Seabird Island opens 50th annual festival

A Saanich Brave player takes a fall during their game against the Chehalis Panthers Saturday. (Grace Kennedy/The Observer)
The Kaliwans and the Lions Gate Guardians go head to head, literally, in one of the men’s soccer games at the Seabird Island Festival. (Grace Kennedy/The Observer)
The Highballers are up to bat during the Saturday three-pitch game between the Highballers and Skwo:wech at Seabird Island Festival. (Grace Kennedy/The Observer)
Two Sts’ailes youth demonstrated their dance skills during the openining ceremonies for the 50th annual Seabird Island Festival. (Grace Kennedy/The Observer)
Even the youngest audience members got involved in the dancing during the opening ceremonies for the 50th annual Seabird Island Festival. (Grace Kennedy/The Observer)
One of the girls in the U10 girls single paddle heads to the starting line during the Saturday war canoe races at the Seabird Island Festival. (Grace Kennedy/The Observer)
One of the paddlers in the U10 boys in the single paddle race takes the lead by several lengths. (Grace Kennedy/The Observer)
Members of the Spindal Whorl dance group head down the the war canoe races, singing a travelling song. (Grace Kennedy/The Observer)
The Sts’ailes Lil’Chiefs (red) take the ball during their game against the Musqueam Runners in their U7 tournament Saturday. (Grace Kennedy/The Observer)
The Charles family honoured the late Archie Charles, founder of the Seabird Island Festival and long-time coordinator of the salmon barbecue, at this year’s event. (Grace Kennedy/The Observer)
Family members scoop out potato salad to go with the barbecued salmon. (Grace Kennedy/The Observer)

For the fiftieth time in the band’s history, Seabird Island has welcomed thousands of athletes, families and sports fans into the community to celebrate Indigenous culture and athletic achievement.

The festival, which was first started in 1969 by Grand Chief Archie Charles, opened Friday night (May 24) with the first of the three-pitch games. But the festival really got going Saturday morning, when Chief Clem Seymour held the opening ceremonies for the weekend tournament.

Throughout the day, soccer players from the under five division and up played games on 10 different fields throughout the community, while softball fans watched a round robin session of the three-pitch tournament.

Canoes lined Seabird Island Road, and from 11 a.m. onwards races were held on Maria Slough.

RELATED: Remembering the history of Seabird Island Festival

In addition to the competitive sports, festival-goers also had the chance to enjoy the salmon barbecue. Originally started by Archie Charles, the barbecue tradition is now continued by his children and extended family.

The Seabird Island Festival has sports competitions and other activities going on until after 7 p.m. this evening (Saturday, May 25). The festival will continue Sunday morning at 8 a.m. with the soccer tournament.



grace.kennedy@ahobserver.com

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