It’s that time of the year; 80,000 people are preparing to celebrate Canada Day in Steveston village!
Brenda Yttri, president of the Steveston Community Society (SCS), and Kirstine Dickson, SCS board member, have co-chaired the Steveston Salmon Festival for the last three years.
Brenda comments, “Kirstine and I are passionate about our community and spend many hours working on changing and enhancing this special event every year. Not only are we a great team but we are also very fortunate to work with a hard working, dedicated group of volunteers who put so much into making July 1 a success.”
“We are happy to celebrate Canada with the 74th Annual Steveston Salmon Festival and look forward to sharing it with our community and everyone that comes from far and wide. This one-day event attracts many visitors that come back to Steveston again and again to take in everything our village has to offer,” she says.
Some changes are in store this year, while established traditions remain.
Pass the syrup, please! Served hot off the griddle from 6:30 to 11:30 a.m., the Pancake Breakfast is run by the Rotary Club. This year the breakfast is located in front of the Martial Arts Building.
Brenda says, “The Rotary is a very enthusiastic group and is excited to do this. They give the Steveston Community Society a donation from their proceeds.”
Hey kids! Chomping at the bit to join the parade? The Children’s Bike Parade begins at 9:30 a.m. No pre-registration is required, just show up before 9:30 a.m. with your decorated bikes, wagons, scooters, skateboards or rollerblades, and be prepared to have a lot of fun! Helmets are mandatory and a responsible adult must accompany all children.
Grab your Canadian flag and wave it high and proud! The big Canada Day Parade begins at 10:00 a.m. Watch for everyone’s favourite Steveston mascot, Sammy the Salmon, who measures a whopping 7’2” tall; he will be aboard the Steveston Community Society’s parade float.
Brenda mentions, “The SCS has limited the number of people per entry this year and will have more volunteers along the route to help things run smoothly.”
New to the festival, two emcees will announce all of the parade’s entrants and provide information about the groups. One emcee will be situated near The Buck & Ear, and the other will be located at the southwest corner of Moncton Street and No. 1 Road.
“We would like everyone coming out to celebrate with us to please be conscious of people around them who may need to sit near the front to see the parade. We would ideally like the front of the viewing area along the streets to be left for anyone with walkers, wheelchairs, young children, etc. Our volunteers will also be helping out these individuals,” says Brenda.
The Easthope parking lot across the street from the community centre is the festival’s hub and home of the Salmon Festival Main Stage.
Drew Savage from 103.5 QM/FM’s Nat and Drew Show will be emceeing the Main Stage again this year.
Opening ceremonies commence at noon on the Main Stage with speeches by dignitaries, and the singing of O Canada followed by entertainment through to 8:00 p.m. Performance details are being finalized, however it is confirmed that Vancouver’s iconic 54-40 will be the Headlining Act!
The parking lot is a licensed Beer Garden area. To date the confirmed sponsors are Fuggles and Warlock Craftworks, and Britannia Brewing Company.
The festival and crowds have grown over the years; people are encouraged to walk, take transit or cycle to the event.
Free bike and stroller valet service is being offered in front of the Community Police Station.
Last year, the ever-popular Children’s Festival relocated from the Steveston playground to the baseball field behind the Community Police Station. The children’s zone is now called Sammy’s Fun Zone and the Family Stage is found here. Entertainment takes place from 12:15 to 4:45 p.m.
Within this kid-friendly zone you will find an inflatable carnival and midway along with some fun new activities.
Like last year, smaller stages will be set up throughout the village. One will be in front of the Gulf of Georgia Cannery while others will be located in front of the Steveston Museum, the Steveston Tram and The Riverside Stage at Imperial Landing. Entertainment takes place at all of these stages throughout the day along with roving performances. Note: The Riverside Stage will continue to host entertainment until 10:15 p.m.
Calling all car buffs – the Richmond Lions Club once again hosts a Car Show with custom cars, classic cars, hot rods and uniquely decorated cars. Doug Harder works tirelessly every year to organize this event and is working on having as many as 74 cars out to celebrate the festival’s 74th year. A stage will feature entertainment including an Elvis impersonator. Cars will be displayed on the east lawn adjacent to the baseball diamond.
New this year is The Merchants and The Market, featuring the Steveston Farmers Market. This area will be set up on No. 1 Road from approximately Bayview to Moncton Streets and will continue along the perimeter of the Steveston Playground. This new addition to the festival provides a chance for Steveston merchants to display and sell their items. Artisans from the Steveston Farmers and Artisans Market will also be represented.
Steveston Playground is a space to picnic and play. Vendors on site will appeal to families.
Trade Show plans are in the works. Brenda has confirmed Rabbitat is being moved to give families an opportunity to pet the rabbits that will be much cooler and happier in their new location.
Other highlights include the Japanese Cultural Show, Horticultural Show, Youth Zone, Martial Arts Demonstrations and an Artisan Gallery.
Inside the community centre is an area where people can sit down and cool off. The SCS is also organizing an art show for festival visitors to admire and have the opportunity to purchase works by local artists.
What would the festival be without Canfisco’s salmon barbecue grilled over open fire pits? Over 3,000 plates are sold each year!
The Salmon Barbecue can be found in front of the beautiful Educational Garden in the community centre’s parking lot. Each plate of salmon is $16 and includes a beverage (to save having to line up a second time). The Japanese-style chow mein also has a huge following; it can be found in front of the Martial Arts building.
Food trucks have shifted to the community centre’s parking lot. A wide variety of food and beverages can also be found at the outdoor food fair.
When the Main Stage performances conclude at 8:00 p.m. it’s time to stroll up to the waterfront to claim a spot to watch the Steveston Salmon Festival’s Fireworks at sunset. Perhaps buy food from one of the food trucks before they depart and bring it along for an evening picnic, or dine at one of Steveston’s many wonderful restaurants.
The Richmond Agricultural and Industrial Society has organized the Steveston Salmon Festival since 1945.
Brenda remarks, “We are very fortunate to be collaborating with a great group from the City of Richmond and our own community centre and city staff who go above and beyond to help us do the best we can do. We have had the Mayor and Councillors and our board’s approval this year to collaborate with the City and it has been a great experience.”
“This is not only the largest special event in Richmond; it has a rich history behind it. It is a true grassroots event that has only been possible to continue this long due to volunteers. We always encourage everyone in Steveston and Richmond to step up and see how they can help out, not only with this event, but any volunteer opportunity in the city,” she concludes.