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Steveston Salmon Festival focuses on youth

The theme for this year's 67th Annual Steveston Salmon Festival commemorates our local youth.

The theme for this year's 67th Annual Steveston Salmon Festival commemorates our local youth.

"We've been inspired by so many amazing youth in our community and the concept of "Me to We" and the We Day event that we adopted this theme for our festival this year," said Janice Froese, executive director for the Steveston Community Society and Salmon Festival. "WE Day is the movement of our time - a movement of young people leading local and global change."

Froese added there will be a special something planned during the parade, so she urges youth to be on time.

"Also, be sure to come over to the Youth Rock Fest area and hang out in the afternoon, and enjoy some home-grown music and creativity," she added.

Meantime, Steveston is renowned for putting on one of the biggest Canada Day birthday bashes in the country.

This year's festival celebrates the country's 145th birthday with a new attraction, Chef at the Festival.

"We have Neelum Shahi, a registered holistic nutritionist, who promotes eating local and eating healthy," said Froese.

"Neelum will demonstrate how you can prepare a healthy meal on a budget using locally sourced food. There will be three demos running between 30 to 45 minutes each, starting at noon in the indoor trade show in the Net Shed building."

Shahi will focus on local organic farmers as much as possible and will have prizes and giveaways during her demos.

"I'll be using their seasonal produce in my demos. I think I'll be making a lasagna, a tofu smoothie and a cake. For the second demo I'll do grilled vegetables with panini bread."

Shahi is still tweaking her schedule so she isn't sure what the third demo will entail yet. The audience will receive samples of her cooking and go home with recipes.

The festival's trade show is a mini version of the PNE show mart, said Froese. "There will be lots of commercial vendors, home party merchants, but also financial advisors and realtors," she added.

A big draw for the green thumb is the annual, judged horticulture show, which saw more than 200 exhibits last year.

Anyone can enter, including kids for a special category.

This year also marks the return of the carnival mechanical amusement rides, after a three-year hiatus. There will be trains, swings, a carousel, a half a dozen inflatables and a mechanical bull.

"Last year, more than 100,000 people from across the Lower Mainland came to the festival, making it the biggest crowd ever," said Froese.

Longstanding attractions, such as the pancake breakfast, the parade, the salmon bake - which served more than 2,300 plates of fresh wild sockeye salmon on alder wood fire pits - Japanese Cultural Show, food fair and dance and musical acts, are all back.

This year's entertainment is also stellar, said Froese, with Juno Award winning musician Bill Bourne as the feature artist. Also featured is Richmond-based Stone Poets, rising star Joshua Hyslop and Freshh, a hip-hop dance crew who are hot off their appearance on Canada's Got Talent.

Each year, it takes an army of volunteers to pull off this fête - 400 to be exact.

"We simply couldn't pull it off without our incredible volunteers," Froese said. "The festival raises money, which will be used for our educational garden at Steveston Community Centre (starting in September), and whatever is leftover will go right back into the local community programs."

For more information, a schedule of events, or to find out how you can volunteer, visit the Steveston Salmon Festival website at