In this year, I have spent my first full summer in Victoria. Working in an internship with Tourism Victoria, I was told to be prepared for a roller coaster ride of festivals, events and spectacles. Looking on a calendar and thinking I was going to be able to do anything, but hold on tight and enjoy the ride was silly of me in hindsight!
One of the things I most looked forward to has to be the Victoria Dragon Boat Festival. I think this is one of the best representations of not only what makes Canada a great country to be in, but what makes Victoria stand out as an embracing multicultural location and destination.
The festival is centered around three days of Dragon Boat racing, with over 75 teams coming together from all over the West Coast, including some this year coming from as far as California. With 20 paddlers, a drummer and a steerperson per dragon boat, the speeds are high and the competition is intense.
The Victoria Dragon Boat Festival would not properly be called a festival if there were only races though and there is plenty to keep you entertained all throughout the Inner Harbour area over the whole weekend.
While I theoretically have enough space to go into detail of every event, I think the Program Guide will do a much better job of explaining the schedule, so make sure to check it out.
Something I do want to highlight and is new for this year is the addition of the Classical Chinese Tea Garden by Silk Road Tea. Hosted by fellow blogger and the owner of Silk Road Tea, Daniela Cubelic, the Chinese Tea Garden exemplifies the fusion of cultures that Victoria is home to. Starting the festival on Friday, the Tea Garden will be performing a traditional opening ceremony using a special Lucky Dragon tea set. Throughout the weekend there will be a focus on tradition, ceremony and education (and enjoying tea and the races of course!) that will hopefully help to shake the stereotype that Victoria is more than just old folks having afternoon tea.
I will refer you too Daniela’s Silk Road Tea Blog to get a full schedule of events in the Classical Chinese Tea Garden and a full description of what each event encompasses. Being an acclaimed Chinese tea master, I think she could describe the finer details of the Tea Garden in a more professional manner than myself.
What kind of festival would it be if there was no food available? Not a good one, that is for sure! Thankfully, the Dragon Boat Festival has an entire food court set up called the Forbidden City and it is hosting a wide variety of cuisine to satisfy your cravings. From Thai to Lebanese to Italian, the Forbidden city is definitely going to a multi-visit affair for me.
With weather predicted to be mostly sunny and a weekend full of fantastic entertainment, I cannot think of many things that would drag me away from one of the most anticipated events of the summer in Victoria. The Victoria Dragon Boat Festival is a great cultural event in the heart of the city that is fun, family-friendly and like many of my favorite activities, free!