The Ryga Arts Festival

Celebrating creativity in the Okanagan.

The Ryga Arts Festival happens in Summerland every August. It’s a week-long celebration of the arts in honor of George Ryga, Summerland’s most famous writer. Visitors to the festival enjoy and participate in storytelling, singing, creative writing, acting, playwriting, and more.

The festival offers an appealing balance of professional inspiration and homegrown fun. Summerland’s lively cultural and artistic scene make it the perfect host for an arts festival; local artists foster creative expression in many art forms. Social justice is an ongoing theme of the festival as well – most of George Ryga’s plays, including his most famous The Ecstasy of Rita Joe , deal with social issues. There was always music, discussion, and a lively exchange of ideas in the Ryga family home, and the Ryga family always welcomed visitors from near and far to their home surrounded by orchards in Summerland. The house still stands, and the tradition lives on as Summerland welcomes people to the annual Ryga Arts Festival.

The Ryga Arts Festival is operated by the Ryga Festival Society, a registered charitable society. Its purposes are to advance the public’s appreciation of the arts by organizing and staging an annual arts and cultural festival in Summerland, BC, that honours George Ryga; and to advance arts education by providing instructional seminars, workshops, and other educational events to the public. The festival is coordinated by professional artistic director Heather Davies and supported by a large cadre of volunteers and sponsors.

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