presentations from 1 p.m. onward on Sunday.

The festival is free for spectators. The event officially opens 1 p.m. Saturday with a Taoist Blessing Ceremony, with all on-shore events taking place at Ship Point in the Inner Harbour.

For more information, go to

Pet-A-Palooza the social event of the year for Fido

Pet-A-Palooza: Day of the Dog, the social event of the year for our furry best friends, returns with races, yoga, superhero dress-up, a beauty contest and a foam party, at Bullen Park, Aug. 12 and 13.

Billed by organizers as North America’s largest pet festival, there is much to do at the pet-friendly event: Watch (or enter) the doodle, corgi, French bulldog or wiener dog races; Settle in for a 30-minute relaxing yoga class with a puppy, brought to you by the Victoria Humane Society. All the puppies at the class are available for adoption.

Space is limited to 25 per class

Got a hot dog? Then take him or her for a dip in a huge pool, complete with pool floaties, music and treats. Get memories of the day with free photos of your dog, dressed up in your choice of cape, mask or paw bands.

Perfect-looking dogs won’t stand a chance at the snaggle-tooth competition, with a chance to win the title of best snaggle tooth in Victoria.

There will be 95 stalls, with vendors and exhibitors, including pet-supply companies, animal-rescue groups, non-profits and charities.

The event raises money for the non-profit Just Love Animals Society through sponsorships and exhibitor spaces. The society is an awareness and education organization that emphasizes holistic pet care and runs campaigns on issues such as spaying and neutering.

In addition to Victoria, similar events are held in Calgary, Vancouver, Santa Monica, Scottsdale, San Diego and San Francisco.

The event is free for both you and your best friend. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at Bullen Park, 1140 Lyall St. The yoga with adoptable puppies class is $20, with tickets in advance at

For more information, go to

See the the Perseid meteor shower at the Island Star Party

Gaze into the night sky — observing the Perseid meteor shower at its peak — during the 2023 Island Star Party, at Bright Angel Park in the Cowichan Valley, Aug. 11 to 13.

The event, sponsored by the Victoria Centre of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada and the Cowichan Valley Starfinders, features telescope tours, special guest speakers, safe solar observing, door prizes (including a telescope) and activities in the park.

“The Island Star Party is the annual get-together for those of us who love to explore the universe and share its wonders with interested members of the public,” said Randy Enkin, president of the Victoria Centre of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada.

Speakers include University of Victoria astronomer William Thompson, who will talk about his work hunting and researching planets orbiting stars outside our solar system, 8:30 p.m. Friday.

Melissa Amenouche of the Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics will speak about her observations of supernovae in distant reaches of the universe, 8:30 p.m. Saturday.

Admission is free. The event runs from 2 p.m. Friday, Aug. 11 through the morning of Sunday, Aug. 13 at Bright Angel Regional Park, 4528 Tigwell Rd., Duncan. For observers who camp overnight on the field — to sleep under the stars — there is a suggested donation of $20 for one night or two (cash only).

Those staying on site after dark are asked to bring a red light — and abstain from using white lights, including the ones on cellphones.

For more information, go to

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