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Explore: Fossil fair, folk fest and more

As many as 1,200 amateur paleontologists are expected to turn up to see ancient fossils of animals and plants from as long ago as 550 million years at the Victoria Palaeontology Society’s Fossil Fair this weekend.
Paleontologist Tom Cockburn inspects a fossilized molar from the extinct mammal Desmostylus.

As many as 1,200 amateur paleontologists are expected to turn up to see ancient fossils of animals and plants from as long ago as 550 million years at the Victoria Palaeontology Society’s Fossil Fair this weekend.

The fair, in its 19th year, is an opportunity to see a rich and diverse collection of fossils found on Vancouver Island, other parts of British Columbia and other areas.

“There is something for everyone,” said Tom Cockburn, chairman of the society, which was created in 1995.

“The large dinosaur femur is always popular, but we also have fossils that can only be seen under a microscope.”

The fair features fossils of animals and plants from the Cambrian (550 million years ago) to the end of the last Ice Age (10,000 years ago). On display will be dinosaur bones, ammonites, trilobites, corals, mollusks, insects, giant palm leaves and microscopic plants and animals.

The public is invited to bring in fossils for identification.

“We usually get people bringing in items they are convinced are fossils — but are actually rocks with interesting shapes,” Cockburn said. “We call these pseudo-fossils and they can be visually fascinating.”

Children can take part in a fossil scavenger hunt with prizes, fossil colouring, rubbings and stampings, and the opportunity to look through microscopes.

The Victoria Palaeontology Society co-operates with professional paleontologists, forwarding information on some of the scientific contributions made by members, such as the discovery and naming of new species. All scientifically important fossils are donated to the Royal British Columbia Museum.

Admission is by donation. The event runs 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary, 3873 Swan Lake Rd. Details at

Sip and sup at Esquimalt folk fest

The spirit of Oktoberfest comes early this year at Esquimalt’s International MarchtoberFest Folk Festival this weekend.

The festival features comedians Curran Dobbs and Johnny Love, harpist Jazzy McIntosh, the Asmira Bellydancers, musicians Dave Harris and Landen Shaw, and local bands Groove Kitchen, Yes Dear and Sets in the West at Archie Browning Sports Centre, 1151 Esquimalt Rd.

Vendors include nine craft breweries serving 12-ounce pours, cideries and seven local restaurants. All food vendors will serve small, finger-food menu items for $5.

Food vendors include: The Lions Club, Jellied Ales, The Greek Community, Sarpino’s Pizzeria, Fifteen Fifty’s, Logan’s Pub, Casa Nova and Baconalooza.

Admission is $25 on Saturday, $20 on Sunday, $35 for the weekend and $65 for the Medieval VIP Lounge.

Buy tickets at Lyle’s Place, Logan’s Pub, Moon and Len Fraser Barber Shop or Military discounts apply on advance tickets.

Details at 250-686-3326 or

Palm service will benefit clients of Our Place

The Lutheran Church of the Cross and St. Luke Cedar Hill Anglican Church are celebrating Palm Sunday with Palm/Passion service followed by a Community Palm Procession.

The service begins at the Church of the Cross with the blessing of palms and the blessing of coats and blankets, which will be donated to the clients of Our Place Society.

Attendees are encouraged to bring new and gently used blankets as well as coats to the service.

Following the blessing, the congregation is invited to join a Palm Procession, crossing Cedar Hill Cross Road and Cedar Hill Road, to St. Luke’s Cedar Hill Anglican Church, where the service will continue.

Light refreshments will be served at St. Luke’s after the service.

The service begins at 10 a.m. Sunday at the Lutheran Church of the Cross, 3787 Cedar Hill Rd. For information, call 250-477-6741 or visit

Scrabble tourney for kids’ literacy

Show off your fancy words at the Sooke Scrabble Tournament, a fundraiser for the Edward Milne Community School Society on Saturday.

Proceeds will be split between the society’s Play and Learn Camp, which helps youngsters from six to nine catch up on literacy skills on the summer break, and the Sooke Region Literacy Task Group’s book-buying program for young readers.

Players can register in casual or competitive categories.

Admission is $10 for players with a $2 suggested donation for spectators. The event runs

from 1-5 p.m. Saturday at Edward Milne Community School, 6218 Sooke Rd.

To register, call 250-642-6371. For details, go to