Tag Archives: festival

Vancouver Events: The Dragon Boat Festival

Dragon Boat racing began in southern China as a Summer Solstice fertility ritual to ensure a good harvest. During the fourth century BC, the story of  patriot-poet Qu Yuan becomes integrated in Dragon Boat history. Qu Yuan was banished from his beloved country and, in despair, leapt into a river clutching a heavy rock. The people tried to save him, racing out in their fishing boats, defending his body from fish and water dragons by beating drums and splashing with their oars.

#5 crew looks relieved to cross the finish line first

Modern Dragon Boat races still occur near the Summer Solstice and at the opening ceremony for race events, a Taoist priest performs an “eye dotting” ceremony to awaken the dragons and bless them, cleansing the racecourse and envigorating the paddlers.

2010 marks the 22nd Annual Dragon Boat Festival taking place in the waters of False Creek in Vancouver, British Columbia. Admission is FREE. Festival entrances are located near Concord Place and Science World. Take the bus or skytrain, ride your bike, or just hoof it and leave the car at home.

A gorgeous day for festival fun.

Of course, there’s plenty of festival food, from dim sum and perogies to Jamaican patties and kettle korn. Vera’s has a burger stand set up, and there’s no shortage of those cute and tasty Mini Doughnuts. Food vendors take Dragon Dollars instead of cash. PURCHASE Dragon Dollars at booths near entryways. Grownups can also buy beer/wine tickets and relax in the Beer Garden hosted by Granville Island Brewery.

About 180 Dragon Boat teams will participate this year, and races are frequent. There’s plenty of fun to be had, so go down and enjoy music from the World Beat stage or peruse goodies and info offered by vendors, companies, and local organizations. Don’t forget to see what’s cookin at the Aluminum Chef contest (finals on Sunday). You might even get to guest-judge a dish!

Find out more about the Rio Tinto Alcan Dragon Boat Festival.

Vancouver Street Food: Caramel Corn

It’s Italian Day today on Commercial Drive, and pedestrians own the streets. On either side for blocks there are ethnic restaurants of all varieties, organic markets, boutiques, cafes, and strange little hole-in-the-wall shops. The Drive is an interesting and diverse community, and every so often, they throw a pretty darn good block party.

We’ve been to The Drive a few times for festivals and events. They close the street to traffic (except for certain crossings) and vendors set up shop along the sidewalks. The smell of grilling fills the air, and there are so many tempting treats it’s hard to choose. Today, we were won over by a container of delicious caramel coated popcorn with nuts. It is perfectly crisp and buttery and mouthwatering—better than any other I have ever tasted—and I wish I could remember who sold it. Our supply will soon be gone.

Read more about Commercial Drive @ http://www.thedrive.ca/

2009 Vancouver Wooden Boat Festival

In possession of a bus pass while Ginger Man is off playing at the water park @ Cultus Lake, I decided to venture out to Granville Island Market in search of a madeline pan. As usual, I came back with something completely different. I also had the unexpected pleasure of investigating the Vancouver Wooden Boat Festival. The Floating Exhibition is on display Aug. 27-30, and it’s free to see!

Munin's Sail by Foxtongue

Munin's Sail by Foxtongue

The Vancouver Wooden Boat Society says, “The world has enough plastic. Let’s protect something beautiful.” I wholeheartedly agree. Gorgeous sailing vessels and yachts line the docks near the market, interrupted by the occasional precious wee dinghy (cast a ballot for your favourite!). You can tour the SS Master—the last living locally-built steam tugboat—or have a look at an authentic half-size replica of a real viking longboat (complete with red-striped square sail). The viking boat, built by the BC Viking Ship Society at the Scandinavian Community Centre, is named Munin. She’s about 9 years old, crafted from fir planks, and hand-rivited with 3,000 copper rivets. I see her sometimes on English Bay when the winds are right.

Family fun can be had at boatbuilding workships (check the 2009 schedule). Closer to the market: beautiful knotwork, pretty toy boats made of recycled materials, and a crew singing sea shantys. Another fave: Graham Eagle’s whimsical store front “architectural portraits” (combining miniatures, found objects, and a good dose of humour).

As usual, a day at the Market was enjoyable, and although I passed up the madeline pan (trop cher), I did get a new salt grinder to replace my crappy broken one. It’s so cute, I just wanna squeeze it! I also picked up a few veggies and a couple of treats from Stuart’s: a key lime tart and a black forest minicake. They make wonderful things (cheesecake highly reccommended).

Last but not least, I blew my last $5 of fun money on a thrift-store cookbook and a few 98¢ 45rpm records (of all things). I don’t even have a record player, but c’mon! How could I pass these up? Maybe Ginger Man *hint hint* will get me a thrift shop turntable for my birthday. 😉

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