Vancouver knows there’s no better way to celebrate than with a festival! Come May and June, the city is abuzz with excitement and festivities. Join in the fun by checking out some of Vancouver’s top summer festivals:
ExplorAsian Festival 2014
In celebration for Vancouver Asian Heritage Month, there are a variety of signature programs offered as part of the ExplorAsian Festival. From May 1 – June 1, explore and celebrate the diversity of Asian culture through a series of performances and exhibitions. On May 2 – 4, listen as 30 epic storytellers present the life of a Persian hero, Rostram in English at the West Vancouver Community Centre. Enjoy a series of Chinese musical performances at the Sound of the Dragon Music Festival from May 9 – 11. Watch classical Indian dances at the Scotiabank Dance Centre on May 29, 12.pm. Or catch a fun e-demonstration on how Indonesian Batik patterns are made at the Vancouver Public Library, on May 30 from 2 – 6pm.
Vancouver International Children’s Festival
Grab the kids and head on down to Granville Island for the 36th annual Vancouver International Children’s festival. From May 27 – June 1, catch 11 captivating performances by artists from Israel, Germany, Australia and Canada. There are a lot of shows to choose from, including acrobatics, puppetry, dance performances and more. This year's featured shows include 'Earth Dinosaur Zoo', where kids can get up close to gigantic dinosaur puppets. Another must-see is ‘A Circus in Wonderland’ – a theatrical circus performance featuring beloved Lewis Carroll characters like Tweedle Dee, the Mad Hatter, and the White Rabbit. After the show, kids can enjoy some art and craft activities, such as Face painting, Twist & Toddle and origami. There’s even a special Twist & Toddle play area for the little ones. Tickets for live performances are $15 per child, $25 per adult and include access to all the hands-on art activities for the day. Purchase tickets online at www.childrensfestival.ca or on-site at the box office at Granville Island!
Summer Night Market Festival
A Vancouver summer isn’t complete without a visit to one of the three Asian-style night markets. These bustling, high-energy bazaars are a fun place to browse for quirky gifts, phone cases and other various items. With dozens and dozens of delicious food vendors, they’re also a food lover’s paradise. The biggest one is the International Summer Night Market in Richmond. With over 300 plus vendors, it runs from May 9 – Sept 14, from Friday through Sunday. Admission is free and you’re welcome to bring your dogs on leash. The Richmond Night Market is another great option - Loud, bright and with lots of snacking opportunities, it runs from May 16 – October 13, from Friday through Sunday. Regular admission is $2 and children under 10 and seniors get in free. Can’t get enough? Then be sure to check out the Vancouver Chinatown Night Market. Running from May 16 – Sept 7, Friday to Sunday, it’s another perfect place to pick up traditional handicrafts and snack on delectable goodies. Visitors can also enjoy multicultural performances like magic shows, martial arts and more. Don’t forget to bring cash - many vendors at the Night Markets do not accept bank cards.
Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival
When you spot those white tents at Vanier Park, you’ll know that summer is officially here! Vancouver’s signature summer theatre festival is back and from June 11 – September 20, catch classic Shakespeare plays like A Midsummer’s Night Dream and the Tempest. In celebration of their 25th anniversary, there a lot of special events lined up. There’s the Bard-B-Q and Fireworks event which includes a salmon barbecue, dessert and fireworks after the play. You can also join EnChor Choir one night for a family-friendly concert. Relive those campfire memories and feel free to sing along! The performance schedule and ticket information can be found on their website at www.bardonthebeach.org. For more information, call the Bard Box Office at 604-739-0559
TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival
Love music? Then you’re in luck. Enjoy twelve days of musical bliss at the Vancouver International Jazz Festival! Running from June 20 – July 1, this renowned musical festival features captivating performances by artists from all over Canada and around the world in various venues around Vancouver. The best part? Around a hundred of these concerts are free! For the festival schedule and ticket information, visit their website at www.coastaljazz.ca
Rio Tinto Alcan Dragon Boat Festival
Between June 20 – 22, head out to the Creekside Community Centre and Village Plaza located near Science World for the 26th annual Dragon Boat Festival. Watch exciting dragon boat races, explore the marketplace and enjoy non-stop entertainment at the World Beat Stage, which will feature live music and dance performances. The festival also offers a supervised play area for kids called the Dragon’s Den and children are sure to love the bouncing castles, face painting and the circus performance! There is also a global tea lounge and beer garden for the adults. Admission is free for all, so bring your family or friends and make a day of it.