5 Fun Nanaimo Events other than the Nanaimo Marine Festival
The Harbour City is famous for a lot of things: coal, Nanaimo Bars, and the Nanaimo Marine Festival. Thousands attend the annual bathtub races where brave riders face the elements and race the treacherous waters of the Salish Sea in a bathtub. But did you know that there are other festivals and events that take place in town, none of which involve bathtubs? If you're visiting Nanaimo, and looking for something fun to do other than attend the bathtub races at the Nanaimo Marine Festival, read on.
Nanaimo Kinsmen Beer Festival
- Early April
- Beban Social Center
- $30 per person (includes commemorative sampling glass and 5 sampling tickets)
Craft beer lovers unite. The Nanaimo Kinsmen Beer Festival is the Vancouver Island’s largest celebration of local and import beers north of Victoria, BC. Taste a dizzying array of local craft brews from the likes of Phillips Brewing Co, Vancouver Island Brewery, Hoyne Brewing, Wolf Brewing Co. & more. Every year guests can enjoy freshly baked pretzels from Columbia Bakery, authentic Bratwurst from Nesvog Meats, and smoked salmon from St. Jeans Cannery. Admission includes a free commemorative sampling glass, 5 sampling tickets, and all the food you can eat. For more information, visit the official Beer Fest FB page.
Maple Sugar Festival
- Late February
- Beban Park
While there may not necessarily be snow on the ground in the Harbour City, the annual Maple Sugar Festival hosted by the Nanaimo Francophone Association always brings the best of winter to the city for one weekend. Immerse yourself in the Acadian culture of eastern Canada and celebrate with an exciting lineup of Francophone music and live entertainment. Taste authentic maple toffee on snow or dive into a mouthwatering poutine. Fun for the entire family! For the latest information on the upcoming schedule of events, visit the official website.
Silly Boat Regatta
- 3rd week of July
- Maffeo Sutton Park
- Free admission
The Silly Boat Regatta is a fun family event which takes place in Swy-A-Lana Lagoon each July. 50 teams compete in a winner take all boat race. The catch? Teams must build their own boat entirely out of recycled or repurposed materials. All proceeds of this silly race go to the Nanaimo Child Development Centre (NCDC), to provide much needed services for local children in need. To register your team, visit the NCDC website.
Summertime Blues Festival (Nanaimo Blues Festival)
- Maffeo Sutton Park
- Admission: varies
The Nanaimo Blues Society presents their annual celebration of blues music every August at Maffeo Sutton Park. Attendees can enjoy a weekend of live outdoor blues performances featuring a mix of local and international artists. Past headliners have included Canned Heat, Jim Byrnes, and Nanaimo's very own David Gogo. Single day tickets, early bird passes, and full weekend passes are available for purchase in advance. For more information, visit the Summertime Blues Festival website.
Vancouver Island Exhibition Country Fair
- Beban Park
- Admission $4.00-$11.00 (Children 6 & under -free)
Animals, fair fare, and rides oh my! Mid-August marks the arrival of Nanaimo's favourite country fair. Known as the VIEX by locals this 3-day celebration has been an annual tradition since 1894. Amusement park rides, fair vendors, and live entertainment are fun for the entire family. Highlights include the Jack Russell terrier races, animal exhibitions, sheepdog trials, and the parade of tractors. Cash prizes are also handed out for a number of categories including best pig, best pie, and more.