The Esquimalt Lagoon was packed with even more people, live music, and food than usual on Saturday as the annual Eats and Beats Beach Party made its triumphant return.
After two years without the event and plenty of other events being held over the long weekend, the City of Colwood was unsure of how the community would respond this year, but Mayor Rob Martin said it quickly became clear the community had eagerly been awaiting its return.
“We expected to see 8,000 people as we did in 2019, but I think we have already surpassed that last event. I would say between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m., we already saw 8,000 people, and we are still working toward the end. It’s just an awesome family atmosphere,” he said.
Crowds filled the large section of Ocean Boulevard – closed to vehicles for the event – browsing dozens of local vendor tents and food trucks throughout the afternoon. Some enjoyed the free activities on offer, including a rock climbing wall and stand up paddleboards, while others chose to soak in the sun or the waves on the beach itself.
Of course, live music was at the heart of the show, with this year’s edition featuring performances by dance duo and crowd favourite Funkanometry, OK Charlie, Downtown Mischief, The New Groovement, Astrocolor, and headliners Said The Whale.
“We have everyone here from the age of two to 92, and everyone is interacting with each other and just coming together as a community in celebration,” said Martin. “We don’t know what is going to happen come the fall and winter, especially with COVID, so taking these opportunities to be a community together is so fantastic. Of course, the music has been wonderful and our vendors are fantastic as well.”
Martin said the event – made possible by the 20 or so city staff who chose to work the day to put the event on despite the long weekend – also provided an opportunity for the city to hit on key points like increasing the use of active transportation within the community thanks to features like the free bike valet service by Capital Bike and a shuttle bus running from a nearby carpooling parking lot, and promote its natural resources like the waterfront.