The Bite of Nanaimo is an annual gourmet food festival held in Nanaimo, usually on the last weekend of September or sometimes in late October. It is widely considered as the unofficial farewell to summer and hello to autumn. The famous Nanaimo attraction is held by TheatreOne, a local live theatre and arts company, and it is both their biggest fundraiser of the year and the biggest food fair on Vancouver Island.
Hundreds flock to this tasty annual fair to sample the best of Nanaimo’s cuisine from top-notch local restaurants, pubs, bakeries, and cafés. Past participants have included the Dinghy Dock Pub, The Thirsty Camel Café, Winston’s Tea Company, VIU (Vancouver Island University) Professional Baking Program, and the Lighthouse Bistro and Pub to name a few. The number of local restaurants has increased since the food fair was first established in 1992, and it continues to attract tons of hungry patrons.
What to Expect While Attending the Bite of Nanaimo
Once you enter the Bite of Nanaimo in Beban Park’s auditorium, you will step in to many fantastic sounds and smells: meat sizzling on grills, wine and beer being poured, and laughter and lively conversations from both visitors and chefs alike.
Many of the people attending will actually be volunteers from Nanaimo, clearing up your plates and empty glasses and making sure the place is clean and welcoming with a friendly and upbeat atmosphere.
Select members of TheatreOne will either be selling food tickets to hungry guests ready to sample the varied menu, or they’ll be hosting the balloon prize draw, where for a small fee you can pop a balloon and win many fabulous prizes including theatre tickets, gift certificates, free goodies, and more – everyone’s a winner who participates!
The Bite of Nanaimo also presents trophies to the restaurants participating. Every guest can vote for their favourite meals or specialty dishes offered by each competing restaurant. Categories include Best Dessert, Best Beverage, Best Vegetarian Dish, and so on.
TheatreOne was established as a Nanaimo theatre company in the 1980s, first as Shakespeare Plus (1984), then the Nanaimo Festival Theatre (1990), and now as TheatreOne. Their contribution to the arts in Nanaimo has given the town its artistic cultural edge; their mandate has always been to bring citizens of Nanaimo and Vancouver Island the benefits and advantages of professional live theatre, promoting and encouraging cultural development, and building a future audience by involving younger people.
Programs offered by TheatreOne include Emerging Voices (a series of workshops and staged readings of Canadian plays), Just Kidding (live theatre specifically offered for kids and families) and Fringe Flicks (two-day showings of Canadian, independent and foreign films at Woodgrove Mall’s Avalon Cinema).
For more information on the Bite of Nanaimo or TheatreOne’s programs, or to contact TheatreOne directly, you can visit their main website.
How to Reach the Bite of Nanaimo
The Bite of Nanaimo is held at Beban Park’s auditorium on Aulds Road. If you are traveling from out of town, there are plenty of options by air or sea, including Harbour Air Seaplanes, Nanaimo Airport, and BC Ferries. Car, taxi, and the public transit are also good means of accessibility to Beban Park.
Tickets can be bought at Beban Park’s Tourist Centre, or from select businesses found in Nanaimo. They can only be purchased in advance, and they sell out early and fast, so don’t waste your time if you want to give your taste buds a whole new adventure at this great Nanaimo attraction!
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