RiverFest is a festival that celebrates World Rivers Day in September with art, historical and environmental exhibits along the Quay in New Westminster.
In 2023 the festival took place from September 20th to 24th.
For full details about the event, visit the Fraser River Discovery Centre‘s website.
RiverFest in New Westminster
RiverFest is organized and hosted by the Fraser River Discovery Centre.
It’s normally a four-day event with the main festival taking place on the last day. Following the COVID-19 pandemic, the format changed between being two days or a week long with a mix of in-person and online activities. The 2023 edition, however, was back to more or less what the event was like pre-pandemic!
RiverFest is a family-friendly festival with live music, market stalls and educational things to do and see. There is an Artist and Artisan Market, historical exhibits and educational booths with information on the environment and conservation.
During RiverFest the Fraser River Discovery Centre has special educational exhibits and activities, many of which are great for the little ones. These include guided tours of the area, bird watching, boat displays and the chance to explore the Fraser Watershed river basin.
On September 23rd and 24th in 2023, the centre hosted the Family Fun Zone. This included the opportunity for kids to do gold panning, tie knots and learn a lot about the environment in general. Also on September 23rd there was the New West Boardwalk which included live music and dance performances, a number of vendors lining the boardwalk and other activities to enjoy.
Visit fraserriverdiscovery.org for the event’s official website.
Main Stage Entertainment and Guided Tours
While there are some activities in the first few days of the event, most of RiverFest takes place on the last two days. On top of the family fun zone and market vendors there were a number of live performances on Saturday, September 23rd in 2023. On Sunday, September 24th there were a series of guided tours.
Live Entertainment (September 23rd, 2023)
These performances took place on an outdoor stage on the New West Boardwalk.
- 11:00 am – Tamami Maitland Trio
- 12:00 pm – Mozaico Flamenco
- 1:00 pm – Coastal Wolf Pack
- 2:15 pm – Lucille Johnstone Workboat Parade
- 3:00 pm – Kutapira
Community organizations also set up informational booths along the boardwalk at RiverFest. Typical attendees include Port Metro Vancouver, BC Hydro, Fortis Gas, Metro Vancouver and the Vancouver Aquarium.
Guided Tours (September 24th, 2023)
On the final day of RiverFest there are a series of guided tours in various locations around Metro Vancouver. Most of them include a free shuttle ride from the Fraser River Discovery Centre and back again. The tours last for around 40 minutes each and attendees must pre-register on the RiverFest website.
Below was the list of tours available in 2023.
- 11:00 am – Birding 101 at Burnaby Lake Regional Park
- 12:00 pm – Quayside Tour at the FRDC
- 12:45 pm – Bird Basics at Hawthorne Rotary Park
- 2:30 pm – Raptor Rumble at ƛ̓éxətəm Regional Park
- 7:00 pm – Crow Walk with Dr. Rob Butler at Still Creek
For further details about the event, see the Fraser River Discovery Centre website.
For more information about the surrounding area, see our article about New Westminster.
Other articles that might be of interest include the following:
- Vancouver’s September Calendar
- Lower Mainland Festivals & Events
- Vancouver on a Budget
- Vancouver for Children
- Vancouver’s Top 100 Places