Fireworks, festivities in Qualicum Beach this weekend

It's the unofficial start of the tourism season here and Qualicum Foods kicks it off with Mary Ann from Gilligan's Island, fireworks

From left

From left

The tourist season has begun in Qualicum Beach and it was marked with a town event Wednesday, celebrating the new public art piece and sharing information on the community’s upcoming events.

“We wanted to celebrate both the arts and culture and fun people have with local events,” said Qualicum Beach Mayor Teunis Westbroek, as he listed off a host of upcoming local events.

“We’re really starting to see these events unfolding and we’d love to not only to be a part of it but also celebrate it and do our part as a town, as councillors, as mayor, to promote it.”

The public art piece is a giant digital image print of wild salmon on vinyl canvas located on the old bus garage building. It is called Where the Dog Salmon Run, by David E. Blackmore, which is what the word Qualicum means in the Pentlatch language of the First Nations Coast Salish peoples.

This Saturday will mark the opening of Qualicum Beach Museum as well as customer appreciation day at Qualicum Foods, which will host television star Dawn Wells, otherwise known as Mary Ann from Gilligan’s Island from 4 to 6 p.m. That evening QF will host their Festival of Lights Fireworks Spectacular synced to music from 88.5 FM The Beach. The fireworks will begin at dusk at the public beach area in Qualicum Beach. The Museum opening starts at 10 a.m. May 25 and will see entertainment by the Old Time Fiddlers, The Town Crier and light refreshments.

unday, May 26 is Family Day in Qualicum Beach, with a Shriner’s pancake breakfast beginning at 8:30 a.m., a parade at noon and a field full of child-friendly activities from 1-4 p.m. in the Civic Centre Fields. This includes bouncy castles, pony rides, flight demonstrations, face painters, bubbles and much more. Those wishing to take in some lunch or snacks at the concession stands should remember to bring cash, which will support local non-profit groups.

This year also marks the 100th anniversary of the Qualicum Beach Memorial Golf Course.

“This is significant,” Westbroek said. “The town really was developed around that golf course — it’s an amazing feature to have that in such a key location.”

Westbroek said Qualicum Beach is a wonderful place to visit and play a number of golf courses, as Bob Hope did, along with Bing Crosby and Spencer Tracy, he said.

July 21 will mark Beach Day, a celebration for all ages, with music, beach sports, and fun, another event not to be missed, according to Westbroek.

The following week, on July 27, Art in Action will take place, where artisans will be set up in the old bus garage space, and where vendors from the town’s Farmers’ Market will also be relocated that day. Vendors from St. Mark’s Fair will fill the site at the Community Centre and on that same day The Old School House’s Grand Prix d’Art will take place, where artists fill the streets and paint town icons and scenes in an annual competition and race.

Westbroek said none of these fabulous events would take place in the town without volunteers and to them he is very grateful, he said.

“Those people are awesome, I can never thank them enough for what they do. The whole community owes them a debt of gratitude for their commitment.”

The event Wednesday also launched the Town’s Beach Reads program, a partnership with the Vancouver Island Regional Library that will see a free lending library this summer.