The Nanaimo events calendar is full of fun and unique activities throughout the year. Experience art, heritage, culture, and the flavours of local cuisine while you’re in town.

From our world-famous bathtub races in July, to tasting your way along the Nanaimo Bar Trail at any-time of year, attending the craft beer and music festival of Longwoodstock in September, or stepping into history at the museum or attending a variety of other exciting festivals – we invite you to discover what makes Nanaimo so unique.


Nanaimo is a very diverse place. I love the culture and natural wonders here in Nanaimo.
Leif Bogwald
There are some fantastic festivals that happen every year.
David Gogo
Nanaimo's Annual Events

Maple Sugar Festival

Nanaimo Whisk(e)y Festival

March 23: Vancouver International Film Festival at Vancouver Island University

April 3-5: Vancouver Island Chamber Music Festival

April 18-19: EarthFest: Creative Climate Solutions Showcase

May 17: Nanaimo Heritage Festival

May 30-31: Hammond Bay Studio Tour

June 4-August 29: Commercial Street Night Markets, every Thursday. runs every Thursday for 13-weeks from June 4 to August 29, from 5-9 pm. The area is closed off to traffic so visitors can shop the vendor booths and purchase everything from food to crafts. Live entertainment will also be staged at several points downtown, along with bouncy castles and climbing walls for the little ones.

June 6: 5km Foam Festival

June 14: Nanaimo Pride Festival

June 19-20: Preliminary Red Bull Pump Track Qualifier

June 21: National Indigenous Persons Day celebrations at Maffeo Sutton Park

July 1-November 23: Grow Nanaimo at the Nanaimo Museum

July 10-12: Dragon Boat Festival

July 19: Silly Boat Regatta

July 24-26: Marine Festival & World Championship Bathtub Race has been welcoming visitors for more than 40-years, to take part in this now world-famous festival and race. At the core of the bathtub festivities, Maffeo Sutton Park & Sway-a-Lana Lagoon will play host to vendors, arts & crafts, and a Kiddies Karnival, July 24-26.

August 7-15: Nanaimo Fringe Festival

August 13-16: Nanaimo Summertime Blues Festival

TBD: Red Bull Pump Track Championship Canadian Qualifier hosts this country’s best for a spot in the world qualifiers as Nanaimo hosts the Red Bull Pump Track World Championships. The Stevie Smith Bike Park will host the Canadian Qualifier in August (TBD) for the third year in a row.

TBD: Longwoodstock Beer & Music Festival

September 18-20: Nanaimo International Jazz Festival

October 10-12: Gabriola Thanksgiving Studio Tour

November 19-22: Kris Kringle Craft Market

TBD: Cedar Yellow Point Artisans Country Tour

December 5-6: Nanaimo Art Walk

TBD: Vancouver Island Market

Upcoming Events In Nanaimo
Summer Pop Up Concert Series
Summer Pop Up Concert Series
July 9, 23 and Aug 6, 20 (Nanaimo) - July 10, 24 and Aug 7, 21 (Nanoose Bay) - July 10, 24 and Aug 7, 21 (Yellowpoint, Cedar) "With the anticipation of Phase 3 of the Government of British Columbia’s re-start plan, the Vancouver Island Symphony, under the artistic direction of Pierre Simard, is offering a series of four (4) summer Pop Up Concerts featuring different ensembles from the Vancouver Island Symphony in July and August. These ensembles include: Trio of Flute, Violin and Bass String Quartet with two French Horns Brass Quintet Trio of Oboe, Clarinet and Bassoon These four (4) concerts are only offered in a series package with a donation of $250 per person. The VIS will issue a tax receipt for the $250 in the name you provide on the order form. Check out Required Information for Booking Concert Seats and issuing tax receipts. . The concert series is booked through our online order form only. See the series package options in the right column and choose the link for your preferred series package. The VIS will present these concerts using health regulations as outlined by the Government of British Columbia. There are specific rules and we will be following them for everyone’s safety. CONCERT INFORMATION Concerts will be held outside on private property and can accommodate 40 audience members that will be seated with social distancing in place. The exact concert location address will be provided once you book your ticket. Concerts will be one hour (60 minutes) in length with audience members arriving no more than 30 minutes ahead and leaving no later than 30 minutes after the concert. Audience Members need to bring their own chairs, masks (optional), hand sanitizer, gloves (optional), beverage (no food or alcohol please). A washroom will be available for Emergencies ONLY. Parking is on the street. Audience members will be asked to line up prior to entering the yard. They will then be directed to move to a space where they can place their chairs for seating. Audience members may sit in their COVID Bubbles. Audience members agree to not attend if they are sick or not feeling well. The concert series packages are non-refundable but they are transferable. The Purchaser may sell or give their concert space to someone else. When packages are resold or transferred, we must be notified and the new package owners must provide their contact information in order for the VIS to remain compliant with health regulations and COVID-19 Tracking. We are unable to reschedule these concerts. If it rains the show will go on. In the event of rain, the musicians will be under tents however audience will not. Please bring your umbrellas. CONCERT BONUS! The VIS will be selling subscriptions to a Streaming Concert Series featuring these four summer concerts. Everyone who attends the live concerts will receive a FREE SUBSCRIPTION to the Streaming Concert Series. Details will be sent to attendees as they become available. Please Note: Single Tickets are unavailable at this time. Musicians have been hard hit financially by the pandemic and will continue to be challenged to make a living in the next 18 months. These Summer Pop Up concerts will support our VIS musicians and allow the VIS to re-launch when safe to do so. Your support is so important in ensuring that the VIS will be able to continue to operate." COVID-19 Precautions: Only purchases only. Maximum 40 audience members, seated socially distanced. Audience members must bring their own chairs, masks (optional), hand sanitizer, gloves (optional), beverage (no food or alcohol).
Full Schedule
InFrinGinG Dance Festival
InFrinGinG Dance Festival
July 10-19 Immerse yourself in art, dance, and culture this summer at the 22nd Annual InFrinGinG Dance Festival, presented by Crimson Coast Dance! Get outside and ignite a sense of hope for humanity, while staying physically distanced, at drive-in/walk-in performances, off and online. Watch, listen, move your body, and be inspired by film, live dance and music, online conversations with guest artists, and more.
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Vancouver Island Market
Vancouver Island Market
When: July 24 – 26, 2020 11am-10pm PST Where: Vancouver Island Online Facebook Market Group ( Join Group Here) or directly at Isla Collective As a shopper, there will be a giveaway happening during the scheduled event dates so please keep an eye out on upcoming posts, join our event group here and begin your handmade Christmas wish list today!
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Vancouver Island Exhibition (VIEX)
Vancouver Island Exhibition (VIEX)
Aug 21-23 The Viex is a grassroots event and has been for 126 years that brings the community together and celebrates the history, the culture and unity for the benefit and overall wellness of the community. The VIEX celebrates community resiliency, innovation, creativity and fun during these extremely challenging times and the Board wants to ensure everyone in our community is safe and stays well. Join us online, from the comfort of your own homes as we bring you as many elements of the VIEX as possible! This includes, but is not limited to: -Live Virtual Concerts -Contests -Home Arts Competitions -Live Interviews and Feature Videos from our Exhibitors and Vendors -Fun and Interactive Games for All Ages! -PRIZE GIVEAWAYS! and so much more. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc… and check out our website for some updates very soon! Use the Hashtag #VIEX2020 and tell us what you would like to see or share your favorite memories from past fairs! We look forward to hanging out with you, online, this summer!
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Nanaimo Fringe Festival
Nanaimo Fringe Festival
"In true Fringe fashion, Pacific Coast Stage Company is honouring theatre’s innate spirit of experimentation, creativity, and bold innovation by taking our tenth annual Nanaimo Fringe Festival online from August 11-15th, 2020. Celebrate our decennial Festival — at a distance — with all the long-standing joys of uncensored, unexpected and unforgettable Fringe performances broadcast straight to you! “Adapting our little Fringe for the World Wide Web has demonstrated the resilience and utmost importance of the arts in times of global crisis. We look forward to connecting with new and existing audiences remotely this August, to share the ingenuity of our talented Artists in the face of current adversity.” — Bryony Dixon, PCSC General Manager Log-on and tune-in to the @NanaimoFringe Facebook page for 5 evenings of streamed performances by local, Indigenous, national and international Artists with some ASL interpretation/captioning. Get involved with online viewing parties, or host your own comedy-club style gathering for those in your social bubble! Stay safe and connected (while enjoying a laugh or two) as we navigate the previously uncharted waters of digital Fringe-ing together. View an incredible selection of digitally reimagined, experimental theatre from across Canada and beyond. Voice your support for these innovative performers via online post-show Audience to Artist talkbacks. Vote for your Pick of the Fringe and catch an encore of the audience favourite following our online Wrap Party. This year’s lottery selected lineup includes online adaptations of productions by local Artists: Connor Runnings, Willem Roelants, and Beholder Entertainment (recipient of the inaugural Nanaimo Aboriginal Centre cultural category sponsorship); Saanich based Handmade Ivy Productions and award winning Canadian poet/actor Sarah Wilson; plus International circus group A Good Catch, joining us all the way from Australia!
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