Arts and Bloom Festival at Courtenay’s Kitty Coleman Woodland Gardens – a little bit of magic, a whole lot of beauty

Booths at Arts and Bloom Festival

The rustic outdoor venue at the festival adds a unique magic to the event

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.

Metal work art piece

The essence of the Island, rendered in beautiful metal work

          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.

Wooden garden troll

There’s beautiful, and then there’s just plain whimsical to be found at the festival

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.

Garden Door decoration

Garden décor abounds at the festival

            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.

Porcelain plate

Exquisite porcelain work can be found at the festival

            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.

Visitors at Arts and Bloom Festival

The relaxed ambiance at the festival makes for a wonderful few hours ‘away from it all’

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

Decorative birdhouses GPS co-ordinates are:

Lat. 49.7881094  Long. -125.0018414

N 49 47.287  W 125 00.110


About Shirley

More years ago than I like to remember, I completed the Journalism program at Vancouver Community College and launched straight into a career as a newspaper reporter (thanks to my journalism professor Nick Russell and an opening at the venerable daily Alberni Valley Times.) My work as a news reporter/feature writer/columnist and ultimately, newspaper and magazine editor, took me to many interesting places and introduced me to hundreds of interesting characters over the years. I loved every minute of it, but burnout caught up with me while I was trying to juggle the simultaneous editing of five trade magazines, and for 27 years I abandoned my keyboard (on a professional basis, at least) and followed my heart in a variety of other careers.
In 2010 I returned to the journalistic fold, thanks to the encouragement (nay – nagging!) of my husband. I feel no regret – only great joy to be back at the keyboard, and to be spending time interviewing interesting folks and discovering great places.

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