Historic Kaslo May Days

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Arts, Culture & Heritage

Historic Kaslo May Days

May 18-20, 2019

The annual May Days celebration in Kaslo, British Columbia started in 1892, so it's coming up to 127 years in 2019. May Days tradition highlights the diverse culture of Kaslo and the entire Nelson Kootenay Lake region. It's become one of the momentus events that welcomes the summer season here. Whether you are a vintage car enthusiast, skate boarder, logging sports lover or simply enjoy the sunshine, there are good friends and excellent food. Events take place May long weekend every year.

To see this year's festival schedule visit the Kaslo Chamber of Commerce website.

A group of children doing the May Pole dance during Kaslo May Days

Logger Sports

A group sawing through a large log.   A woman running on a log in the water creating a splash.

The May Days celebrations include some year after year traditions including the logging sports competitions, which bring loggers from the United States and across Canada to vie for prizes. The logger sports grounds are on the shore of Kootenay Lake. It’s a big part of the Kaslo May Days celebration and is a 2-day show, May 18 & 19 this year. Admission is free!

Competitions include:

  • Tree Climbing
  • Log Rolling
  • Axe Throwing
  • Springboard Chopping

Show and Shine

This will be the 20th annual Show and Shine in Kaslo. The inaugural event saw 15 cars line the historic downtown. This year, expect to be wowed by cars from the 1930s all the way to some rare vintage Mustangs from the 1960s and 70s. The show is on Sunday, from 10:00 to 3:00, with cars lining the historic downtown all day long. If you are unfamiliar with Kaslo, one of the many features of this village are its roads, which, with their well-maintained curves and incredible views of both mountains and lake a joy to drive. For a great description of why Kaslo is truly the place to be for vintage car lovers, check out our post over on 108 Healthy Things to Do for a conversation with Cliff Blakely, one of the organizers of the Classic British Car Show.

May Days Full Schedule Includes:

Other events on the weekend schedule include:

  • May Days Parade
  • Softball Tournament
  • Garden Fest
  • Bird Watching
  • River Trail Walk
  • Horse Demonstration
  • Kids’ Fun Races
  • Pancake Breakfast
  • Skate Park Demonstration
  • Helicopter Tours

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The Story of Kaslo

As the oldest incorporated village in the Kootenays, Kaslo began not as a mining town, but as a logging town. In 1893, Kaslo was incorporated, and by 1897, it had telephone and electrical service, a brewery, a cigar factory, as well as many hotels and bars. The silver mining boom came to Kaslo, but when that went bust, Kaslo went silent for a period of time, reinventing itself in agriculture in the twentieth century.

Kaslo was one of many Kootneay areas designated for the relocation and internment of Japanese Canadians during World War II. The Langham Cultural Centre commemorates this deeply sad and unfortunate era in Kootenay history, and the Joy Kogawa book, Obasan, tells the story of one family's internment in the area. 

Now, Kaslo relies on both logging and tourism to support its population of just over 1,000 people. It is often called the "Little Switzerland" of the Nelson Kootenay Lake region because of its charming picturesque village right on the west arm of Kootenay Lake, surrounded by mountains. 

Plan Your Trip to Kaslo

Explore our site to find places to stay, eat, and learn more about Kaslo.



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