On a clear day, with blue skies, sunshine and unclouded views of the Olympic Mountains, Hatley Park National Historical Site is truly a West Shore treasure.
Shaded by the trees of an old growth forest, intersected by serpentine trails and with gardens alongside the impressive Hatley Castle, the grounds provide a remarkable outdoor event location.
But it was not until the establishment of Royal Roads University in 1995 that the campus became accessible to the public.
First conceived of by RRU as a way to welcome local residents to the grounds, the 21st annual Mother’s Day Paint-In and Craft Fair happens May 8. Expected to draw as many as 3,000 visitors, this event boasts family-friendly entertainment, crafts, complimentary access to the gardens, tours of Hatley Castle and food vendors with kid-friendly menus.
“As a proud and active member of the West Shore community, Royal Roads University is pleased to be collaborating again with partners like the West Shore Arts Council,” said Katharine Harrold, vice-president, communications and advancement at Royal Roads University.
“We appreciate the opportunity to create and host a meaningful public experience that promotes not only our local artists and performing arts groups, but also a stronger understanding of the local cultural and historical significance of our special campus,” she added.
This year, the West Shore Arts Council is proudly sponsoring a youth performance from PJ Music Studios, a string ensemble from the Sooke Philharmonic, as well as a children’s theatre performance from Four Seasons Musical Theatre.
Early in the afternoon, Four Seasons’ performers Angelina Robertson and Jay O’Connell will present familiar tunes from The Little Mermaid, part of the upcoming musical scheduled to run May 20 to 29.
There will also be a musical play written by alumni Sasha Moriarty-Schieven. This short comedy features catchy tunes which parody popular melodies.
Over at the main stage, PJ Music Studios presents a musical journey through time with a combination of jazz, rock and classical performances. Among the students will be Sarah Chapesky, Eric and Naomi El Nahaas, Rachael and Samuel Lee and Wishva Koskoda.
Later in the afternoon, the Sooke Philharmonic String Quartet – which includes concertmaster Anne McDougall, violinist Sue Martin, violist Alexis More and cellist Paul Terry – will play a program consisting of music by Handel, Mozart, Beethoven, Mascagni and Haydn.
Local plein air painters Ken Faulks, John Stuart Pryce and Deborah Czernecky will be demonstrating their talents in the gardens. Their artwork will be available for sale.
This unique, outdoor festival happens May 8 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free and parking is only $5 for the full day.
For more information visit royalroads.ca or call 250-391-2666.
Kristi Hoffman writes on behalf of the West Shore Arts Council. Visit them at westshorearts.org.