Explore: Vegan festival in Centennial Square; music and food in Colwood

You can eat plants, love animals and get a taste of nutritious and delicious plant-based food at the Vegtoria Veg Fest, Saturday in Centennial Square.

This is the third year of the festival, which drew about 7,000 people last year to try vegan food, listen to music and hear speakers talk about the ethical, environmental and health reasons for not eating animals.

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“We are the biggest outdoor vegan festival in B.C.,” said Corie Kielbiski, one of the founders of The Vancouver Island Vegan Association, which hosts the festival. “Our first festival was a huge success, drawing about 4,000 people — which totally exceeded our expectations. We realized people were ready to consider a plant-based lifestyle.”

By celebrating veganism, organizers also promote compassion for non-human animals by not consuming them.

This year the festival boasts 65 vegan vendors on site, including cafés, restaurants, grocers, chocolate makers, clothes stores, beauty product manufacturers, a vegan butcher, as well as doughnut and pizza makers.

The businesses are located in Victoria, Vancouver Island and even one from the Lower Mainland that is expected to open a branch in Victoria.

There will also be animal advocacy organizations, such as the Rescue And Sanctuary for Threatened Animals (RASTA) Sanctuary and A Home for Hooves Farm Sanctuary, on hand to give information on the scope of their work representing the interests of animals and their role in society.

The festival’s headline speaker is Amy Sorrano, an animal-rights and vegan advocate who has dedicated her life to animal liberation.

You can also attend a zero-waste vegan workshop with Tosha Lobsinger to learn about the clothing industry, animal agriculture and how to adopt simple lifestyle changes to avoid these products.

Throughout the day, there will be entertainment from a diverse mix of performers, including the Alexander Ferguson Trio, Nicole Liberation and DJ Bonnie Takahashi.

The event is free. It runs from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday in Centennial Square.

For more information, go to vegtoria.ca.

 Colwood beach has eats, beats 

Get ready for Greater Victoria’s biggest beach party of the summer at Eats and Beats at the Beach, Saturday at Lagoon Beach in Colwood.

This is the fifth year of the event, with five live bands, a street food festival, a craft beverage garden, a beach street market and fun stuff happening on sand, sea and sky.

Activities include going for a paddle in a kayak or stand-up paddle board on the ocean. If you prefer to stay on dry ground, you can take an e-bike for a tour. Alternately, you can flex your muscles on a climbing wall. The wall is fully staffed and equipped with an auto-belay system to let you down easy, for a fun, safe, outdoor activity. Stroll along the beach to check out cool driftwood art, with sculptures by local artists including McGnarly and his menagerie of birds.

You can check out the wares at the street market, get your face painted, or grab a beer and sample tasty eats from local food trucks while grooving to live music on the beach all day long.

The event is free to join. It runs 1 to 8 p.m. Saturday about midway along the Lagoon Beach on Ocean Boulevard in Colwood. For more information, go to colwood.ca.

Parksville sand sculptures ready for viewing

The master sand sculptors from around the world have finished their masterpieces, and their creations are ready to accept visitors at the Quality Foods Sand Sculpting Competition and Exhibition, on now until Aug. 18 on Parksville Beach.

Last week, 29 sculptors from all corners of the globe were given 30 hours over four days to create their sculptures from 350 yards of sand, water and a lot of ingenuity.

This year’s theme was Myths and Legends.

The top soloist was Ilya Filimontsev of Russia for Icarus. Second was Enguerrand David of Belgium for Pinnochio on Vacation at Okanagan Lake and third Karen Jean Fralich of Ontario for Royal Guardian.

The doubles category was won by Jacinthe Trudel and Jonathan Bouchard of Quebec for Believe. Second was Sue McGrew (U.S.A.) and Dmitry Klimenko (Russia) for Popcorn for the People. Third went to Wilfred Stijger and Edith van de Wetering for Don’t Fly Too High.

The event is organized by the Parksville Beach Festival Society. Proceeds from donations to see the sculptures — approximately $60,000 per year — support several local non-profit organizations.

Entry to the exhibition is by a suggested donation of $4. The exhibition is open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily until Aug. 18 at Parksville Beach, off Beachside Drive, Parksville. For more information, go to parksvillebeachfest.ca.

Silver screens open outdoors

See movies on the silver screen under the stars at a couple of outdoor movie nights.

Grab some popcorn, bring your own chair and blankets to watch Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope in the Phillips Brewery backyard on Saturday.

You will be transported a long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away at the Movie Under the Maltworks event, part of the Victoria Film Festival.

Admission is $20 and you must be 19 and older. The movie starts at 9 p.m. Saturday, rain or shine in the backyard of Phillips Brewery, 2010 Government St. Limited number of rental chairs available.

• The Township of Esquimalt is hosting a Summer Outdoor Movie series, with Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse showing July 24.

In the event of inclement weather, movies might need to be postponed. Where weather such as rain or wind is questionable, decisions will be made by 3 p.m. on the day of the movie.

Concession is by the Esquimalt Lions Club.

The movie is free to watch. It starts at 9:15 p.m. Wednesday at Bullen Park, 527 Fraser St.

For more information, or for announcements pertaining to cancellations and rescheduling, go to esquimalt.ca.

Ross Bay Villa hosts garden party

You are invited to the Grand B.C. Confederation Day Garden Party at the Ross Bay Villa on Sunday.

Accept the invitation and you will be transported back in time to a period garden party with gentle music, heritage displays, Victorian children’s games and tea and cakes.

You can also take a tour of the fully restored 1865 Victorian house museum with costumed interpreters.

The gift shop will be open and there will also be a plant sale.

Proceeds from the cash-only event go toward conservation, restoration and maintenance of the historic site.

Admission and the tour is free. Tea and cake is $5, with free refreshments for children. The event runs 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday at Ross Bay Villa, 1490 Fairfield Rd. For more information, go to rossbayvilla.org.

CRD walk follows path of the dragonfly

Take an up-close and personal look at the amazing world of dragonflies at Bejewelled Dragons of the Pond, a guided walk with CRD Parks at Elk/Beaver Lake Regional Park on Friday.

Our recent rains have resulted in damp conditions beneficial to mosquitoes and other small insects. This is good news for dragonflies, their natural predator.

Take a walk with a CRD Parks naturalist to see dragonflies zigging and zagging in search of their prey across the wetlands.

Nets and field guides will be available for use.

This program is free to join. It runs 1 to 2:30 p.m. Friday from the Equestrian Centre parking lot off Beaver Lake Road.

The area is served by B.C. Transit Nos. 70, 72 or 75.

Try to arrive 10 minutes before the start of the program. Please leave pets at home. For more information, go to crd.bc.ca/parks

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