The Paul Black Band entertains the crowd at last year’s Eats and Beats festival in Colwood. (Arnold Lim/News Gazette staff)

Colwood’s Eats and Beats festival continues to grow

Seaside festival featuring Greater Victoria vendors, musicians

Entering its third year, Colwood’s popular Eats and Beats festival at Esquimalt Lagoon continues to grow.

Despite having a picturesque setting, City communications manager Sandra Russell recalls that the municipality wasn’t sure what to expect when it launched the festival in the summer of 2015.

“We thought we’d have a fairly small event and we had three musicians and a smaller stage and three or four food trucks,” she said. “Almost a thousand people showed up.”

Two years later, the festival is expanding beyond just great food and music, although that obviously remains the focus.

This year a climbing wall will be set up and kayak and stand up paddleboard demos will be available. Attendees will also get a chance to try out the new Hobie Eclipse, a boat that’s part pedal boat and part stand up paddleboard, giving everyone a chance to work off whatever food they choose to indulge in.

And there will be plenty of options where that’s concerned, as at least 10 food trucks will be on hand, from Mai Mai’s Asian fusion to Road Treasure Treats ice cream to Discovery Coffee’s mobile java cart.

Adding to the ambiance will be at least four bands, all with a different playing style.

The County Line brings a modern country vibe, while Dug Nugget will supply high energy folk tunes. Ange Hehr, a popular regular at venues downtown, will perform a selection of familiar pop tunes and SweetLeaf will round it out with a mix of reggae and ska.

“We try and have something for everyone,” Russell said.

She also noted that the festival, along with Colwood’s regular Beach Food Fridays and Saturdays, wouldn’t be possible without the initial co-operation of nearby residents, who took to the idea from the start.

“All of the neighbours thought it was a great idea … it was a real success.”

Parking will be available at the site for the July 15 event (from 1 until 9 p.m.) but Ocean Boulevard will be closed to through traffic. Walking and cycling to the site is encouraged, as is the use of public transit. A complimentary trolley shuttle will be available from the Colwood Transit Exchange next to the Juan de Fuca Recreation Centre.

joel.tansey@goldstreamgazette.com

Twitter: @joelgazette