The annual Brant Wildlife Festival will feature an array of activities and events that will take place this coming spring.
The festival is held when Brant geese fly onto the shores of the Parksville Qualicum Beach area to rest and feed.
The facilitator for the festival, Ceri Peacey, is seeking financial support from Town of Qualicum Beach and the City of Parksville for this year’s event. She appeared as a delegation at the Qualicum Beach council meeting on Jan. 18 and requested the town again provide a grant of $5,000 that will go towards covering a portion of the festival’s $22,000 budget. Town council at its Feb. 8 regular meeting approved the request.
Peacey said nature community organizations provide a wide variety of festival events to encourage locals and visitors, children and adults, to get outdoors to enjoy and learn about the natural wonders around them.
“Our goal is always to keep nature, migration and wildlife at the forefront of people’s minds, providing a new appreciation to the natural areas that we are so lucky to have,” said Peacey, who indicated that the festival offers free community events run by volunteers and depends mostly on sponsorship.
Peacey said this year’s events include “Lift Off” with The Nature Trust of BC that will take place March 31 at the Bayside Oceanside Resort. It will feature delicious appies, entertainment by Easy Street, and updates on Nature Trust of BC, which is donating $7,500 in kind to the festival, and its conservation efforts in the region. Those wishing to attend can purchase tickets online at brantfestival.bc.ca.
The Parksville and Qualicum Beach Chamber of Commerce will sponsor the “Spot the Brant Contest” with prizes for contestants and the businesses that get the most views. It will run from March 31 to April 10.
The North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre will stage its first live eagle release event after being cancelled for two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This immensely popular event is always a festival highlight,” said Peacey.
The Deep Bay Marine Field Station, the centre for seafood innovation, will host a delicious event, and tours, and present seafood cooking demonstrations with tastings.
The 30th Pacific Brant Carving Woodworking & Art Show will also be held on April 1 at the Qualicum Beach Civic Centre, sponsored by the Vancouver Island Woodcarvers Club and Mid Island Woodworkers Guild. The event attracts popular B.C. wildlife artists, photographers and sculptors and also provides carvers a platform to display their work and compete for ribbons and cash prizes.
“This is always a crowd pleaser, getting kids involved,” said Peacey. “For the first year, we have Arrowview Elementary School hosting a Brant Wildlife Festival student exhibit with the help of local stewardship groups.”
The Qualicum Beach Cinema Society will be holding a Mini-Film Festival on April 1 at French Press Coffee Roasters (692 Primrose St.).
As well, the Parksville and Qualicum Beach public libraries will put up Brant displays and are securing guests speakers for educational events.