Big River Festival – A Complete Guide

It is the inaugural year for Brockville’s Big River Festival! For those who might not know what’s going on throughout the end of August, or haven’t heard of Big River Festival yet, this post is for you! We’re going to break down the next week to make sure you’re ready for days of fun right up to the Labour Day Weekend!

Friday, August 23rd

Canadian Dock Jumping Championships – Hardy Park

We start the Big River Festival with the Canadian Dock Jumping Championships. This is a national competition for dogs and their owners that happens every year. Regional events have happened throughout the summer for dogs to qualify, and the best of the best will be competing for the title of champion in Canada.

Brockville Museum Walking Tours – Brockville Museum

The beginning of Big River Festival will mark the end of Brockville Museum’s walking tours throughout downtown Brockville. At 3pm, the Historic Waterfront Walking Tour will explore the waterfront and tell stories about Brockville’s history. Then at 7pm, Brockville’s Criminal Past Walking tour will tell the tales of Brockville’s past, including stories of one of the largest bank heists in Canadian history. Tickets can be bought in advance on Snapd 1000 Islands, or at the Brockville Museum for $8 a person.

Saturday, August 24th

Brockville Farmers’ Market – Market Street West

Enjoy walking along Market Street West as vendors sell their locally grown fruits and vegetables, as well as baked goods, preserves, maple syrup, arts and crafts and more!

Canadian Dock Jumping Championships – Hardy Park

Saturday is going to be a great day to check out the dock jumping, since it will be a good mix of practices and competition. It’s also the day where you can bring your dog down to Hardy Park to try it themselves! The full schedule of events can be found on the Canadian Championships website.

Sunday, August 25th

Canadian Dock Jumping Championships – Hardy Park

The final day of dock jumping! Make sure you check out the finals and see which dog is crowned champion!

Beachfest – St Lawrence Park

Starting at 10am, Beachfest is a fun and free family event! At 10am, there will be a church service hosted by The Pier Christian Church. Then at 12pm, the free activities and entertainment begin. There will be games and activities put on by different groups in Brockville. These include events like a sand castle building contest, face painting, art, a scavenger hunt, and a volleyball tournament. There also will be a petting zoo, bouncy castles, and the chance to see some of the Brockville Fire trucks!

Free popcorn and cotton candy will be available, and Loaves and Fishes will be hosting a barbecue, with all the proceeds going to Loaves and Fishes. Squeezers Lemonade and Goodies will also be there with their fresh squeezed lemonade, funnel cakes and deep fried Oreos!

For more information or for the detailed schedule of events, check out the Facebook Event page. Make sure you RSVP right away!

Sunday Concerts In the Park – Hardy Park

Come see the final concert in this annual summer series! Christ and Alex with the Great Music Guys will be performing at 6:30pm at the Gazebo in Hardy Park. Bring a chair, sit back and enjoy the season closing performance. Note: If the weather is bad, the concert will be at St.John’s United Church.

Monday, August 26th

WPBS TV Screening: Great Lakes Now + Starry Night – The Aquatarium

WPBS will be offering a free screening of an episode of “Great Lakes Now” in the theatre at the Aquatarium for Big River Festival! The episode will be “Ships and Shipwrecks” and will focus on the CSL Welland, a series of locks that allows ships to bypass Niagara Falls and the people who work on board . The series is all about the world’s largest system of fresh water, focusing on the environmental, economic and political issues that surround the Great Lakes and the people who use, cherish and protect them.

The showing will be opened by the WPBS President and General Manager, Mark Prasuhn. The event is free, but you are encouraged to pre-register on the WPBS website.

Guests will also be able to visit the 4th floor Pilot House on a first come, first served basis to look up and explore the galaxy and planets. The presentation explores our solar system and highlights what’s visible in the night sky that evening. The tour includes constellations, planets, the moon, colliding galaxies, and exploding star, glowing nebulae, star clusters and planetary transits. It will be an exciting journey into space, based on computer generated large format images projected on the planetarium.

Tuesday, August 27th

Film Screening – “Maiden” – Brockville Arts Centre

There will be a screening of the documentary film “Maiden” presented by Film Brockville. The film tells the story of Tracy Edwards, a 24-yer-old who became the skipper of the first ever all-female crew to enter the Whitbread Round the World race in 1989.

There will be a screening at both 2pm and 7pm, and tickets are available through the Brockville Arts Centre.

Big River Night on Blockhouse Island – Tunnel Plaza

Enjoy a free, family friendly evening of entertainment to celebrate our beautiful waterfront! There will be live performers including Gerry Mitchell and a hula hoop performer. Activities will include face painting, pirate shop painting, a kids booth by the Brockville Public Library and a race at 5:45 by the Brockville Yacht Club.

  • 5:30pm: hula hoop demos, face painters, art INDEED pirate craft, popsicles and giveaways in the railway tunnel plaza
  • 5:45pm: Brockville Yacht Club race in the St. Lawrence River (best viewing location is from Hardy Park – sail boats will pass by tunnel plaza between roughly 6:00-6:20pm)
  • 6:00pm: Gerry Mitchell performance
  • 6:30pm: Hula Hoop show
  • 7:00pm: Gerry Mitchell performance (second set)
  • 7:30pm: Hula Hoop show (second set)

Wednesday, August 28th

Live Music at the Waterfront – Fat Les Waterfront Patio, Blockhouse Island

Come visit the waterfront for a “Big River” drink, dinner and an ice cream at the Waterfront Patio! There will be live entertainment, including The Rifle & The Writer, Rebekka Paige and Colby Latocha. This event will be hosted by Fat Les Waterfront Patio on Blockhouse Island.

Ghost Tours – Fulford Place

What roams the halls after the lights go out? Come learn more about Fulford’s more spooky stories after hours by taking part in a 30 minute ghost tour around the haunted mansion. Tickets can be bought at the Kensington Parkway Quickie, Fulford Place or online at Eventbrite. Reservations are required, so make sure you buy your tickets in advance!

Elvis: The Concert – Brockville Arts Centre

Pete Paquette will bring the classic music of Elvis back to life with his live band. Throughout the concert, experience the entire musical career of Elvis, through the 1950’s, Elvis in leather, and his explosive Vegas years. Tickets are $35 each, and can be bought on the Brockville Arts Centre’s website.

Thursday, August 29th

Brockville Farmers’ Market – Market Street West

Come spend the morning down at the Brockville Farmer’s Market! Grab some lunch, some fruits or vegetables, and have a stroll past the different vendors selling their locally grown and produced goods.

Music on the Veranda – Fulford Place

Come enjoy the final performance of Music on the Veranda at Fulford Place from 12pm to 1pm. Pack a lunch and enjoy the music of Yvan Petit, a country singer, guitar plater and member of Johnny Reid’s band. Admission to Music On the Veranda is by donation.

Elvis: The Concert – Brockville Arts Centre

Come relive the classic music of Elvis Presley with Pete Paquette and his live band during the two performances on Thursday at 2pm and 8pm. Enjoy all the hits as Paquette goes through Elvis’ entire career of music.

Aquatarium After Dark with YukYuks Comedy – Aquatarium

Standup comedy will be taking over the Aquatarium once the doors close to the public! Come see the Aquatarium while enjoying cocktail hour from 6-7pm with live music from Amelia Foley. Then at 7pm, the following comedians will perform:

  • Geoffrey Appelbaum
  • Patrick Haye
  • Rachelle Elie
  • Sebastien Bourgault

There will be a cash bar and refreshments available by Moose McGuires.

  • Homemade kettle chips or popcorn – $3
  • Theatre service “hot box” including 3 chicken wings + sauce, 2 bruschetta, 2 fried pickles and a bag of kettle chips – $15
  • Table service appetizer platter – $20 (preorder and served 30 minutes before the show)

Tickets can be bought online through the Brockville Arts Centre.

Big River Brockville Islands Sunset Cruise – 1000 Islands & Seaway Cruises

Enjoy a sunset cruise throughout Brockville’s islands with the 1000 Islands & Seaway Cruises. This cruise, leaving at 6:30pm, will be a special cruise designed to enlighten passengers, about our rich history along the St.Lawrence River, and will tell stories of shipwrecks, the islands, and different unique stories that may not have been heard before. These stories have been developed and delivered by the staff of the Brockville Museum, and are going to be well worth the trip! Tickets can be booked through the 1000 Islands & Seaway Cruises website.

Movies in the Park: Aladdin – Hardy Park

The final movie of the summer will be the 2019 remake of Aladdin! Come enjoy the bouncy castles, snacks and free popcorn from 6:30 until sunset. The movie will begin once the sun has set. Bring a chair and arrive early to make sure you’ve got a good spot!

This list only takes us up to the Long Weekend! Keep watching Brockville Tourism’s website to get all the details about Big River Festival, the Red Hot & Blue Rockabilly Festival, Shootout Fishing League Solo series, the SNOlympiad and of course, Tall Ships!

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