This weekend kicks off the unofficial summer season with a trio of events happening in Greater Victoria, including a new event on Fort Street.
The 61st annual Oak Bay Tea Party begins Friday, featuring a multitude of events including amusement park rides, crafts, a parade, and the mayor’s floating teacup race.
The event helps community groups such as Kiwanis and Lions Club raise funds.
“It’s not just a party for Oak Bay, it’s a party for the whole Capital Regional District. People come from all over, from Sooke, Sidney, Highlands, everywhere, to come and enjoy the Oak Bay Tea Party,” said Oak Bay Councillor Hazel Braithwaite.
Over 40 groups will be taking part in a parade which will start at Windsor Park. The Oak Bay Tea Party kicks off at 4 p.m. on Friday at Willows Beach.
Greater Victoria will also host a new event as part of the new Downtown Revitalization Program.
Upper Fort StreetFest will kick off for the first time on Saturday, on the block between Cook Street and Vancouver Street. The event will feature a beer garden, a market of local vendors, live music, crafts, and a dunk tank.
“The Downtown Victoria Business Association expanded its boundaries last year and this is part of expanded boundaries. These businesses just wanted to have a celebration,” said Jeff Bray, Executive Director of the DVBA.
Shop owners on Fort Street say it’s an opportunity to attract new customers to an area that doesn’t see as much traffic as other parts of the downtown core.
“I think in the past, maybe we haven’t been thought of as a shopping destination, especially for tourism. But we’re really trying to grow this area,” said Eryn Beattie, Owner of Luna Collective.
“There’s a lot of coffee shops and restaurants…so we’re happy to be getting love,” said Jennifer Rudolph, Owner of Sensori House.
The event begins Saturday at 11 a.m. and is free to the public.
Folktoria will be hosting its second in-person, post-pandemic event both Saturday and Sunday, aimed at celebrating culture in Victoria. The multi-day event focuses on highlighting the many cultures that encompass the community.
The Greater Victoria Folk Festival Society will be taking over Centennial Square with food trucks, arts and crafts, and various performances. The Society’s president says organizers worked tirelessly to secure their performers.
“She’s got lion dancers coming, and the karate demonstrations, and Brazilian performers. It’s really going to be even better than it was last year,” said Kerry Patriarche.