Families get to explore Nanaimo’s diverse culture through First Nations and Chinese dragon dances, African drumming, Ukrainian performances and multicultural food. At the children’s tent, little ones can try their hands at origami and unique games from different countries.
Free. Historic Wesley Street In the Old City Quarter, Nanaimo. 250-754-8141; dnbia.ca/events/ multicultural-festival-0
Atlin Arts & Music Festival
There’s great international music to enjoy at the annual Atlin festival. Equally delightful is the off-stage entertainment that focuses on families: Watch stilt walkers, circus artists, storytellers and more.
Prices vary; youth are half price, children 12 and under free. Various locations in Atlin. 857-335-1428; atlinfestival.ca
Harrison Festival of the Arts
This family-friendly festival, set against the magnificent mountains and sandy beaches of Harrison Lake, features international music, visual arts, theatre, craft markets and workshops. On Children’s Day (July 11), kids can explore the arts at the giant sandbox, playdough table and water-play area. If that isn’t enough, they can burn off their energy rock climbing, or dribbling a soccer ball during the organized drills.
Prices for performances vary; Children’s Day admission to site is $6 plus HST. Harrison Hot Springs. 604-796-3664; harrisonfestival.com
Billy Barker Days
It’s one of the largest free festivals in the province, with a ton of entertainment for all ages, including a parade, midway rides, horseshoe tournament, a big rig show, kids’ treasure hunt, roller derby and stock car races. Dress up in an 1860s costume and play the part of a great gold digger. The festival ends with a glorious fireworks display.
Free. 701 Carson Ave. (Lebourdais Park), Quesnel. 250-992-1234; billybarkerdays.ca
Nanaimo Marine Festival and World Championship Bathtub Race
Bathtub racing — the “world’s cleanest sport” — is thehighlight of this festival. There’s even a children’s mini regatta, plus face painting and games.
Free. Nanaimo Harbour; Maffeo Sutton Park on the inner harbour and other locations throughout Nanaimo. 250-753-7223; bathtubbing.com
Prince George Exhibition
Celebrating its centennial year, this exhibition promises a bigger-than-ever party with magic shows, barrel racing, bull riding, a tractor parade and one of the largest fireworks displays in the region.
$10 and up; kids under 4 free. Exhibition Park, Off Ospika Blvd. and 18TH Ave. 250-563-4096; pg-x.com
Abbotsford International Airshow
You’ll be captivated as a fleet of aircraft takes to the sky in one of the biggest air shows in Canada. Check out the Canadian Forces Snowbirds and Parachute Team, U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds and planes from the Heritage Flight Museum.
$12 and up. Abbotsford Airport. 604-852-8511, 855-852-8511 (Toll free); abbotsfordairshow.com
The Vancouver Island Exhibition
Known as the VIEX, this old-fashioned country fair has served up lots of entertainment for the entire herd over its 118-year history. Families delight in the accomplishments of local farmers displaying their animals, homegrown veggies or fresh-fruit jellies. Kids will also be captivated by magic and pet shows, following carnival rides at the midway.
$4-$11; Children 6 and under free. #4 – 2300 BOWEN RD., NANAIMO. 250-758-3247; viex.ca