Explore: Luxton Fall Fair, Colwood Seaside Festival, One Wave Gathering

The Luxton Fall Fair returns Friday, Saturday and Sunday for its 109th year.

The annual community event is held at the Luxton Fairgrounds, located on Marwood Avenue near Happy Valley Elementary School.

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Spokeswoman Sandy West said it takes plenty of volunteers to put on the annual fair, which aims to have a bit of everything for people to enjoy.

New this year will be an exhibit by the CFB Esquimalt Model Railway Club that takes up half of a building, said West.

Among the returning attractions is Art in the Barn, which includes blacksmiths’ artistic creations. Many other favourites keep the public coming back, including antique-equipment displays.

One of the big draws is the sand drags, where vehicles face the challenge of a sandy surface.

The event takes place in the old rodeo ring Saturday and Sunday, starting at noon each day, West said. “We do have covered stands, whatever weather it is.”

West said the Luxton event doesn’t quite have the scope of the larger Saanich Fair, which draws from the many farms still active on the Saanich Peninsula. “They do get all the animals and all the 4-H kids and everything.”

Local history gets its share of attention at Luxton, however, West said.

“We have the Luxton heritage display upstairs in the Middleton Hall,” she said. “It shows all the history of the Happy Valley/Luxton area and Langford.”

A popular part of the fall fair is the contests the public can enter, vying for prizes in everything from baking and preserves to growing carnivorous plants — which include the Venus flytrap, sundew plants and pitcher plants.

“There’s a huge kids’ section,” West said. “They can enter pretty well everything. Lots of younger kids are taking fantastic pictures, it’s unbelievable.”

Entries can be made up to 5 p.m. today at the fairgrounds.

West said the West Coast Amusements midway should bring out its usual crowds, with hours set at 3-10 p.m. Friday, noon to 10 p.m. Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday.

Vendors, local entertainment and food stalls are also on the agenda, West said. “We have baron of beef, corn on the cob. There’s a tea room that has homemade pies and ice cream and goodies.”

Proceeds from the fall fair go to upkeep of the fairgrounds.


Colwood fest offers free rides, portraits

Free caricature portraits and horse-drawn carriage rides along an oceanside national historic site are just some of the touches that make the Colwood Seaside Festival unique.

The one-day community festival, in its third year, takes place Saturday at Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Site, 603 Fort Rodd Hill Rd.

“It’s such a hidden jewel,” said organizer Marcy Lalande. “It’s breathtaking.”

Festivities start at 10 a.m. and run to 4 p.m.

“Many activities you do with your kids are expensive, but this is a day of free activities that will keep your kids — kids of all ages — entertained,” said Lalande.

Along with five-minute horse-drawn carriage rides by Victoria Carriage Tours along the oceanfront and caricature portraits funded by Telus, attractions include live music by Smiley Brothers, Cookeildh and the Big Weee, magic, kids’ crafts and interactive heritage displays.

Face painting will be done by Sparkle Shack and Danger By Design.

There’s a nominal entrance free for the national historic site, but given the restorations that have been done at Ford Rodd Hill, it’s a small price to pay for preserving the site, said Lalande.

About 40 artists will also be at work as part of the Paint-in at the Fort Art Contest with Coast Collective.

Their adjudicated artwork will be offered for sale afterwards, with half the proceeds donated by the artists for next year’s festival, said Lalande.

Disguise the Limit is offering a vintage dress-up and selfie station, and Parks Canada will have a green screen to step into and take heritage photos.

Vendors from the Q Centre Market will also be on site, along with food trucks including Grilled to the Mac, Greek on the Street, Donut Delights and Road Treasure Treats.

Festival goers are welcome to bring a picnic.

A shuttle will be provided from the park and ride at Island Highway and Ocean Boulevard, said Lalande.

Fort Rodd Hill’s regular entrance rates are in effect: Youth under 17 are admitted free, while adults pay $3.90 and seniors $3.40.

— Cindy E. Harnett


Fire knife dancer, slack-key guitarist perform at One Wave

A Samoan fire knife dancer, a Polynesian slack-key guitarist and the Lekwungen Dancers headline a free community celebration of Pacific Indigenous peoples at Centennial Square on Saturday.

The 11th annual One Wave Gathering will showcase Indigenous arts and culture as well as the work of non-governmental organizations working on social justice and environmental issues.

“This is about building community and also building solidarity for our shared environment,” said April Ingham, executive director of the Pacific Peoples’ Partnership, which is hosting the event in conjunction with the Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations.

The gathering kicks off at noon and will feature performances by the Lekwungen Dancers; Anela Kahiamoe, a Polynesian slack-key guitarist; the Kwakiutl Dancers; Pearls of the South Pacific with Samoan fire knife dancer Leti To’omalatai; and, finally, the Unity Drummers.

In addition, there’ll be art, science and cultural activities for families as well as an Indigenous artists’ village.

“We’re going to have all kinds of artists that people don’t normally get to see,” Ingham said.

”It’s a free, family-friendly event, so come and check it out and learn how you can be involved in becoming a steward for our shared environment and working in solidarity with peoples of the Pacific.”

Meanwhile, the Media Net Flux Gallery at 821 Fort St. features a digital media tribute to last year’s One Wave Gathering, in which temporary longhouses were set up on the lawn of the B.C. legislature, a former Lekwungen village site. The exhibition runs until Saturday at the gallery, which is open from noon to 5 p.m.

— Lindsay Kines


Robot-building teens gather for game unveiling

Their mission — should they choose to accept it — will be unveiled Saturday at the University of Victoria.

That’s when high school teams from Greater Victoria will join students around the world for the release of Rover Ruckus, a new game in the FIRST Tech Challenge robotics competition.

“We expect the robot will look something like a Mars rover,” said Christine Nicholls, organizer of the FIRST Tech events and challenge competitions in B.C. “Teams from all over the world will be seeing the game, then trying to develop a robot to play that game. They’ll be thinking about what they need the robot to do.”

Segway inventor Dean Kamen created FIRST — For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology — in 1989 to get young people interested in careers in science and technology.

“It develops not just their interest, but their communication, leadership and teamwork skills so they can be the leaders of the science, technology, engineering and math,” said Nicholls.

“Young people who get involved in athletics in school get recognition. FIRST is about trying to make science and technology an equally big deal. We have big competitions and the kids can win trophies to bring back to their schools and put in the trophy cases.”

The event, which will be held at the Engineering and Computer Science Building from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., will include a talk by Parvez Kumar, a retired aerospace engineer from the Canadian Space Agency.

There will be four workshops to help the students prepare for the start of their season. And students have been asked to bring robots from last year’s challenge.

“We like to have robots around anytime we can,” said Nicholls. “It’s fun for the new teams to see the old robots, too.”

Students have a great time and often don’t realize what they’re learning, she said.

“It’s a different sort of opportunity. A very hands-on way of learning can appeal to a broader selection of young people.”

For information see firstroboticsbc.org.

— Louise Dickson


Bring your strut factor to Salt Spring

Salt Spring Island’s fall fair on Saturday and Sunday is packed with hundreds of competitions — and a sense of humour.

The rooster-calling contest is billed as a fun event with judging based on “overall calling ability and strut factor.”

Zucchini races, restored vehicles, scarecrows, a garden tractor pull, a pet parade and 4-H events are among highlights.

Competitors are bringing in their best fruits and veggies and flowers. There’s a class for the funniest or most-unusual looking vegetable.

Juniors have their own special categories.

The Island’s thriving arts community is represented in categories such as needlework, spinning, weaving and fibre arts, basketry, and photography.

A fairway, games, demonstrations and displays, and food are also featured.

Events are held at the Salt Spring Island Farmers’ Institute at 351 Rainbow Rd. The fair runs from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day.


Hay: it’s threshing time at Heritage Acres

Take a walk back in time with a visit to Heritage Acres this weekend for the Fall Threshing Event in Central Saanich.

A hay-threshing machine and steam and gas engines will be on display Saturday and Sunday between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. at Heritage Acres, 7321 Lochside Drive.

All buildings will be open, as is the barbecue and pantry kitchen. Visitors can stop in at the old schoolhouse and imagine themselves living in an old log house or attending church services in the small country chapel.

Watch how a blacksmith plies his trade and visit the museum and its displays of antique items, including games, medical equipment, printing and typesetting machines, sewing and knitting machines, food and food preparation items and, of course, farm equipment.

Wander down to the pond and see the Newman Boathouse with all its old and restored marine artifacts or take a hike on the forest trail.

Ride the peninsula’s only steam-powered hay wagon or ride the big CASE steam engine in the front field.

Gate admission is $10 a car. Trains run from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. (by donation).


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