Nanaimo Festivals & Events 2019

July 18, 2019

We are more than just a place to live, but a place to have fun. Find out how Nanaimoites make a good time, and walk alongside the locals as they put together an array of unique and authentic experiences to celebrate what makes this corner of the world awesome!


The Story

Nanaimo harbour fireworks

It all started in 1967 when former mayor of Nanaimo, Frank Ney, famously donned a pirate costume, raised his sword, and launched Nanaimo’s first annual Bathtub Race. “Tubbers” and visitors from around the world have been coming to Nanaimo for more than 40 years to take part in this now world famous festival and race.

The Bathtub Races are just one of the many festivals and events in Nanaimo. We host a number of exciting events showcasing everything from wine & food festivals to the Diwali Festival of Lights and the Nanaimo Pumpkin Festival.

Come on down to the water’s edge with Marine Fest – a collection of events in our harbour including our world-famous Bathtub Races.

Let the music move you in Maffeo Sutton Park with the Summertime Blues Festival, or in Diana Krall Plaza and around town with the Nanaimo International Jazz Festival.

Craft beer and music make the perfect pair with Nanaimo’s Longwoodstock, an all-day music fest.

Celebrate hometown heroes when our Senior B Lacrosse Team host the 2018 President’s Cup or watch the country’s best vie for a spot in the world qualifiers as Nanaimo hosts the Red Bull World Pump Track Championship Canadian Qualifier this August.

Come fall and winter, you’ll love the many opportunities to buy local when you visit Gabriola’s Thanksgiving Studio Tour, Cedar Yellow Point’s Artisan Tour and our Island famous Kris Kringle Holiday Craft Market.


Top to bottom, photos by

Hannah Smith,

Mike Anderson,

Tourism Nanaimo

Schedule of Events

May 19

Nanaimo Heritage Festival
(Show & Shine, Talent Show, Parade)
Maffeo Sutton Park

May 25-26

Hammond Bay Studio Tour
Hammond Bay Road

Gem & Mineral Show
Legion Hall 256

June 1-15

Van Isle 360 Yacht Race

June 4-9

Nanaimo Pride Festival
(Festival, Dance, Parade)
Various Locations

June 8

5K Foam Festival
Arbutus Meadows Nanoose

June 20-August 25

Commercial Street Night Markets
Commercial Street, Downtown

June 21-22

National Indigenous Persons Day
Maffeo Sutton Park

June 21-22

Vancouver Island Chamber Music Festival
St. Paul’s Anglican Church

July 1

Canada Day Celebrations
Maffeo Sutton Park

July 1-30

Daily Noon Cannon Firings
Pioneer Plaza

July 5-13

InFrinGinG Dance Festival
Maffeo Sutton Park & Port Theatre

July 5-7

Dragon Boat Festival
Maffeo Sutton Park

July 13

Wheel-O-Rama Festival of Wheels
Bowen Road

July 14

Silly Boat Regatta
Maffeo Sutton Park

July 19-21

Marine Festival & World Championship Bathtub Race
Maffeo Sutton Park and Downtown

August 1-30

Daily noon Cannon Firings
Pioneer Plaza

August 9-17

Nanaimo Fringe Festival
Downtown, Various Locations

August 22-25

Nanaimo Blues Festival
Maffeo Sutton Park

August 23-25

Vancouver Island Exhibition
Beban Park Exhibition Grounds

August 24-25

Red Bull Pump Track World Championship, Canadian Qualifier
Stevie Smith Bike Park

August 31-September 2

CULTIVATE: Performing Arts Festival
The Gabriola Commons, Gabriola Island


M-CON Gaming Convention (TBD)
Vancouver Island Conference Centre

September 20

Brew & Chew
Longwood Brewery

September 21

Longwoodstock Beer & Music Festival
Longwood Brewery

September 20-22

Nanaimo International Jazz Festival
Downtown Nanaimo

September 28

Wellness Fall Health Expo
Vancouver Island Conference Centre

October 3

Nanaimo Business Expo
Vancouver Island Conference Centre

October 12-14

Gabriola Thanksgiving Studio Tour
Gabriola Island

October 18

Bite of Nanaimo
Beban Park Auditorium

October 25

Nanaimo Wine Festival
The Grand Hotel

October 27 (Noon-3pm)

Halloween Trick or Treating
Victoria Crescent, Downtown Nanaimo

October 26-27

Kippers’ Melee Board Game Tournament
Vancouver Island Conference Centre

November 1-4

Nanaimo Fine Art Show
Vancouver Island Conference Centre

November 13-17

Canadian Cue Sports Association Pool Tournament
Vancouver Island Conference Centre

November 21-24

Kris Kringle Craft Market
Beban Park

November 22-24

Cedar Yellow Point Artisans Country Tour
Cedar, Yellow Point

November – December

Gingerbread Village (TBD)
Vancouver Island Conference Centre

December 7-8

Nanaimo Art Walk
Various Locations

December 12-15

Vancouver Island Market
Nanaimo North Town Centre


Maple Sugar Festival (TBD)

Crafternoon (TBD)

With so many unique and awesome experiences to be had, the many festivals and events hosted in this city are just one more reason Nanaimo is the place to be, any time of the year. And with so many events to choose from, there’s something just for you. Make a vacation of it by pairing events with other ways to enjoy Nanaimo. For more information on things to do in Nanaimo, visit out “What to Do” page at

Coming from out of town? Check out how to get here and where to stay.

For up-to-date event information, visit

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