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Chemainus Fall Festival incorporates activities, a familiar race and fundraising

Former Pumpkin Spice Run part of the plan in first major event since COVID
Chris Istace barks out instructions during the Pumpkin Spice Run held before COVID in Chemainus. There will be a 5K and 2K run coming up again as part of a Fall Festival. (Photo submitted)

Fall is breathing new life into a Chemainus event.

The Chemainus Business Improvement Association has restarted its public events after a long COVID hiatus with the first Chemainus Fall Festival and Fun Run on Saturday, Oct. 30 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“We are excited to be hosting events again,” said Krystal Adams, executive director of the Chemainus BIA. “We are exceeding the safety precautions recommended and we are completely outdoors, distanced and being very cautious so that we can continue to hold events in the future. We want to see Chemainus celebrating again, and to us, this is our first step forward in doing that.”

It almost goes without saying, but “it’s one of the bigger events to come to Chemainus for a while,” she added.

The Fall Festival will feature a mix of fall activities for kids like pumpkin bowling and tic-tac-jack, plus a sidewalk sale, live music, food specials, a scavenger hunt in the Chemainus Valley Museum, giveaways on the spot, a costume contest, a contest where you bring in your already carved pumpkin for people to vote on, and safe trick-or treating at businesses for kids. The horse drawn carriage will also be making the rounds and other great activities are planned.

The Fun Run picks up where the previous Pumpkin Spice Run before COVID left off.

“It’s the exact same thing — it’s not changing,” said Adams. “We’re just combining it with the Fall Festival. There’s literally two events going on at the same time.

“The run had been nicknamed the ‘fun run’ since it began so we just went with it and added a 2K for those who want to participate in something a little shorter. The 5K is still there and to keep with the fall feeling, we have centered the race along the beautiful fall-filled, very flat Trans Canada Trail. The best part is we are staggering the start times based on length and speed to ensure spacing.”

Registrations are currently open and all proceeds go to the Chemainus Harvest House Food Bank.

“With registration not only are you helping a worthy cause but you get a great race day package and are entitled to discounts as well, plus we have a special surprise,” noted Adams. “With the complications of the pandemic, the need for the services Harvest House provides in our community is strong. With the holidays drawing closer, it is important for the Chemainus Business Improvement Association to help where we can with supporting our residents. It is such an honour to be able to donate to such a worthy cause.”

Race registrations close on Oct. 28, with limited spaces available on the day of the race should anyone want to wait until closer to the date to decide about entering. Groups are encouraged to register and challenge one another in fundraising efforts. Tickets for adults and youth are $12, and those under eight are free. Strollers are welcome.

The festival is a true mix of fun for all ages and just the start of something special for the town.

“We want to see this festival grow as the years pass to be something truly idyllic,” added Adams. “As COVID restrictions change, we look forward to welcoming enhancements but there is absolutely nothing lacking this year. We have jam packed the event with so many great features.”

The CBIA has been working with Island Health, the Municipality of North Cowichan and the Cowichan Valley Regional District to make sure all guidelines are met or exceeded and there are enhanced measures above and beyond recommendations for the runners, even being outdoors.

“We are very happy with our safety plan,” said Adams. “We truly hope to see you come down and participate at the starting line.”

Go to for detailed information or directly to for race registration.

Happy days are here, as Mason Adams, 7 and twin siblings Isla and Mason, 3, celebrate fall. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Emily Adams crosses the finish line in a Pumpkin Spice Run held prior to COVID in Chemainus. A new event on Oct. 30 will combine a 5K and 2K run as well as a festival of kids activities and more. (File photo)
Colourful outfits and falling leaves make fall a fun time of the year for Mason Adams, 7, and twins Mason and Isla, 3. (Photo by Don Bodger)