Close encounters of the marine kind will delight audiences this weekend as a crew of colourful characters welcome crowds to the Richmond Maritime Festival Friday through Sunday at the Britannia Shipyards, National Historic Site.
Enchanting mermaids, marauding pirates and other maritime creatures will be joined this year, by Rikki the Rat, a scabrous shipyard denizen who will share tales of life on the edges of the historic Steveston waterfront.
Festival goers will also be entertained by live music, roving performers, visual artists, stilt walkers, puppets, storytellers, dancers and more. Children of all ages will learn local lore, and try their hand at a unique variety of arts and crafts, from creating a driftwood mandala to knitting a tree cosy. There will also be lots of tempting offerings from a variety of food and drink vendors.
Celebrating its 125th anniversary, Britannia Shipyard’s heritage features include a 190-metre long (600-foot) dock, where a flotilla of beautiful and historic boats and ships will be available for viewing and boarding. This year’s ship line-up includes the classic wooden sailing ship Providence. Built as a fishing schooner in Denmark in 1903 and later part of the Danish Navy for more than 40 years, the Providence also spent 15 years as a working fishing boat on BC’s West Coast. The historic SS Master steam tug, with its beloved and loud, steam-powered ship horn, will also be back at the Britannia dock.
BC’s oldest shipyard will be transformed with festive, maritime-themed décor, spontaneous performances and ingenious exhibits in every nook and cranny of the naturally spectacular 3.5-hectare (8.5-acre) site. Visitors can also tour Britannia’s many historic buildings, several of which have been restored to reflect their original roles in the West Coast fishing industry.
This year’s festival will run three full days from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily from Friday, August 8
to Sunday, August 10. The Richmond Maritime Festival is produced by the City of Richmond. The presenting sponsor is Port Metro Vancouver.
Opening night of the festival will feature an outdoor evening concert featuring the roots blues, zydeco, swamp pop and folk sounds of the Swamp Dogs performing from 5 to 7 p.m. on the YVR Community Stage.
New this year, festival goers can also purchase special Richmond Maritime Festival collector’s buttons, created by local youth and on sale throughout the site for a minimum donation of $2.
For more details, visit the festival website at www.richmondmaritimefestival.ca or the festival Facebook page atwww.facebook.com/RichmondMaritimeFestival. Updates can also be found on Twitter by following @FunRichmond.
The Richmond Maritime Festival Community Stage is presented by Vancouver International Airport. Gold Sponsors are Coast Capital Savings and Canadian Western Bank. Event Partners are RE/MAX Lower Mainland Agents and Fraser Surrey Docks. Media sponsors are CTV, QM/FM, 24 Hours and the Richmond Review. Producing Partners are Canadian Heritage, the Richmond Arts Coalition and Britannia Heritage Shipyard Society.
The Richmond Maritime Festival is a Richmond Days of Summer event. Richmond Days of Summer is presented by Vancouver International Airport. For details on more great events all summer long, visit www.richmonddaysofsummer.ca.