Summer Traditions for Late June and July in Vancouver

Under normal circumstances we stay home during Vancouver’s summer and spend our time at all the great festivals.

A smiling face in the crowd on Italian Day in June 2019, Vancouver, Canada

Italian Day is on the second Sunday in June. This is the 2019 version.

This year we’re staying home as usual but all the festivals have been cancelled.

This year the Italian Day committee suggested singing from your balconies. I thought at least we could grill up sardines or Italian sausages to celebrate. Italian Days means grilled sardines

Based on this idea of making up the festivals as you go along…

Mid-June to July 1st long weekend: Two weeks and three weekends of the International Jazz Fest. jazz singer2020: buy some music from your favourite performers from past Jazz Fests!  There’s Jill Barber (especially her songs in French which immediately transported me to a small cafe in Paris), Blick Bissy, Jane Bunett…

July 1st, Canada Day.

wear red and paint a giant maple leaf on your face for Canada Day on July 12020: wear red, wave a flag, paint a giant maple leaf on your face, watch virtual Canada Day events, grill burgers, drink beer, eat birthday cake, sing Oh Canada from your balcony…

Early July Saturday : Khatsahlano Street Party. Lots of stages featuring local music, along with all sorts of events, food and street markets along 10 blocks of 4th Avenue. There are about 50 restaurants along this stretch and many of them had stands in front offering up some of their signature dishes in small sizes and small prices. The smaller prices meant you could try something that you weren’t sure about; the smaller sizes meant you could order as you meandered along. Before it was Khatsahlano it was Hippie Days, and they were handing out prizes for the best hippie costumes – we got a prize once and we hadn’t even dressed up!

What remains of the Poppy Family playing at Khatsalano in 2014

What remains of the Poppy Family playing at Khatsalano in 2014

It was supposed to be on July 11th 2020 but has been cancelled. So that day I will buy some music from some of my favourite performers from previous years, dust off my collection of 45s, play the Poppy Family, dress up like a hippie and stroll along 4th Avenue, order take-out appies from a variety of small cafes… Poppy Family 45

First weekend after July 1st: 2-day Carnival del Sol. Billed as the largest Latin festival in the entire Pacific Northwest! There’s lots of local Latin music jamming it up, dancers, stalls that provide a food tour of Latin America, and Mexican beer. This is one of my favourite musical discoveries: Colombian Cumbia with a Vancouver twist – you must listen to MNGWA’s ‘La Rumba de Kingsway’ on YouTube, their tribute to the low-rent street that cuts diagonally through the city. Mngwa lead singer at the Carnaval del Sol in Vancouver2020: this year they’re moving the Carnaval to August 7th to 9th, hoping that the city will be over the worst of COVID by that time. But for a homemade Carnaval in July we can play our large collection of Latin music and dance out on the deck. For food we might head over to Las Margaritas on 4th – they are now open for 50% dine-in and have always had a great patio. Or we might head to Andina Brewing Company, a Peruvian-influenced craft beer brewpub with the best ceviche in town! They are only doing take-out right now but the city is opening up and maybe in a week or two! Or to Havana for some Cuban-inspired food and Mojitos.

A performer relaxes at the Caribbean Festival in North Vancouver

A performer relaxes at the Caribbean Festival

Last weekend in July: Caribbean Festival in North Vancouver.

2020: I think we usually order Jerk Chicken and Carib beer, while listening to all the music from all over the Caribbean. The last time we tried to make barbecued Jerk Chicken at home we were coughing our lungs out from the chile fumes. Maybe just some Carib beer and Reggae music would be appropriate; my favourite reggae artist is Max Romeo, and of course there are all the old classic calypsos by Harry Belafonte.

Late July, early August, Saturday, Wednesday and Saturday: 3 nights of fireworks. Currently called the Celebration of Light, it’s a fireworks competition and has an accompanying festival in English Bay and Stanley Park.England's entry into the fireworks competition: my friend calls this 'rainbow between two universes'2020: attracting crowds of 200,000 or more this won’t be happening this year, and I can’t think of anyway to really duplicate this experience. But there other August events to substitute.

I think I’ll stop here, August seems too far off in the future and the future seems to be too unknowable. But that’s July done, and towards the end of July I’ll put together an August list of celebrations.

More of Friendly Friday Photo Challenge: Summer Traditions.


8 responses to “Summer Traditions for Late June and July in Vancouver

  1. I’m bookmarking your post for 2021 when I’m sure to be on the west coast! Great ideas on how to make up festivals in lieu 🙂

    • I made up a list of festivals from April to June to tempt my cousins into coming over from Sweden and Denmark. I managed to get my Swedish cousins over last summer for three weeks in late July and early August. It seems like so long ago now!

  2. All big events cancelled in Berlin till October, such as “Carnival of Cultures” a few weeks ago, so you are in good company all over the world in the time being. 🙂

    • This is certainly going to be a different year for everyone around the world, and tragic for so many people too. I almost feel whiney complaining about no festivals. But our health officer keeps pointing out, mental health is important too…

      • We now do just other things, usually outside in the fresh air where the risk is low. Our lockdown has already finished a few weeks ago, so more is happening again of course with certain limitations and safety regulations. Stay safe!

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