Moving to the beat in Colwood

City looks at expanding family-friendly outdoor events

One Eats and Beats just isn’t enough.

The overwhelming success of last year’s summer waterfront event has sparked even more interest in bringing Colwood residents together.

Colwood Coun. Lilja Chong said council not only supports the event, but the idea of family-friendly outdoor events and hopes for more like it moving forward.

“We had a very good turnout and (were) happy to see more people show up than originally thought,” Chong said.

“(Our four food trucks) they all sold out, we had a really great turnout and everyone I talked to was happy and so pleased something like Eats and Beats was held.”

The success of the Aug. 28 event, led council to earmark $10,000 for a return to the Esquimalt Lagoon, possibly in July, with an even bigger footprint than last year’s event.

The success may have also paved way for another potential Colwood outdoor event entitled the Colwood Heritage Picnic, which is tentatively scheduled for September.

Chong is hoping for another community outreach event that will link youth and families with the heritage of the area, specifically Colwood’s heritage.

“Some ideas include partnerships with Fort Rodd Hill, West Shore Parks and Recreation and we had some ideas like carriage rides, folk music from local artists, and more,” she said.

The ‘more’ might also include activities such as local Celtic and folk music, food trucks, kite making, potato sack races, puppet shows and a scavenger hunt.

Chong said it’s all about free family events.

“Unfortunately we weren’t able to find an available grant but we hope to make the funds through fundraising, and not taxation, and partners willing to help,” she said.

“Right now our biggest challenge and goal is a sponsor, (Fort Rodd Hill) can save the date but not waive the admission fees,” she added.

A meeting was scheduled for after the Gazette’s press deadline on Wednesday to discuss a future event that could even feature an art contest.

That contest would see dozens of artists pull a location from a hat, paint there for three hours and submit their work to a jury.

But this push for outdoor events may not be limited to Colwood.

“It isn’t just here in Colwood, but an Island thing. I have been noticing (outdoor) events blow up and some are because we have been lucky with the weather, longer summers, longer great weather so that is one thing,” she said.

“(But) also the Island is growing and people just want to get out there and do things with families, meet people and interact,” she added.

Chong pointed to four separate food trucks at Eats and Beats in 2015 coming prepared to serve approximately 300 people as proof. All four trucks sold out of their food completely.

“I know the demand is there, I hope we can spread the word further … more artists, more food and get the open market we didn’t get last year,” she said.

“My hopes is to really reach out and make it all about community and get local vendors and local artists, just really bring everyone together.”