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8 festivals in 2 days: Where to celebrate in Metro Vancouver this weekend

Italian Day on The Drive is happening June 11, 2023, and organizers say it will be a record event. It's one of eight festivals happening in Metro Vancouver over the weekend. Italian Day on The Drive is happening June 11, 2023, and organizers say it will be a record event. It's one of eight festivals happening in Metro Vancouver over the weekend.

With more festivals happening in Metro Vancouver this weekend than there are days to enjoy them, here’s a list to help you plan a packed two days of fun.


A block of Vancouver will look closer to Tokyo this weekend, when more than 70 vendors are set to pack the north plaza outside the Vancouver Art Gallery for the Japan Market Summer Festival.

The event is described as the city’s “largest market for locally made, imported and Japanese-inspired products and food,” online, where tickets are available for purchase.

From 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Japanese food and “unique style merchandise” will be available to ticket holders, and organizers recommend securing your entry in advance.

The early bird price is $4 for one adult ticket and $7 for a pair. Organizers recommend purchasing a ticket early to secure your entry, as the event gets busy.

For last-minute attendees, the price is $5 for a ticket purchased on the day, and $9 for a pair.

There’s an incentive to get to the festival early. The first 50 people to enter the market on both days will receive a $10 voucher to use inside.

Entry is free for people aged 15 and younger. Unfortunately, dogs are not welcome as the event can get crowded.


Farther west, you’ll find live painting and music, local arts and crafts, prizes, games and more at the Jim Deva Plaza at Bute and Davie streets.

The organization Pacific Arts Market has partnered with the West End Business Improvement Association to host the pop-up event, which will run from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday only.

Few details are available online, however, people can reserve their free spot on

According to the event listing, it’s a family-friendly event that will also be happening on June 17 and 18, July 8 and 22, plus Aug. 12 and 26.


While travelling between events in downtown Vancouver on Saturday, be sure to check out some of the free concerts local musicians will be performing as part of a pop-up series organized by the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.

Between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m., you’ll be able to hear the works of Mozart, Tovey, Beethoven and Brahms—to name a few—at six different locations across the city, as well as at the Vancouver International Airport.

No tickets are required to attend any of the events, which are happening at the Orpheum, VSO School of Music, the Annex, Bill Curtis Square, TELUS Garden and Deloitte’s downtown headquarters.

The programming at the Orpheum, located at 601 Smithe St., begins with a VSO open rehearsal from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., and ends with a free concert by the symphony, beginning at 8 p.m.

Dozens of solo musicians and ensembles are slated to perform, including the Azalea Chinese Music Ensemble, The Squares Barbershop Quartet, Tina Wang’s Saxophone Academy and Ian Cromwell.

The full schedule is available at


A new outdoor festival is happening at Vancouver’s VAULT at 247 East 1st Ave. on Saturday at 2 p.m., titled “On A Summer’s Day.”

This event is ticketed and will cost you $35 to see performances by New York’s Bill Patrick and the Montreal act Claire. On top of those headliners, local DJs Henry C, Jay Di, Jared Love, STJON and Sirena will be showcased.


For those looking for fun outside of Vancouver, head to Surrey on Saturday—but leave your car at home.

The city is hosting its second annual Car Free Day from noon to 8 p.m. on 127th Street in the Newton area, between 72 and 74 avenues.

“Families and people of all ages are invited to enjoy hours of fun, dance, and music, while also learning more about how they can contribute to climate action,” organizers wrote in a statement Thursday.

The event is free and will feature performances by musical acts such as Luv Randhawa, MNGWA, Glisha, Pat Chessel, Sleepy Gonzales, Ashley Pater and Riun Garner.

There will also be a stage dedicated to DJs and dance, with the group Higher Ground set to host a breakdance battle. Dancers with Rangla Punjab Arts are also slated to take the stage.

DJ Stee and Subididi will be in charge of the tunes, and a kids' dance party is scheduled for 1:20 p.m.

The lineup of entertainment for young audiences includes juggler Matt Henry, Penny Pom Pom as well as Nathan and the Can Do’s.

With so much dancing and play in the schedule, the event boasts an impressive line-up of food vendors to help fuel the fun.

The menu includes offerings from Japadog, Dos Amigos, Japanese Teriyaki Express, Crack On, Mr. Pretzels, The Little Snowflake Factory, Tornado Potato and Gary’s Kettle Corn.


If your more of a food-focused festival goer, one being held in North Vancouver may be more up your alley.

Capilano Mall will be hosting its third NOSH Food Fest all weekend, for what’s promised to be its “tastiest year ever.”

The event is free, kid-friendly and outdoors, and will be happening on both Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., rain or shine, at 935 Marine Dr.

“In addition to must-try food truck fare, new ingredients for this scrumptious food festival include a food-meets-technology activity and an artisanal food market featuring local merchants,” the event listing reads.

The lineup of dishes include ones from Super Thai Grill, BeaverTails, Indish, Meet2Eat, Opa!, Babas House, Crack On, Salty’s Lobster Shack and Steamworks.


The 15th annual Fair in the Square, which the Central City Foundation is hosting in partnership with Vancouver Community College, is returning to Victory Square Park on Sunday.

The event offers live music and entertainment, arts and crafts, and artisan market and free barbecue—which includes cupcakes, watermelon and coffee, according to the event listing.

Organizers say the goal of the event is to “connect with our community while celebrating the vibrancy and resilience of our inner city.”

More than 3,000 typically join in on the fun each year.

Entertainers performing at the event include Kaya Ko Music, Kin Balam Patrick Spencer, Royce Rich, Ronnie and Dynamix Band as well as Wildflower Women of Turtle Island.


Commercial Drive, Vancouver’s “Little Italy” will be a scene of red, white and green on Sunday.

This annual event, which will take over the east side neighbourhood from noon to 9 p.m., promises to be a record-breaking one—with close to 160 street participants.

That includes 20 patios, 60 Drive merchants, 23 food trucks and carts and over 55 outside vendors, sponsors and non-profits.

There will also be three stages and a tent dedicated to musical performances, and four DJs slated to spin tracks all day.

New to the festival will be a performance by Emma Busse, a local 20-year-old Italian-Canadian who competed on this season's American Idol.

Over $11,000 worth of prizes are up for grabs too—including the opportunity to win a Vespa Primavera.

The streets will be packed, but a bike valet will be available at Commercial Drive and 6th Avenue.

An overview of the 2023 festival highlights is available at Top Stories

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