Every year on the second Sunday of August, nestled along the Bowker Creek banks, a blink-and-you-might-miss-it art market materializes.
Residents can meander along the path where artists come to display their craft — and their crafts.
The Bowker Creek Brush-Up event is 18 years in the running, and entirely led by the Oak Bay Community Artists Society. This quaint tradition is a showcase for members to show and sell their art, with the only requirement being an ongoing demonstration to contribute to community engagement while also marketing their own skills.
“They’re showing how their medium works and what the process is for what they’re exhibiting and selling,” Flo-Elle Watson, president of the society, said.
Watson said the event usually garners about 3,000 spectators from around the community, with tents and tables spread out along Armstrong Avenue to Hamsphire Road in Oak Bay.
“It’s very popular and it’s outdoors. People bring their dogs and their bikes and walk through with their families,” she said.
Watson said there’s going to be about 45 artists that come out to display their works this year, showcasing a range of mediums from canvas painting to macramé and, at Watson’s own booth, porcelain painting.
There’s also going to be a tent set up by the local recreation centre that will have activities for the little ones like making paper crowns. Watson said parents often allow themselves to also indulge in the small-town kitsch and make a craft for themselves too.
It’s one of the many ways the event brings the community together.
“It’s just a really nice event and everyone seems to enjoy it,” she said.
This year, the function lands on Aug. 13, and will open at 11 a.m. sharp with welcome messages from the town crier and Watson herself. From then until 4:30 p.m., people are encouraged to drop by and enjoy the festivities.
Watson said there will also be a barbecue, and some other community booths, and local musical entertainment to provide the day with a soundtrack.
“Maybe I shouldn’t say this … but in 18 years, we’ve never had rain,” Watson said, before pausing to knock on wood.
Watson said planning has been happening behind the scenes since March.
“It’s a long process, inviting people and everything. When it comes, that is the excitement. I know people are going to come because people are already asking about it.”