Summer Festivals in the Creston Valley
Strawberries, Starbelly and Yahk... Oh my!
by Ilana Cameron
I love swimming in the summer almost more than anything — yes sometimes even more than coffee. But I also have a soft spot for all the various types of events we get in the summer, music festivals under the stars, outdoor picnics and community parades. It's a season for celebrating and enjoying the warm nights and long days.
This is a short guide to the top three festivals or events happening in this area. There is also information about places that have great summer programs — take a guided canoe tour with the kids at the Wildlife Centre or dance to a band at an outdoor stage.
The 24th Annual Strawberry Social
When: June 22, 1-4 pm
Where: Kootenay Bay - Yasodhara Ashram
Highlights: Family friendly, strawberry shortcake, used book sale.
Come for the strawberry shortcake, stay for the activities; Dance performances by Nelson dance powerhouse Slava Doval, youth dance performances, an eclectic used book sale and beautiful grounds with unique buildings to explore.
Yasodhara is located just a short drive north of the Kootenay Lake ferry. It was founded in 1960 as a yoga and retreat centre for all faiths by Swami Sivananda Radha. They welcome people of all ages and offer a large variety of programs including intensives, teacher certifications as well as and service and study programs.
I have yet to make it to the famous Strawberry Social but I have visited Yasodhara Ashram several times. The most memorable was a sitar concert with the Mishra brothers from India in the original Temple of Light. Watch their events page as they do host classes and events there throughout the year. The newly rebuilt Temple of Life — the original building was destroyed by fire in 2014 — is an outstanding design by Patkau Architects for which they received the Canadian Wood Council Design Innovation Award for it's design.
"Open to sky, to horizon, to every direction in welcome; on a fixed axis, in free form, turning to all in support of an enduring vision; a place to collect and to introspect: The Temple of Light." - Patkau Architects
When: August 10, 2019, 12-9ish
Highlights: A parade, live music, food, and fun and games for the whole family
Not only is the bucolic town of Yahk located right on the beautiful and swimmable Goat River but they also have several great community events including their one day event, Summerfest. If you love a family friendly low-key event this one is for you. The whole community takes part, and it's a great opportunity to make the most out of a small town. There will be a parade, outdoor food, games for kids and for the young at heart at the Provincial campground or local motel, or just come for the day.
Be sure to check out the Yahk Soap Company and the adorable goats that live atop their roof. Even if it isn't a sweltering hot day, you gotta get a cone from Two Scoop Steve right next door... more of a local hang out spot than an ice cream shop.
I popped my tire in Yahk once so I had to throw on a spare tire. I didn't have one or two, but several locals all pitch in to help me get back on the road again. If that doesn't cry friendly townsfolk, I don't know what does.
When: July 19-20
Friday: 5:30 pm-12:30 pm, Saturday 9 am-1 am
Budget: $25-$185 (Festival) $42 (Camping)
Where: In the Crawford Bay field, 80 km drive from Creston
Highlights: A weekend of live music featuring rising stars and returning festival favourites from BC and the world, including The Wild Turkeys who played the first festival in 1999!
I love the vibe of small-town festivals. You feel like you are pulling back a curtain, being let into a community and you get to be part of it for one magical weekend.
Starbelly Jam features two live music stages, food vendors, and a parade. There is an exceptional playground, a beach 20 minutes away by foot and the community of Crawford Bay with it's restaurants and many artisans to check out. You can camp at the festival or at one of the many campgrounds in the area, there are also resorts, motels, RV parks and lodges. This year to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the festival they are truly changing it up. They've shifted it to a two day festival with longer hours on Friday and Saturday. Also, they are opening it up for festival goers to experience the whole area by having shows and events in and around the community.
East Shore Food Roots is putting on a summer market featuring artisans and producers from the Creston Valley Kootenay Lake region. It runs from 10 am-3 pm at the Shabby Shack Farm across from the Crawford Bay Store. Acts will perform in several different locations including at the Gray Creek Hall, in restaurants and local pubs. There will also be group mountain bike rides on the numerous trail systems and so much more.
Besides the Wild Turkeys, other returning artists include Adam Shaikh and BCDC who will headline Friday night. New artists to the festival include Hamsa Hamsa from Barcelona, and the group that is at the forefront of indigenous hip hop in Canada the Snotty Nose Rez Kids. There is always music for all interests and for all ages.Click on this link to see the entire 2019 festival line-up.
Come check out a festival that isn't too big or too small. It's just right.
Can't make it for any of these festivals? Don't worry, there's fun to be had every week!
Jimmy's Pub and Grill - They frequently have great live music, karaoke nights, dj's and other fun events.
Baillie Grohman - Open late on a couple of Friday nights in the summer, they feature a different food truck each time as well as live entertainment.
Fly in the Fibre - This coffee and fibre shop is hopping day and night. They recently put on a weekend knitting retreat, they have weekly classes and every Tuesday evening is a free drop-in to work on your project with other knitters, spinners, felters and weavers.
Also check out these links for ongoing summer activities!