For 47 years, residents from Saanich and beyond have been converging on the shores of Beaver Lake Park to enjoy the splendour of nature.
This year is no exception, with the popular Strawberry Festival taking place this Sunday (July 7) from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
“The origin of the event was to highlight the agricultural part of Saanich, which obviously has changed over the last 47 years,” said Rob Phillips, Saanich’s community events co-ordinator. “The feel of the event has always been a family picnic by the beach. That’s essentially what we’ve tried to maintain.”
Along with the traditional picnic, new events have been added over the years, expanding the festival’s scope and popularity.
A music stage will feature local bands Cookeilidh, The Shorty Parker Band and Commodores Big Band throughout the day, and groups like the Maritime Museum pirate school will be on hand.
“It’s kind of grown and grown and grown to add all these other things, but people still like the ambiance of the family picnic, that’s what we try to stress,” Phillips said.
The centrepiece of the event continues to be the strawberries and ice cream, both produced locally. Thirty buckets of strawberries come from Mitchell Bros. Farm in Central Saanich, and ice cream, 585 litres, is from Island Farms.
All this amounts to 3,500 servings in one hour dished out by 30 volunteers, “scooping and serving as fast as we possibly can,” Phillips said. Strawberries and ice cream will be served at 2 p.m.
“You’ve got a lower level that is your chaotic kids’ zone and there’s fun things to do, then if you want to take a break from that you come up to the upper level and you can hang out by the beach and listen to music,” Phillips said.
“It’s an event for all ages because you can really pick and choose what you want to do.”