One of Vancouver Island’s premiere events is set to go on the coming long Victoria Day weekend, May 17-19. The Kitty Coleman Arts and Bloom Festival is one of our favourite attractions, bringing together a spectacular 24-acre venue, dozens of talented artists working in many genres and a panorama of colour and visual delight courtesy of the 3,500 rhododendrons that grace the site.
The festival at Kitty Coleman, which is located about 15 minutes north of Courtenay, has been a Victoria Day weekend fixture for many years and has grown to attract visitors and artists from near and far. All of the work is juried and is required to be original, so one of the big attractions of the weekend is the fact that every one of the thousands of pieces you will see is unique, one-of-a-kind and created by the folks you will meet manning the booths.
The huge variety of artistic pieces on offer is no less than mind-boggling. There is exquisite porcelain, metal work, garden art in many forms (anybody need a big wooden garden troll?), paintings, of course, in all mediums. You might see an entire booth filled with exquisite decorative knot work or you could choose a hand-painted wooden mail box. There is twig furniture, there are amazing bird houses, hand-made hats and hand-bags, beautiful works in wood, spectacular photography. The scope of this festival is huge, interesting and, of course, hard on the pocket book due to the many lovely items offered for sale.
One of the things that makes this festival so special is the venue itself, which has been chronicled elsewhere on this website in the ‘Special Places’ category. Instead of having all the artists crammed in to a boring building the 80-plus vendor booths are scattered throughout several sunny meadows and along pretty pathways. Some of the booths can be found in the big old barn just inside the entrance gates, and others are housed in other permanent open-air structures on the property.
Live music and excellent, interesting food served up by Gourmet Girls Global Catering of Cumberland add to the ambiance, making for a totally relaxed atmosphere that will encourage you to wander and while away several hours at this most enchanting of events.
The combination of gorgeous surroundings and superlative artwork in so many forms is enough to lift the heart and spirits of anyone who passes through the gates and enters this magical wonderland of nature and man-made beauty. There can’t be a much better way to spend at least a few hours of the first long weekend of the summer.
Further information on the Arts and Bloom Festival can be found on the Kitty Coleman Woodland Gardens website at:
Kitty Coleman Woodland Gardens is located at 6183 Whittaker Road, Courtenay
Lat. 49.7881094 Long. -125.0018414
N 49 47.287 W 125 00.110