Canada Day is one of Steveston’s most anticipated days of the year. It’s a day to wear red and white, slap on some sunscreen and head into the village to join 80,000 of your closest friends and neighbours for a day of celebration at the Steveston Salmon Festival.
This year some exciting changes are in store and established favourites remain.
Pass the syrup, please! Served hot off the griddle from 6:30 to 11:30 a.m., the Pancake Breakfast can now be found in the southeast corner of the playground.
“I Love a Parade!” The kids’ bike parade begins at 9:30 a.m. Pre-registration is not 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.
The big Canada Day parade starts at 10:00 a.m. and this event is synonymous with the festival. Find a good spot to cheer on participants and wave your Canadian flag.
The Festival’s administrative coordinator Janice Froese says, “We don’t want to give away all of the surprises,” but she can reveal mascots, politicians, celebrities, community groups and vintage cars will be joined by marching bands, more floats and Sammy the Salmon will proudly lead Steveston Community Society’s float. You may even spot some mermaids and mermen.
The parking lot across the street from the Steveston Community Centre is the festival’s hub; this is the home of the Mainstage, food trucks and a licensed area hosted by Fuggles & Warlock Craftworks. QM/FM morning radio host Drew Savage is this year’s emcee. Opening ceremonies commence at noon with speeches by dignitaries, and the singing of “O Canada” followed by an afternoon of great entertainment including iconic Canadian rock band Honeymoon Suite, who will take the stage at 5:00pm.
Like many Canadians, Janice confesses, “My heart swells on July 1 when people show their national pride.”
People are encouraged to walk, take transit or cycle to the event. This year free bike and stroller valet service is being offered in front of the Community Police Station.
Both the festival and the crowds have grown over the last 10 years, and as a result, the popular (and often crowded) Children’s Festival has relocated from the Steveston playground to the baseball field behind the Community Police Station. This change allows for extra room to browse exhibitors’ booths, and unites an inflatable carnival and games with children’s entertainment in one kid-friendly location.
Janice says with a laugh, “Home plate will be like a kiddie mosh pit.” The park is sure to be filled with fans singing along with Charlotte Diamond and the Hug Bug Band. A gymnastic performance by Gymnaestrada, musician duo Pancho & Sal, Richmond Youth Honour Choir, Angela Brown the “Ta Daa Lady” and award winning juggler Matt Henry “Trained Human” will also take the stage.
Families can now enjoy Steveston playground as a space for picnics and playtime.
Calling all car buffs – the Richmond Lions Club once again hosts a car show. As many as 50 custom cars, classic cars, hot rods and uniquely decorated art cars will be on display on the east lawn adjacent to the baseball diamond.
Do you enjoy visiting the festival’s Trade Show? This year you can look forward to a new demo stage.
Other highlights include the Japanese Cultural Show, Horticultural Show, Youth Festival, Martial Arts Demonstrations and an Artisan Gallery.
What would the salmon festival be without Canfisco’s salmon barbecue grilled over open fire pits? Over 3,000 plates are sold each year!
The barbecue can be found in front of the community garden in Steveston Community Centre’s parking lot. Each plate of salmon includes a beverage to save having to line up a second time.
The Japanese-style chow mein also has a huge following. “People come for the salmon or chow mein,” says Janice. A wide variety of food and beverages can also be found at the outdoor food fair. If you are craving shelter from the sun and some dessert, head inside Steveston Community Centre where vendor Sweet Thea’s pie and ice cream are sold.
When the Mainstage performances conclude at 7:00 p.m. it’s time to start thinking about strolling up to the waterfront to claim a spot to watch the City of Richmond’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.
Organized by the Richmond Agricultural and Industrial Society since 1945, hundreds of volunteers and generous sponsors join forces to make the Steveston Salmon Festival possible each year. Thank you one and all.
On the following pages you will find full festival details. Enjoy celebrating Canada’s 151st birthday!