Metro Vancouver’s Fort Langley Cranberry Festival is a FREE event with a market and family-friendly activities on the Thanksgiving Weekend in Fort Langley.
It was going to happen on Saturday, October 10th, in 2020. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, however, it has been cancelled.
Although the festival has been cancelled, it doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy cranberry season in the Lower Mainland. Hoppcott Farm in Pitt Meadows, for example, offers guided tours of their cranberry operations from October 12th until the 23rd. For details check out hopcottmeats.ca.
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Click any of the above links for details about a specific topic, or continue reading to learn all about the Fort Langley Cranberry Festival. (Note: details are subject to change.)
Cranberry Festival in Historic Fort Langley
The family-friendly Fort Langley Cranberry Festival was going to celebrate its 25th year in 2020. Because of COVID-19, however, it will now have to wait until 2021 to do that.
In years when it isn’t cancelled, the festival takes place rain or shine from around 10:00 am until 4:00 pm on the Saturday of the Thanksgiving Long Weekend and, in years with good weather, it attracts tens of thousands of people. Festivities occur at the historic fort as well as in the town itself.
Note: Admission to the fort is always free for youth ages 17 and under. On the day of the Cranberry Festival, admission is usually free for adults as well!
Cranberry Festival Location
Much of the event takes place in the heart of the town at the Fort Langley Community Hall (at 9167 Glover Road) and along the main street in front of the building for a couple of blocks in either direction.
Cranberry Festival activities also take place at Fort Langley’s historic fort which is located just a few blocks away at 23433 Mavis Avenue.
Cranberry Festival Activities
The Fort Langley Cranberry Festival usually features a pancake breakfast in the morning, a market with around seven dozen vendors, and a wide range of family-friendly activities. There are cooking demonstrations, live music performances, food trucks and all kinds of cranberry-themed things to do and look at.
There are a small number of special cranberry-related activities at the fort itself, but not a lot more to do than on a normal busy weekend. The historic site is an interesting place to visit any day of the year, however, so many festival attendees also spend some time at the fort. In addition to regular blacksmith and barrel-making demonstrations, one special fort activity for the festival most years is a “cranberry stomp.”
Fort Langley’s regular weekly farmers market also usually takes place at the same time as the festival in its regular location at 9025 Glover Road which is just a block or so from the rest of the village’s main festival activities. The market is always a popular one, and especially so during the Cranberry Festival.
At the event in 2019 there was also the Makers Market from 10:00 am until 3:30 pm just outside the Fort. It’s a great market and features close to 40 artisan vendors. We hope 2021 will be similar.
Performances that took place at the Fort Langley Cranberry Festival in the town in 2019 included the following. We expect 2021 details to be similar.
- 10:00 am – Six Gun Romeo
- 10:30 am – Silver Diamond Country Line Dancers
- 11:00 am – Damn Chandelier
- 11:30 am – Surrey Firefighters Pipes and Drums
- 12:00 pm – Seabillys Celtic Band
- 12:30 pm – Kwantlen First Nations Drums & Dance
- 1:00 pm – Rue Saint Georges Saxophone Ensemble
- 1:30 pm – Kailyarders Band
- 2:00 pm – Maria’s Traditional Mexican Vivo
- 2:30 pm – Ranj Singh
- 3:00 pm – MAYDAY Youth Club Choir
- 3:30 pm – Ashley Pater Band
- 4:00 pm – Dave Mercer & Co
- 4:30 pm – Key Collective Band
There is also live entertainment scheduled inside Fort Langley itself. The 2019 schedule was as follows. 2021 details are expected to be comparable.
- 10:45 am – Fort Langley 101
- 11:00 am – Coopering demonstration
- 12:00 pm – Cranberry stomp
- 1:15 pm – Fort Langley 101
- 1:30 pm – Campfire cranberry bannock
- 2:00 pm – Cranberry stomp
- 2:30 pm – Coopering demonstration
- 3:00 pm – Campfire cranberry bannock
- 4:00 pm – Fort Langley 101
- 4:30 pm – Flag lowering ceremony
About the Festival
The Fort Langley Cranberry Festival has been running since 1996 and has grown into an event of significant size.
The main focus of the festival is the market which features over 70 vendors selling everything from fresh cranberries to cranberry baked goods, wines, art and general farmers market and artisan products. It’s a large yet fairly typical artisan and farmers market, but with a cranberry theme and tons of people.
Below is some other general information about the event that’s good to know.
- Dogs are welcome at the festival in most areas, except not indoors at the Community Hall or in the fort. Glover Road gets packed with thousands of people, however, so not all canine participants will enjoy the experience.
- Be prepared for crowds yourself. It can get insanely busy in the market as well as with traffic on the surrounding roads.
- If you want to stock up on cranberries, be sure to buy them earlier in the day before they sell out. Just remember though that, unless you somehow manage to park your car close by, you’ll have to walk around with your purchases for the rest of your visit.
- Live music and other activities take place in and around the Community Hall.
- A couple of years ago admission to the fort was free thanks to the Canada 150 celebrations. In 2019, again, admission was free. Hopefully it’ll be the same in 2021.
Free Shuttle Service
With up to as many as 50,000+ people attending the small town’s event, parking is always a challenge. Most years the festival offers a free shuttle service, however, with shuttle buses running regularly from both Trinity Western University and Walnut Grove Secondary School between 9:30 in the morning and 4:00 in the afternoon.
Trinity Western University is located close to the Trans-Canada Highway at 7600 Glover Road, so on the same street as the festival but to the south and about a 12-minute drive away (in good traffic). Walnut Grove Secondary, meanwhile, is located at 8919 Walnut Grove Drive, so about a 10-minute drive west of Fort Langley via 88th Avenue.
Parking at the school is usually free, but at the university it’s about $3.75 for 2 hours, $4.50 for 4 hours, $5 for 5 hours and $7.50 for 12 hours. In some (but not all) years the fee was waived at Trinity Western during the festival.
Tips and Advice
Below are some suggestions and bits of information to help you make the most out of your visit to the Fort Langley Cranberry Festival.
TIP #1: The cost per hour for parking at the university gets less and less the longer you pay for. Consequently, pay for more than you expect to stay because 1) the extra bit of time is cheap, 2) you might want to stay longer than you plan and 3) there can sometimes be a line up and traffic delays for the shuttle coming back.
TIP #2: Before putting your money in the parking machine at Trinity University (if you park there), make sure you really do have to pay. There is a chance you won’t in which case there should be signs around stating this. If there are no signs, however, then odds are that regular rates do still apply.
TIP #3: Don’t wait until the very end to get in the lineup for the shuttle for your return trip back to your car. Lots of people use the service!
TIP #4: If you are planning to drive directly to the festival, arrive early if you want and can. Around 9:00 am is usually best if not before. The festival doesn’t get started until 10:00 am and the fort doesn’t open until 10:00 either. Traffic won’t be so bad before 9 o’clock though, and there may actually still be parking spots available. While you’re waiting for things to start you can go for a stroll along the river or enjoy a cup of coffee in one of the town’s cafes.
TIP #5: Unless you arrive really early, don’t expect to find parking anywhere remotely close to the centre of town. As the day progresses cars start to park along the roads as far as a couple of kilometres away.
TIP #6: If you have bicycles and a bike rack take them with you to Fort Langley. You can then park a ways away and cycle to the event, which will mean less of a walk and less time in the traffic mayhem!
About Fort Langley and Cranberries
The Fort Langley Cranberry Festival is one of, if not the largest event of the year for the community of Fort Langley. Other major events include Fort Langley May Days with its parade in May and the Fort Langley Jazz & Arts Festival in July, among others.
Fort Langley itself is a beautiful historic town with a National Heritage site fort, a couple of museums, antique shops and colonial-style buildings. Both the fort and the town are well worth visiting.
Fort Langley is located at the edge of what’s known as the Fraser Valley part of the Lower Mainland. It’s a predominantly agricultural area with all kinds of farm land. Cranberries are the largest crop for the region, which explains why the October festival is all about cranberries. Between the Fraser Valley and Richmond, the Lower Mainland is one of the largest producers of cranberries anywhere in the world!
For a list of other things to do in the Lower Mainland, check out any of the following: