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Canada Day: Stilt performers, circus group returns to Steveston Salmon Festival

'Steveston is like this magical space of fresh ocean air,' said director of circus company.
Towering lumberjacks from NZR Productions are returning to the reimagined Steveston Salmon Festival.

Towering lumberjacks, jugglers and entertainers on a giant unicycle are only a few of many circus acts planned for this weekend’s Steveston Salmon Festival.

Entertainers with NZR Productions, an international circus company, are excited to return to Steveston for the annual Canada Day celebrations, according to Neezar Joseph, director of NZR Productions.

The Vancouver-based company has participated in Richmond’s annual festival for at least four years in a row, prior to the pandemic, and they are looking forward to take part in this year’s Canada Day festivities once again, explained Joseph.

“Coming back to a lot of these festivals, especially ones that we’ve done before, like the Salmon Festival, is so exciting,” said Joseph, adding that Steveston is a “magical place to be.”

“Steveston is like this magical space of fresh ocean air and when you look at the waters from the docks it is like you’re in another part of the world.”

He added that the COVID-19 pandemic has dampened many people’s mood and the Salmon Festival is an event that will change the mood.

“I think it’s amazing that we can come together to celebrate again, if anything, it is more important than ever as many people,” he said.

“A lot of us definitely went through sad times during the pandemic and it’s really important that people gather together for Canada Day and other events to repair and overcome that feeling of being isolated from others.”

NZR Productions said their team will be walking and rolling around the village during the festival, a group that will be “hard to miss.”

Kids and children can learn some circus tricks from the jugglers as well.

The Salmon Festival, said Joseph, “captures the essence of Steveston” and highlights everything the city has to offer from local sports to food and entertainment.

Joseph told the Richmond News that while he is sad to see the annual parade has been cut from the Steveston Salmon Festival program, he “understands the organizer’s reason” behind the cancellation.

“We are still dealing with cases for COVID-19 and it is for the safety of everyone so this is the best plan to have,” he said.

And most Richmond members share the same thoughts.

In response to a Richmond News poll earlier this month, most people (33 per cent of readers) voted that they were glad the festival is still happening in person this year. However, 27 per cent are still sad to see the parade not happening.

To make up for the cancellation of the traditional Canada Day Parade, organizers have replaced it with several festival zones spread across Steveston Village for its 75th anniversary.