Fernfest, Fernwood Bites bigger than ever

Fernwood events draw a crowd

Rocky Mountain Rebel Music played its first gig at Fernfest three years ago, and the funky-reggae band is back as Saturday’s headliner for this year’s festival.

“They agreed to play because they have their roots here,” said event co-ordinator with the Fernwood Neighbourhood Resource Group, Josh Schmidt.

Like many neighbourhood festivals, Fernfest is like a big block party with food and entertainment. What’s different is the scale, Schmidt said.

“It’s the biggest year yet,” he said, adding past festivals have attracted 2,000. “It’s a great example of community getting together to make things happen.”

Events kick off at 5 p.m. Friday with opening ceremonies, followed by live music, a beer garden, barbecue and fashion show.

“We roll out the red carpet,” said Schmidt, adding models of all ages sport vintage clothing with hair and makeup by local artists. Later, the DJs take over.

A 9 a.m. Saturday, a pancake breakfast launches 13 hours of activity, including an artisan market and live music ranging from country to hipster to tribal. Catch a family bike parade at 11 a.m., then pick up a paint brush to redecorate the Volkswagen of Fernwood’s famous bubble man, Terry Wilson.

On Sunday, the festival transforms into a delectable fundraiser, with Vancouver Island eateries, wineries, breweries and more. Tickets to Fernwood Bites, 5:30 to 8 p.m., buys unlimited tastings, live jazz and silent auction. Proceeds go to the Neighbourhood Resource Group’s latest acquisition, the Spring Ridge Common.

Leased to the group for $1, the common garden needs a new irrigation system and new tools.

All the events happen at Fernwood Square, 1284 Gladstone Ave, June 24 – 26.

rholmen@vicnews.com