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Coming up in Cowichan: Halloween Train is back; Oktoberfest; candidates debate; Big Bird Bioblitz, big book sale

There’s lots of fun coming up in Cowichan in October
The Rotary Club of Duncan’s Oktoberfest fundraiser is coming up on Saturday, Oct. 15, 2022. (Photo courtesy of Rotary Club of Duncan)

It will be nine full nights of “thrills, chills, new surprises and fun” at the BC Forest Discovery Centre in Duncan this Halloween.

Beginning on Friday, Oct. 21 to Sunday, Oct. 23, and back Wednesday, Oct. 26 and running through to Halloween night of Monday, Oct. 31, the Halloween train returns after a two-year hiatus to entertain the young and young at heart.

Behind the scenes, the volunteers and staff are already getting ready and preparing for the best Halloween Train event ever, said a press release for the event.

Doors open at 3:30 p.m. and trains run every half hour beginning at 4 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. with the Centre closing at 9 p.m.

Activities each evening include crafts in the schoolhouse, train rides, trick-or-treat stations for the little ones, and live entertainment by Andy McCormack and the popular Kathy White Zombie Dancers. There will be lots of hot chocolate, coffee and hot food available to purchase so you can sit back, watch the fun and enjoy the warmth of our popular fire pits. Be prepared for lots of fun, said the press release.

“This is a family-friendly event but it can be a little scary for very young children and we suggest that you bring them early before the sun sets,” organizers cautioned.

And people are encouraged to wear their costumes.

Tickets are non-refundable and only available online at, and events go on rain or shine. Tickets are $14 for adults, seniors and youth aged 13 to 18. Children get in for $12, and those under two get in for free.

Get your tickets fast, organizers warn, as they expect it to sell out.


If you want to find out more about the Mill Bay/Malahat candidates for the Cowichan Valley Regional District, the Mill Bay Community League is hosting a debate and information session on Thursday, Oct. 6.

The session will take place from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Mill Bay Community League Hall at 1035 Shawnigan Lake-Mill Bay Road.

“The public will get to hear their candidates voice their opinions on local governance and will get a chance to meet them in person to ask their own questions,” said a press release for the event.

All three candidates — Mark Dodd, Kate Segall and Paul Olthof — have said they will attend. Incumbent director Blaise Salmon is not running for re-election.

The event is free and all members of the public are invited.


The Cowichan Valley Naturalists are holding a Big Bird Bioblitz on Saturday, Oct. 8 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.

The event features two teams in two distinct habitats armed with cameras as they try to outdo each other in how many different species of birds they can identify.

Both teams will be led by knowledgeable birders and a checklist will be available for a small donation. No advance registration is required. Just show up for this free family event.

Team Somenos meets at the Beverly Dog Park and Team Estuary meets at Dock Road Trail. These two sites have been deemed Important Bird and Biodiversity areas.


The Rotary Club of Duncan is bringing back Oktoberfest on Saturday, Oct. 15 after a break of three years.

Festivities get underway at 6 p.m. at Mellor Hall and the Cowichan Exhibition Grounds.

The evening will include a dinner of German food such as bratwurst, sauerkraut and potato salad, along with beer supplied by Red Arrow Brewing.

The Doctors of Rock n’ Roll will provide a mix of traditional German and contemporary rock and roll dance music.

The club has also invited special guests Rowing Canada to attend, so those who go will have the change to meet members of the national rowing team.

There will also be Old Firehouse Wine Bar gift cards for best dressed male, female and couple.

There are a limited number of tickets at $40 each, which includes your dinner and first beer or wine. Get them at

The Rotary Club says this is a major fundraiser which will help them to support local youth programs including Nourish Cowichan, the Hector Macintosh Public Speaking Contest, Student of the Month Awards and the Pregnancy Food Connection.


Book lovers rejoice!

The Garden House Foundation charity book sale has been scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 29 and Sunday, Oct. 30.

The sale features 20,000 books with prices mostly between 50 cents and $3. All children’s books are 50 cents. There are also CDs, DVDs, music sheets and booklets to look through.

A silent auction will also be held with starting bids at $20.

New this year, organizers say there will be a Christmas, Halloween and other holiday section.

Students from Bonner School help with sale set up and Brentwood College students help with the take down. The sale provides students with the opportunity to address social responsibility outcomes in the B.C. school curriculum. There are at least 40 adult volunteers and several students from other schools that help on the sale days.

Profits go into the permanent fund and grants are given each year to Cowichan Women Against Violence, Cowichan Family Life and the Duncan and District SPCA The grants will increase as the fund increases and will be given in perpetuity.

The sale is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, and 9 p.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday.

Andrea Rondeau

About the Author: Andrea Rondeau

I returned to B.C. and found myself at the Cowichan Valley Citizen.
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