This will be the 20th Cranberry Festival in Fort Langley, a testament to the popularity of the tart treat as well as its importance in the history of Langley.
The festival is always held on the Saturday of the Thanksgiving weekend to celebrate the harvest and history of the cranberry.
According to some First Nation legends, cranberries were delivered to earth in a dove’s beak by the Great Spirit.
Used as food, medicine, even dye for clothing and blankets, cranberries have a long and honoured history.
They are also a great way to attract people to a family-friendly, day-long party.
“The last few years we have had great weather, and generated attendance of approximately 60,000 people from all over the region, from Chilliwack to West Vancouver,” according to organizer Meghan Neufeld.
The Fort Langley Lions will be cooking breakfast from 8 a.m. to noon (or as long as the grub lasts). There will also be approximately 15 food trucks on site.
Don’t relish the thought of finding parking in Fort Langley on a busy day? Organizers have a shuttle bus for the public. It runs from both Trinity Western University and Walnut Grove Secondary. Shuttles start at 9:30 a.m. and run until 5 p.m., approximately every 15 minutes.
The festival runs 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. rain or shine and is possible thanks to the Fort Langley BIA and about 50 volunteers.
A highlight is the sale of fresh cranberries (10,000 pounds), which goes to fund the festival. As well, there are vendors at the village’s biggest annual event, family activities, and local performers offering entertainment throughout the day. The stage is in front of the Fort Langley Community Hall.
The Fort Langley National Historic Site is offering half price admission on Oct. 10. That’s the best place to learn about the role of cranberries in the history of the community.
Long used by First Nations and later European settlers, the berries were a vital source of nutrients.
On Oct. 10, people can take part in popular activities including the cranberry stomp, berry-related games, crafts and other farm and history-related fun (an interactive chicken display and the site’s milking cows). There’s treats to try as well, including cranberry bannock.
In conjunction with the 20th Annual Cranberry Festival in Fort Langley, the Langley Centennial Museum will be offering free, festive crafts, including a chance to make corn husk dolls and paper sunflowers.
Try the Cranberry Guessing Game for a chance to win a prize from the museum’s gift shop and enjoy a free hot cider.
On the water
No matter what the weather, there are teams of people willing to put themselves through a challenge.
Paddlers and non-paddlers of all ages and experience in teams of 10 including a steersperson will compete in three races, including the infamous Cranberry Race Final.
The 2015 Cranberry Races take place on Bedford Channel on festival day and are hosted by the Fort Langley Canoe Club.
All the team spots are filled, and there’s plenty of good spectating opportunities from the banks of the Fraser River.