Summer Events Along the Creston Valley-Kootenay Lake Route

Starbelly Jam's Main Stage

Strawberries, Starbelly and Yahk... Oh my!

by Ilana Cameron

I love swimming in the summer almost more than anything — yes sometimes even more than coffee. But I also have a soft spot for all the various types of events we get in the summer: outdoor picnics, community parades and music festivals under the stars. It's a season for celebrating and enjoying the warm nights and long days.

This is a short guide to three festivals or events happening in this area to mark in your calendar. For more Summer fun inspiration be sure to check out our Events Calendar!


The Yasodhara Ashram's 24th Annual Strawberry Social

When: June 22, 1-4 pm

Budget: Free

Where: Yasodhara Ashram (Between Kootenay Bay & Riondel)

Highlights: Family friendly, strawberry shortcake, used book sale.

Yasodhara Ashram's new Temple of LightCome for the strawberry shortcake, stay for the activities: Dance performances by Nelson dance powerhouse Slava Doval and accompanying youth dancers and an eclectic used book sale at the ashram's beautiful facilities and grounds.

I have yet to make it to the famous Strawberry Social but I have visited Yasodhara Ashram several times. The most memorable was a sitar concert with the Mishra brothers from India in the original Temple of Light, destroyed by a fire in 2014. The newly rebuilt Temple of Light, designed by Patkau Architects, recently  received the Canadian Wood Council Design Innovation Award for it's design and is well worth the visit!

Located just a short drive north of the Kootenay Lake ferry, the ashram was founded in 1960 as a yoga and retreat centre for all faiths by Swami Sivananda Radha. They welcome people of all ages and offer a large variety of programs including short, intensive yoga teacher certifications, weekend meditation retreates, or longer personal study programs. Be sure to check their website for upcoming classes, retreats and events held there throughout the year.

Yahk Days

When: August 10, 2019, 12-9ish

Budget: Free

Where: the quaint hamlet of Yahk

Highlights: A parade, live music, food, and fun and games for the whole family


yahk bandNot only is the bucolic hamlet of Yahk located right on the beautiful and swimmable Moyie River, but they also have several great community events at the Yahk Community Hall, including their one day event, Summerfest. If you love a family friendly low-key event this one is for you. The whole community takes part, and its a great opportunity to make the most out of a visiting Yahk. There will be a parade, outdoor food, games for kids and for the young at heart at the Provincial campground or local motel, or just come for the day.

While you are in the neighbourhood be sure to check out the Yahk Soap Company and the adorable goats that live atop their roof. Even if it isn't a sweltering hot day, you gotta get a cone from Two Scoop Steve right next door . . . more of a local hang out spot than an ice cream shop. 

I popped my tire in Yahk once so I had to throw on a spare tire. I didn't have one or two, but several locals all pitch in to help me get back on the road again. If that doesn't cry friendly townsfolk, I don't know what does!


Starbelly Jam

When: July 19-20

Friday: 5:30 pm-12:30 pm, Saturday 9 am-1 am

Budget: $25-$185 (Festival) $42 (Camping)

Where: Crawford Bay Community Park

Highlights: A weekend of live music featuring rising stars and returning festival favourites from BC and the world, including The Wild Turkeys who played the first festival in 1999!

starbelly paradeI love the vibe of small-town festivals. You feel like you are pulling back a curtain, being let into a community and you get to be part of it for one magical weekend. Starbelly Jam is that quintessential community run festival that has been providing this experience for 20 + years!

Starbelly Jam features two live music stages, food vendors, and a parade. There is an exceptional playground, a beach 20 minutes away by foot from festival grounds, and Crawford Bay itself with it's restaurants and many artisans to check out. You can camp at the festival or at one of the many campgrounds in the area, there are also resorts, motels, RV parks and lodges.

This year to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the festival they are truly changing it up. They've shifted it to a two day festival with longer hours on Friday and Saturday. Besides the Wild Turkeys, other returning artists include Adam Shaikh and BCDC who will headline Friday night. New artists to the festival include Hamsa Hamsa from Barcelona, and the group that is at the forefront of indigenous hip hop in Canada the Snotty Nose Rez Kids. There is always music for all interests and for all ages. Check out the entire 2019 festival line-up here.

On Sunday after the festival ends, visitors can also explore a bevy and events in various locations from Riondel to Wynndel as part of the new East Shore Community Culture Day. Highlights include East Shore Food Root's summer from 10 am-3 pm, musical performances at several different locations including at the Gray Creek Hall, and group mountain bike rides on the numerous trails in the Crawford Bay area.

Come check out a festival that isn't too big or too small. It's juuust right.


Can't make it for any of these festivals? Don't worry, there's fun to be had every week!


Jimmy's Pub and Grill - They frequently have great live music, karaoke nights, dj's, comedians, and even movies on their beautiful outdoor patio during the summer!

Casey's Community House - Trivia Night on Thursdays and frequent tap take-overs. An art gallery called the Tilted Brick just opened upstairs this summer that is a must see.

Baillie Grohman - Come check out one of three Friday Wine Down events scheduled for June 28, July 26, and August 30 featuring food trucks, live entertainment, and good wine!. Be sure to book your tickets by purchasing them at the tasting room!

Fly in the Fibre - This coffee and fibre shop is hopping day and night. They recently put on a weekend knitting retreat, they have weekly classes and every Tuesday evening is a free drop-in to work on your project with other knitters, spinners, felters and weavers.

3-Eh Stage behind the Ramada - More of a fan of classic rock or country music? Be sure to check out the Summer line-up at outdoor 3-Eh Stage including a Kiss and Journey Tribute band on June 28, a Johnny Cash & Elvis tribute on July 20, country star Aaron Pritchett on August 13th, and local legends and ACDC tribute band, BCDC.

And of course check out these links for other summer activities!

The Creston Museum

The Creston Public Library