newsNanaimo locals and visitors celebrate all the city has to offer during the month of March with Festival Nanaimo.

Put on by the Vancouver Island Symphony in partnership with organizations such as Tourism Nanaimo, the Downtown Nanaimo Business Improvement Association, and the Chamber of Commerce, this is the first year of Festival Nanaimo. The festival includes concerts, theatre, arts and crafts, culinary treats, sporting events and tournaments, workshops, the Nanaimo Boat Show, recreational activities, golf specials, a rock and roll music camp, a Pirate Fest Fun Day, an Irish street party, and more.

“The idea was to create a festival in March because there’s lots of things going on in the arts,” executive director of the Vancouver Island Symphony Margot Holmes said. “It’s March break for kids and people are looking for things to do.”

The Festival has created some new events, and will also be promoting existing events, that including VIU’s basketball championship and other sporting events. New events include musical performances; and Pirate Fest, a pirate-themed event targeted at families on March 28.

“We wanted to tie things together for people that come to visit Nanaimo, and for people that live here,” said Holmes.

The majority of events require tickets, which can be purchased separately, or as a Festival Pass for $108. Free events include the Irish Rovers Street Party on March 17 and the Dance on the Plaza on March 28.

For a full list of events and their details, as well as to purchase tickets, go to

“Hopefully people will support it,” Holmes said. “We want to do it again next year.”