Fairs, festivals and community events are back in a big way, and as we embark on our spring and summer vacay planning, they can be a great way to guide our getaways.
After all, there’s no better way to get a feel for a town or community than celebrating like a local – with the locals.
British Columbia’s Cariboo region is the perfect example. Where else can you explore the province’s rich Indigenous heritage, cowboy culture, Gold Rush history and more, all in one place?! Add visual arts and music, classic cars and you have a full calendar of must-visit events, with something for just about everyone in the family.
Here’s a quick look at what’s coming up:
- June 16 to 18 – The Williams Lake First Nation’s 2023 Father’s Day Pow Wow. The annual pow wow at the Chief William Arbor is a celebration of the strong T’exelc community and culture, featuring drummers, dancers, artists and more, at 2581 Cariboo Hwy. in 150 Mile House. Learn more at wlfn.ca/event/2023-fathers-day-pow-wow
- June 29 to July 2 – The Williams Lake Stampede. This world-famous stampede hosts cowboys and cowgirls from across Canada and the United States who come to compete in a variety of premier rodeo events. Catch kids’ activities, live entertainment nightly, a parade in downtown Williams Lake and plenty more fun! Learn more at williamslakestampede.com
- July 22 – Arts on the Fly. Hosted in Horsefly, nestled between the Cariboo Mountains and Quesnel Lake, music lovers enjoy a weekend full of concerts – everything from bluegrass and jazz to roots and rock.
- July 13 to 16 – Billy Barker Days. With a party this big – yes, the whole town is transformed into a festival ground – you know you’re in for a good time! The celebration of Quesnel’s Gold Rush heritage features a parade, carnival, rodeo, stage performances, dances and many other events. Check it out at billybarkerdays.ca
- July 14 to 16 – Hot July Nights. Hot summer nights were made for cool cars. If you’re in 100 Mile House, roll on in to Centennial Park to take in dozens of hot rods lined up along Bridge Creek. Check it out – or register your ride – at hotjulynights.ca
- July & August – Performances in the Park. Hosted by the Central Cariboo Arts & Culture Society, Williams Lake’s stellar live music series fills Boitano Park every Thursday at 6 p.m., from July 6 to Aug. 24. Enjoy some of the best in local entertainment as well as B.C.’s top touring acts. Visit centralcaribooarts.com
- July & August – Barkerville events. The Barkerville Historic Town & Park has a variety of special events planned this summer, including Dominion Day Games and the Theatre Royal opening July 1, Barkerville’s Indigenous Celebration Aug. 19 and 20, and the Chinese Mid-Autumn Moon Festival Sept. 9. Check out all the happenings at barkerville.ca
- Aug. 5 & 6 – Interlakes Rodeo. Held in the Interlakes Region, southeast of 100 Mile House, this event plays host to a variety of rodeo competitions and events for all ages, along with vendors and concessions. Pair a visit here with a little fishing at some many lakes in the area or daytrips to Mahood Falls to the north or the Wells Gray Provincial Park.
- Aug. 11 to Sept. 6 – Williams Lake Art Walk and Sale. Stroll the streets of downtown Williams Lake and take in the work of local artists, displayed in businesses transformed into mini art galleries for the occasion. Pick up an Art Walk guide from participating locations, collect stamps along your self-guided tour, and enter to win prizes! Learn more at downtownwilliamslake.com
- Aug. 18 to 20 – Prospectors Club Car Show. Activities are planned throughout the weekend, leading up to the main event, a car-show-and-shine in Quesnel’s Lebourdais Park Aug. 20. Register at prospectorscarclub.com/events
- Aug. 26 & 27 – South Cariboo Garlic Festival. What a delicious way to wrap up summer! This garlic-themed festival in Lac La Hache unites garlic-lovers together to see, smell and taste garlic. In addition to a variety of garlic-filled recipes, the festival features live musicians, vendors and more. See what’s planned at garlicfestival.ca
Now that’s a summer full of fun! Plan your adventures at explorecariboo.com
READ MORE: From history-rich walks to hand-crafted beers, it’s time to explore the Cariboo like a local