Tag Archives: Seafest

#2: Another ‘Excellent’ Seafest

The official count isn’t in yet, but more than 300 people turned out for this year’s Seafest. This is the annual celebration and fundraiser of the Cortes Island Seafood Association, which was held in Squirrel Cove again this year. 

“We come back every year. This is our 10th time. We love it every year. It’s awesome. There’s amazing food and amazing people and weather’s gorgeous,” exclaimed Jason Thompson. “One thing that stuck out for us was there was only a lineup on one side this year. In the past, it’s been both sides, and there was always a little bit of confusion, and, ‘oh, I didn’t get that’. So people would come in  and get their food, and you’d look at them going, ‘get out of my way,’  but no, it’s beautiful. It’s run really nice, and the music’s perfect.”

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Seafest – Coming to Squirrel Cove Saturday, May 18

Seafest will be returning to Squirrel Cove this Saturday, May 18, with delicious platefuls of locally grown and prepared seafood. with live music.  

“ I think the first one was back in 1990 or 92. It was down in Smelt Bay with Redonda Sea Farms  and the rest of the community and it was a huge event. I think they had walk-on overloads on the ferry. That was really when the Seafood Association was formed.  Its primary mandate being water quality and it was formed in response to new technology that could assess dioxin pollution from the pulp mills,” explained Dave Nikleva.

Julia Rendall added, “I think in the  late eighties, it was to fight the pulp mills.  ‘Water quality’ was our mandate. Then there was a time when some people were a little bit reluctant about  us oyster farmers. They thought maybe we were getting in the way of their pristine scenery. We decided to  show them that we did have a good product for everybody to enjoy and that it is a viable industry on the island and it is necessary.”

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Denise Wolda (Part 2 of 2): Coming home to Cortes Island

The course of Denise Larson’s life took a radical change in 1983, when she and two of her band members came to Merville. They were professional musicians promoting her third record. It was nice to get out of Vancouver, but Denise did not have any expectations of a small dance in the Merville Hall. Then Ron Wolda walked into her life. She had actually met him two years earlier in Courtenay, but at that time they both had other partners. Now they were single. Ron sat himself down beside her at the dinner being given for the musicians. The next morning, Ron took her out to see the home he built beside the ocean.  

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Seafest 2023 At Squirrel Cove 

About 350 people* came to Squirrel Cove for Seafest on Saturday May 20. There was a flow-through crowd and not much more than a third of this number appeared to be at the six-hour long festival at any given time.

“I think Seafest is great, it brings a lot of cultures together and  lots of different seafoods,” said Sharon Francis, a Squirrel Cove resident and member of the Klahoose First Nation.

Curt Cunningham, owner manager of the Squirrel Cove General Store which hosted this year’s festival, added, “They’ve done an incredible job. We’re going to have a good day, a good summer, and this is gonna kick it off!” 

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Seafest returning to Squirrel Cove Saturday May 20

 Seafest is returning to Squirrel Cove on Saturday, May 20, 2023. 

“SeaFest is coming out of hiatus. It ran for over 20 years and then we shut it down during COVID. We were going to start it up last year at the Gorge, but then the Gorge was going through a lot of changes. This Sea Festival is coming back to Squirrel Cove. The view is spectacular. I think it’s got the best view on the island and it’s got a rustic feel about it too. The old store has been there for a hundred years. The interpretive centre is there. This Seafest probably won’t be as big as it was the last few years at the Gorge. It will be more like a community get-together. We’re going back to good food, good entertainment, and a lot of locals coming,” said Julia Rendall, Secretary of the Cortes Island Seafood Association.

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