Budget too tight for a large travel trip this year? Luckily, there’s no need to go gallivanting around the globe because the West Vancouver Community Cultural Fest is bringing all four corners of the world to the North Shore next month, with an event that celebrates the veritable melting pot of cultures found locally.
The event, previously named the Bridge Festival, runs across the weekend of June 2-3 at Ambleside Park. Highlighting the vast array of cultures found within the local community, from Japanese to Persian, Trinidadian to French, it will host music, live performances, workshops and events.
Three stages will host performances throughout the weekend. Entertainers from around the world will put on a show at both the TD Cultural Dance Stage and the Main Stage, while local youth will gear up the crowds at the West Vancouver Schools Stage, with band, choir and music performances.
“In total we have 23 different performances from elementary and secondary schools on the performance stage,” said Liz Hill, director of instruction for West Vancouver Schools.
A pavilion will also show displays from each school and will host games and visual art from across the district, she said.
“We have such a diverse student population, and so this is an opportunity for us to showcase that and put on a selection of the diverse displays and performances,” she said.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for our students to participate in, as a visitor or as a performer, and to to learn more about the diverse cultures which can be found throughout West Vancouver and to also come together and celebrate and contribute as a community.”
While the Brazilian dance troupes, K-Pop performers and kilt-wearing groups perform on the stage, entertainment will be happening elsewhere as well, with stalls, events and experiences occurring throughout the park. Those hoping to experience the rich culture of China can find mask-making workshops and a Chinese dress photo booth, while the Indian quarters of the pavilion will host henna workshops and clay lamp-making events.
When appetites have been worked up, an array of food trucks will be on site to take the taste buds of festival goers and performers on a trip around the world, from fresh Mexican mangoes at Chilango Mango to Filipino inspired fare at Shameless Buns.
“West Vancouver Cultural Fest is a great opportunity to introduce people to a variety of different cultures and traditions, as well as different cuisines, and for people from different nationalities to socialize together to express and share different ideas,” said Maggie Rabek, whose food truck Baba’s House will be serving up authentic Polish dishes – including, yes, perogies – across the weekend.
Food brings people together no matter their nationality, said Rabek. “We are all humans.”
“This is the perfect event for all of us to participate and learn and get to know new traditions, cultures, cuisines and, above all, get to know people from different countries.”
Mina Kerr-Lazenby is the North Shore News’ Indigenous and civic affairs reporter. This reporting beat is made possible by the Local Journalism Initiative.