Whatever time of year you’re visiting Nanaimo, there’s a delicious, entertaining, or enlightening event close by. In the summer, celebrate the Salish sea, 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. 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. Spring is all about Festival Nanaimo – a month long celebration of events from Wee Tipple Whiskey Festival to the Annual PirateFest, which celebrates what makes Nanaimo unique.

Many more events are happening year-round in Nanaimo from cheesemaking classes on Gabriola to yoga in the park. For a calendar of events, visit http://www.whatsondigest.com.

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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
Upcoming Events
Festival Nanaimo (March 2019)
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Festival Nanaimo (March 2019)
Festival Nanaimo, returning for its 5th year this March 2019, is a multi-dimensional celebration featuring live entertainment, visual arts, foodie delights, heritage and mystery events. Experience a plethora of culinary creations at the 17th annual Wee Tipple Whiskey tasting, the first-ever Bacon Bevy Bash, at other featured events. With Nanaimo bars galore at every turn, take yourself on a journey of the self-guided Nanaimo Bar Trail (Tourism Nanaimo). In addition to good food and spirits, festival Nanaimo will showcase a variety of musical talents encompassing an array of genres: classic rock, the blues, Cuban dance, classical symphony, acapella, folk music, and a reimagination of the eclectic styles of Canadian singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell. Don some green on March 17th and head over the Port Theatre for this year's Saint Paddy's Party, music by Derina Harvey Band from Newfoundland (Canada's Ireland). Partake in the final celebrations at the family-fun Pirates Fest & Parade on March 29th at Country club centre. Come in costume, get crafty, and play some games. Entertainment by Vesta Fire.
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Vancouver Island Market (March 30 & 31)
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Vancouver Island Market (March 30 & 31)
Discover 200+ artisan vendors; delicious food; craft beer, wine, and spirits; live entertainment; and workshops at the Vancouver Island Market Spring Kickoff 2019. 4750 Rutherford Rd, Nanaimo
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Nanaimo Boat Show (April 4-7)
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Nanaimo Boat Show (April 4-7)
Whether young or old, amateur or professional, come celebrate life on the water at the 2019 Nanaimo Boat Show at the Waterfront Suites & Marina. Family-friendly, food & beverage services, and live music. This event is pet-friendly, but please leash your furry companions.
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Isle of the Arts Festival (April 4-14)
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Isle of the Arts Festival (April 4-14)
"Close your eyes. Imagine hundreds of people getting together for 10 days to create, craft, sing, dance, and play, led and taught by master artists and craftspeople. Imagine hundreds more gathering in the evenings to laugh, cry, listen, speak, move and be moved by art and performance. Imagine these gatherings taking place in small community spaces, each with its own story and history. Imagine these spaces nestled among the tall cedar and fir, on the incredible and unceded territory of the Snuneymuxw people. Imagine this territory, alive with creativity, lapped on all sides by the tides of the Salish Sea. Open your eyes. Your dream has come true. This is the Isle of the Arts Festival."
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Kinsmen Beer Festival (April 5)
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Kinsmen Beer Festival (April 5)
"Nanaimo Kinsmen Beer Festival is the Mid-Island's largest celebration of local craft brews. Friday, April 5, 2019, Beban Park Social Centre, 6pm-9:00pm. All proceeds go to the Nanaimo Kinsmen in support of the community's greatest need."
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Hop into Spring (April 20)
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Hop into Spring (April 20)
Join in on the fun at the Heritage Mews (321 Wesley St.) on Saturday, April 20th from 12-3pm. The Old City Quarter is hosting its FREE annual family friendly Easter event. Face painting, Live entertainment, a parade, an egg hunt, a colouring contest (with prizes), and a special appearance by the Easter Bunny are sure to please. Hop on a Historic Old City Quarter Walking Tour & Treasure Trail with Ali Mowbray, starting at 12pm, 1pm & 2pm at the Heritage Mews.
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Spring Writes Festival (May 2-5)
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Spring Writes Festival (May 2-5)
"The annual BC Writer’s Spring Writes Festival is being held in Nanaimo, BC this year. We welcome members as well as non-members to take part in our program. Some of the events are free, some are paid, but all the venues have space considerations, so registration is required for all events."
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Of Boats and Music (May 4)
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Of Boats and Music (May 4)
"Join us for an evening of extraordinary singing performed by Vancouver Island's newest professional choir! The Schooner Cove Singers will bring our audience an evening of exquisite choral music inspired by the waters that surround our great island and beyond!"
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Annual 5K Foam Fest (June 8)
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Annual 5K Foam Fest (June 8)
"The 5K Foam Fest is a one of kind Obstacle Course based Fun Run. Join us for 22+ obstacles including the world's largest inflatable waterslide, mud pits and 2.5 MILLION cubic feet of foam! Rock out all day to 12,000 watts of awesome (family friendly) music, enjoy a FREE kids zone for kids 7 and under, taste delicious food, shop from local vendors and celebrate your success in our well-stocked beer gardens. With a variety of obstacles and a ton of foam, the 5K Foam Fest run is an exciting challenge for experienced and beginner runners alike. GET FILTHY CLEAN!"
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