The event Saanich families have waited two full years for arrives next week when the fun-filled Family Arts Festival returns to the Cedar Hill Recreation and Arts Centre – and in a big way!
Welcoming families from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., the annual festival (sidelined in 2021 and 2022 due to pandemic protocols) is a celebration of culture, imagination, creativity and discovery, notes Sarah Faria, Events Programmer with Saanich Community Services.
“It’s a great place to try something new, and celebrate Family Day together,” Sarah says, noting that in addition to arts activities, families will also enjoy a full line-up of live cultural entertainment, including the lək̓ʷəŋən Traditional Dancers, Chinese Dance Victoria, Mr. Mojo, ISSAMBA’s Mamadou, Ging Wu West Lion Dancers, and Eden Poynter.
Facilitators from Cedar Hill Arts Centre and the Greater Victoria arts and culture community will provide lots of hands-on opportunities – a great way to dabble in an arts activity you might not have tried before. Try clay hand-building in the pottery studio, mask-making with Kaleidoscope Theatre, making your own instrument with the Victoria Conservatory of Music, getting creative with LEGO® and robotics and so much more.
Sarah suggests arriving early, “and if an activity you want to try is occupied, check out another one, enjoy the performances, or go for a walk around the chip trail, then come back to it later. There’s just so much to do!”
Another great tip: “Don’t forget a reusable bag to bring home all the things you’ll be making at the festival. You can even make a bag at the hands-on station led by the University of Victoria’s English Language Centre and its student volunteers!”
After working up an appetite, families will find nourishing local eats from Kattia’s Kitchen, serving authentic Mexican food, and Greek on the Street (available for purchase).
While parking may be busy in the main lot, there will be additional space in the gravel parking area off Finlayson St. or nearby at Doncaster Elementary. There are bike racks outside the centre and busing is encouraged.
Volunteers are also welcome – come help make one of Saanich’s favourite family events a success! Apply online or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Outside the festival, Cedar Hill Recreation Centre will also be open for holiday hours, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., for those wanting to use the fitness and racquet sports facilities.
More ways to celebrate Family Day with Saanich Recreation
While the Family Arts Festival is the marquee Family Day event for Saanich Parks, Recreation and Community Services, there’s lots more fun to be had!
• At Gordon Head Recreation Centre, open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. for the holiday, enjoy a Family Swim from 10 a.m. to noon and a Fun Swim from 1 to 3:30 p.m.
• At Saanich Commonwealth Place (SCP), two Fun Swims are planned: 10 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m. In between, a Family Swim welcomes families from noon to 1 p.m. Beyond the holiday hours at the pool (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) the SCP weight room also welcomes guests from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
• At G.R. Pearkes Recreation Centre, open for the holiday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., families can enjoy two Everyone Welcome Skates, the first from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and the second from 1 to 2:30 p.m.
Other than the free Family Arts Festival, all activities require a regular admission fee or a Saanich Access Pass, good for all Saanich recreation centres and available in adult, senior, student, youth and family pricing.