Car-Free Day: Sunday, June 19

Photo Credit: Remy Scalza

Looking for something to do with Dad next weekend?  Leave the car at home and check out the four separate Car-Free Day festivals that are happening in neighborhoods throughout the city on Father’s Day.

So what exactly is Car-Free Day?  Major streets in four separate neighborhoods will be closed to traffic and filled with live music, vendors selling food and wares and – of course – pedestrians.  Think of it as an outdoor community party staged across the city with thousands of your closest friends.

The event grew out of the old Commercial Drive Festival and has drawn up to 250,000 people in the past.  Not only is Car-Free Day a great environmental statement, it’s also a real community-building exercise.  Hundreds of volunteers from neighborhoods across the city spend months planning in order to bring together their respective communities for a day of partying.

Here are the details on the four Car-Free Day festivals taking place on Sunday, June 19:

Main Street: As in years past, a massive 16-block section of Main Street from 12th Avenue to 28th Avenue will be closed to traffic for the festival.   The party runs from noon to 8 p.m. and features a little bit of everything.  There will be street hockey, a special Veg Fest with vegan vendors, multiple music stages, appearances by the Terminal City Roller Girls, a pedal-powered DJ, a movie tent and more.  If you’re new to Car-Free Day, Main Street is usually one of the big highlights.

Commercial Drive: The Drive will be closed from 1st Avenue to Venables Street for the festival, which runs from noon to 6 p.m.   Organizers have yet to release complete details about what’s in store this year, but the festival is always a rockin’ party organized by the people of East Van for the people of East Van.

Kitsilano: Instead of closing off a major street this year, Kits will be hosting 15 separate block parties.  Each little party is unique, some featuring music and dancing, others featuring neighbours stretched out in couches and chairs in the middle of the street. As of yet, there’s still no map of the parties available.

West End: Denman Street will be closed from 10 a.m.-8 p.m. for the festival, which features more than 54 businesses, artisans, non-profits and a variety of entertainers.  There will be live performances, plenty of ethnic foods to sample, games for kids and discounts from Denman merchants.  And, for the real activists, local politicians will also be on hand to discuss ways of making the neighbourhood even better.

Anyone planning to go to Car-Free Day?  Which festival site do you think offers the most to do?

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