Filberg Festival turns 30 by @luxtraveldiva

61 Filberg Rd.

Comox BC V9M 2S7

New for 2012 are the Festival hours. Friday August 3 – Sunday August 5 gates will open at 10:00am and close at 6:00pm. Monday August 6 gates open at 10:00am – 5:00pm.

The Filberg Festival is not only an opportunity to support the Filberg Heritage Lodge and Park but the many talented Artisans that work so hard to create beautiful pieces of work and the various musical performances over the 4 day Festival

The Filberg Festival is an Annual festival that takes place on the beautiful 9-acre waterfront property of Filberg Heritage Lodge and Park. Over 120 artisans featuring everything from pottery, woodcraft, and metalwork to original paintings, jewellery, toys & more. The Festival offers an amazing entertainment line-up, with ongoing music from a variety of acts and activities for the whole family, including a separate kids’ area

I met with Susan Lewis, today, of Lewis & Sears marketing & event management for a tour Filberg Heritage Lodge & Park. Susan Lewis and Wendy Sears took over the production of the Filberg Festival last year. Combined they have almost half a decade of event experience.  Their company does everything from corporate events, association conferences and community festivals & celebrations locally, in Vancouver and abroad.  The company tagline ABW – Anything But Weddings!

Filberg Lodge is set in a beautiful 9 landscaped acre park and employs a full time gardener and student gardeners for the upkeep of the grounds.

Visitors to the Filberg Festival this year will have the opportunity to tour the Lodge as the guest artist, Mary Fox Pottery will be located in the upper garden arbor.  The Lodge is stately and furnished with original and reclaimed pieces. Hanging on the wall in the imposing living room is a large quilt, one of six prizes that will be raffled at this year’s Festival.

VIS: how long has there been a festival at Filberg?

Lewis: 1983 was the first year of the Festival so it celebrates thirty years this year

VIS: how long is the festival on for?

Lewis: It is on the B.C. Day Long weekend starting on  Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday and the hours are 10 am to 6 pm. The gates open at 10 am and we have music that goes on two stages, 140 artisans, 20 food vendors with a selection of every type of food.

VIS: how long does it take to get ready for the Festival?

Lewis: We work on this Festival year round not full time year round, definitely part time for six months after as we are wrapping up and planning for the next year. The actual prep we bring crew on a week before so we start to prep because we take this beautiful lush park and these gardens and we put up security fencing and gates and the artisans move in.

VIS: how many volunteers are needed?

Lewis: Over 250 volunteers for the Festival so it is a big volunteer base that make the four days happen. Some volunteers actually come home still to volunteer, some are university students or were university students when they first volunteered for us and they still plan their vacations to be here.

VIS: Filberg Lodge and Park is actually owned by the city of Comox?

Lewis: Yes it’s owned by the town of Comox and it’s managed by a society board so the Lodge and Buildings are managed by the Filberg Heritage Lodge and Park and the town owns the property and it takes care of the ground maintenance.  When Mr. Filberg passed away in 1977, he bequeathed the Lodge, along with previous substantial financial gifts, to the Vancouver Foundation. The Vancouver Foundation approved a request from Comox Council that arrangements be made to allow his home and property to become a public facility.

VIS: which exhibitors are original to the Festival? Any who were here in 1983?

Lewis: I asked that question too and a number of them have done a number of years but Gordon Hutchens, a potter from Denman Island, he is very famous and since the beginning he has had to miss maybe a couple from when he was traveling in either Japan or abroad. So that is one of our originals and he will be at the Festival this year.  He is very supportive of the Festival.

VIS: how many people come to the Festival?

Lewis: 18,000 to 20,000 people come to the Festival so that works out to about 5,000 a day and the park can definitely accommodate them. It is the major fundraiser for the Filberg Heritage Lodge and Park Association for the upkeep of the Lodge, grounds and the staff and maintenance for the year.

VIS: how many paid staff members are there?

Lewis: There are three paid staff and a student through a summer grant program.

VIS: For people who haven’t been to the Festival before give me an idea of why they should come.

Lewis: The setting is beautiful, I’m still in awe, every time I drive down the driveway because we are right here on the water, the gardens and the magnificent trees. We attract over 140 artisans from across Canada. It is the largest, outdoor juried arts & craft  show in Western Canada so the quality, the variety is very impressive. Music, this year we have Spirit of the West opening up the Festival and on Monday, the final day,  2012 JUNO Award winner Phil Dwyer will perform along with the ever popular Michael Kaeshammer so a great cross section of well known musicians throughout the weekend. CBC is onboard this year as our radio sponsor. There are 18 food vendors offering an amazing variety of food – sushi, pasta, Greek, Asian, west coast and ice cream treats. LTD: last year was your first year so tell us about what changes you made, how you put your own stamp on it

Lewis: When we first took the Festival on it was in the spring of 2011 and things were kind of rolling and in place. We did a few site changes, what we saw we maybe make a better flow to the Festival. We were able to connect with the people that used to do the Victoria Garden Show and they had all their own flower stands and one of our board members used to have a flower basket company and he came back to us with some great suggestions, we hung flower baskets throughout the park. We just sort of took it up to maybe just another level and we try to add some activities just to keep it fresh because as we go into our 30th year we have to make sure we are still fresh and moving forward so the Festival can celebrate another 30 years.

VIS: It sounds like you have done a wonderful job.

So whether you go for the incredible array of artists, or the outstanding musical entertainment you will not be disappointed. The venue for the Festival is exceptionally beautiful, from the gardens to the water view. For the foodie to the gourmand the chance to try foods from the eighteen vendors is not to be missed. The biggest problem is fitting all there is to do and see into one day but there is a solution for that. For only $40. you can buy a four day pass! What a bargain!

For information on getting there There is a park and ride service to and from the Festival at Brooklyn Elementary School site at 1475 Noel Avenue in Comox.

If you go on B.C. Day (Monday, August 6) you can also take in Nautical Days and watch the parade (starts at 10:30 am) on Comox Avenue.

So much to do and see over the four days and fun for all. You should go!




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