Ah, summer. It’s time for hot days, warm nights and some cool events at sites around Surrey.
The local calendar is filled with go-to happenings in July and August, including the 10 noted here in chronological order.
1. It looks like we might be in for another hot-and-sweaty summer, so if you’re looking to beat the heat, consider the air-conditioned climes of Surrey Art Gallery. A “smorgasbord of shows” is promised by curators until the end of August, including the juried “Arts 2016” exhibit, which opens on Friday, June 24 with a variety of works by both established and emerging visual artists on the local scene. Also opening that night is a travel-themed showcase called “Away: The Artist as Traveller” and a visual/sound sculpture in the TechLab titled “Being still (life) shows us who we are.” For the latter, artist Jay Bundy Johnson has built elaborate sculptures from the electronic insides of consumer products – toys, speakers, VCRs, microchips, magnets and the like. Check it out in person at 13750 88th Ave. (at Bear Creek Park) or online at Surrey.ca/artgallery.
2. “Life is a Highway,” sang Tom Cochrane in his biggest hit song, and he plans to ride it all night long at Surrey’s Canada Day party. The annual flag-waving event will again attract tens of thousands of people to Cloverdale’s Bill Reid Millennium Amphitheatre. Fittingly, Cochrane (along with his Red Rider band) hits the stage there in a return engagement exactly a decade after he last played the July 1 event. Things get going at 10 a.m. and continue until the closing fireworks show at 10:15 p.m., with performances throughout the day by the likes of anthem singer Mark Donnelly, Michael Bernard Fitzgerald, The Dudes, DJ Flipout, classic-rock tribute band Heroes of Rock, EnKarma, Cedar Hills Caledonian Pipe Band, Pat Chessell Band, DRS B-Boy Crew and many others. Also featured is an expanded play area for kids, close to 100 exhibitors, a “win a car” contest sponsored by Surrey Honda, Science World on the Road shows, midway rides and more (see Surrey.ca/canadaday for all the info). And if you hadn’t noticed, the stat holiday falls on a Friday this year, so all the party people will have the entire weekend to rest before work on Monday. Happy birthday, Canada!
3. Maybe you’ve heard of some of the artists hitting the stage at FVDED in the Park, maybe you haven’t. Either way, the party will be happening at Holland Park on the weekend of July 2-3 during Surrey’s largest ticketed music festival. Dance, hip-hop, rap and R&B acts make for a two-day “block party” event featuring the likes of Jack Ü (a duo comprised of high-profile DJs Skrillex and Diplo), Zedd, Travis Scott, Bryson Tiller, Carnage and others. No question, FVDED is putting Surrey on the music-festival map. “A lot of the people coming for the headliners will be educated by the depth of this lineup,” Alvaro Prol, a founder of the festival with Vancouver-based Blueprint Events, told the Now. “When I speak to festival promoters and (talent) buyers from other cities, they really compliment our lineup because you really have to be kind of a music nerd to go through all of these names and know who’s who.… We’ve added seven or eight acts this year, over last. It’s more bang for the buck.” For tickets and more festival info, visit Fvdedinthepark.com.
4. One of the more under-the-radar events staged by the City of Surrey is Sounds of Summer, a concert series brought to a variety of gardens, parks and other outdoor spaces every Wednesday evening in July and August. This year’s calendar features nine musical events, starting on July 6 with a performance by West Coast Strings at the pastoral Glades Garden Park and closing on Aug. 31 with Golden Ears Jazz Band near the waterfall at Holland Park. In between, some diverse sounds – acoustic finger-style guitar, ragtime, gypsy swing and more – will be heard at venues including Surrey Nature Centre, Hawthorne Park Gardens, Surrey Museum and Surrey City Hall Plaza. Check out the complete calendar at Surrey.ca/culture-recreation/13488.aspx and, before you head out the door, don’t forget your folding chairs, blankets and picnic baskets.
5. For nine days starting on July 15, the world’s best softball-playing women will be in Surrey for a big tournament hosted by World Baseball and Softball Confederation. The WBSC XV Women’s World Softball Championship will fill South Surrey’s Softball City with games involving 31 teams. Among them, Team Canada’s first game is on opening night against Great Britain starting at 8:15 p.m. – a fine chance for fans to wave the maple leaf to get things going for the home squad. Teams from far-off places such as Kenya, Venezuela, Pakistan, Uganda, Israel, China, Switzerland and Japan will also be participating, along with cross-border rivals from the U.S. See the schedule of games at Surrey2016.com. While you’re at it, check out the details about double-game tickets and the variety of tournament-pass options, which range in price from $100 to the free-food-and-bevvies Platinum Seating fee of $1,000. The tournament will also feature a Celebration of Nations area to include a beer garden, picnic area, food trucks, an entertainment stage and themed performance days focusing on the culture of countries involved.
6. If you’re going to raise some money for charity, why not have a good time while you’re at it, right? That’s the spirit of Gone Country, the annual “Here for the Cure” country-music concert at Cloverdale’s Bill Reid Millennium Amphitheatre that generates funds for cancer-related causes. This year’s party, set for Saturday, July 23, features High Valley, Aaron Pritchett, Karen Lee Batten, Bucko and Toad, Chris Buck Band and other performers. “(Cancer) has affected too many people in our lives, and we are not going to stand idly by while it continues to attack the ones we love,” the concert founders, twins Chris and Jamie Ruscheinski, say in a post on the Gone Country website, Twinscancerfundraising.com. “Let’s rally together and fight this bullshit disease.” Amen, brothers.
7. International beats and eats make Fusion Festival the place to be in July each year as event planners with the City of Surrey, along with corporate partners that include presenting sponsor Coast Capital Savings, bring the action to Holland Park. Flags from dozens of nations will fly again during the two-day, free-admission festival, set for July 23 and 24. This year, the “ultimate celebration of music, food and culture” welcomes Saturday-night headliner Maxi Priest, the British-Jamaican artist best known for “Wild World,” a late-1980s cover of the Cat Stevens, and other reggae/R&B grooves. Other featured performers on the event’s five stages will include double Juno Award winner Alex Cuba, Delhi to Dublin, Good for Grapes, The Boom Booms, Aché Brasil, Kunda Africa, Kaylee Johnston, Star Captains, Tropicana, Krystal Dos Santos, Songpati, Colin Bullock, Khari McClelland, Matices Del Sur, Dawn Pemberton, Kutapria, hoop dancer James Jones, Old Elk Powwow Dancers, Eleven 09 and Michael Fraser. While the music plays, look for the Kids World & Sports Zone, the new Indigenous Village (showcasing Canadian performers, authentic tipis, storytelling, beading workshops and more), the popular Welcome Ceremony and Parade of Culture, the Safeway Cooking Stage and food-filled pavilions representing countries from around the globe. More event details can be found at Surrey.ca/fusionfestival.
8. Grab a blanket and settle in for Movies Under the Stars, an annual event hosted by Downtown Surrey BIA and partners on consecutive Saturday nights every August. For a 12th year, an inflatable screen will be set up for the event at Holland Park. The movies start at dusk, but come early for some family-friendly activities, live music and more, starting at 5 p.m. Each year, the BIA conducts a “people’s choice” vote to decide which movies will be screened. This time around, the films are “The Minions” (on Aug. 6), “Inside Out” (Aug. 13), “Big Hero 6” (Aug. 20) and “Zootopia” (Aug. 27). As always, admission is free. Look for event updates at Downtownsurreybia.com, or call the business organization at 604-580-2321.
9. The stage is set for the return of Beach House Theatre plays at an outdoor location at Crescent Beach this summer. For the company’s fifth season, a temporary stage will again be set up at Blackie Spit Park for productions of “The Foreigner” and “Aesop’s Fables.” Morning performances of the family-friendly “Aesop’s Fables” will run from Aug. 10 to 14, while evening showings of “The Foreigner” will take place from Aug. 9 to 14. The company’s evening shows have always sold out quickly, and tickets went on sale Tuesday (June 21) via the website Beachhousetheatre.org. Larry Shue’s “The Foreigner,” set in a fishing lodge in Georgia, follows the adventures of Charlie Baker (played by James Walker), a proofreader by day and a boring husband by night. This shy Englishman adopts the persona of a “foreigner” who doesn’t understand English in order to enjoy a quiet retreat away from his troubles. Other actors in the play include Michelle Collier, Jeff Hacker, Greg Derksen, Rebekah MacEwan, Elliot Figueira and Jacob Hildebrand. Meanwhile, “Aesop’s Fables” features a mysterious troupe of traveling storytellers: Wolfie, Harriet, Syd and Barry. “Each one is eager to share their favourite fable with our audience, and their dramatic re-tellings of these traditional tales are full of hilarious antics, zany adventures, and so many animals we could fill a zoo,” according to show promo. The actors in “Aesop’s Fables” are Claire Pollock, Bethany Stanley, Matt Falletta and Steven Masson.
10. Ready for some adventure? You’ll probably find it at Rugged Maniac, an obstacle race that returns to Cloverdale Fairgrounds on Saturday, Aug. 13. The event, which debuted there in 2015 with 3,500 racers, is aimed at those who love “fun, fitness and festivals” – the kind of people not afraid to jump over fire, crawl through underground tunnels, rocket down a 50-foot water slide, bounce on trampolines and get very wet trying. Dave Cannon, a South Surrey resident and director of the Rugged Maniac series in Canada, participated in the 5K event in Portland a couple years ago before he got involved as an event partner on this side of the border. Some colourful, slightly intimidating names are given to the approximately 26 race obstacles, including Ninja Escape, the Pack Mule, Warped Wall, Pyromaniac, The Blobstacle and more. Live music, food and a beer garden are also featured. Details are posted at Ruggedmaniac.com and also Facebook.com/ruggedmaniac.