It’s easy to love a month that starts with a three-day weekend. And the Labour Day long weekend has a full agenda of staycation goodness including a smokin’ BBQ competition in Gastown, the Victory Square Block Party and your last chance to visit the Fair at the PNE.
As the month progresses and the air cools, September in Vancouver is all about the arts. Expect eclectic theatre and funny-bone-shattering improv from the annual Vancouver International Fringe Festival, Sept. 6-16. The Olio Festival presents an edgy mix of mediums including skate, fashion, theatre and art, Sept. 19-23. Get ready for the hotly anticipated Vancouver International Film Festival, Sept. 27-Oct. 12, featuring 400 exciting movies, from world premieres to North American premieres.
Finally, you can’t talk fall without a mention of fall fashion. As Vogue debuts its biblical September tome, Vancouver glams up with style events Fashion’s Night Out (Sept. 6) and Main St.’s Spend on Trend (Sept. 14-16).
Oh and Bill Clinton and Madonna are coming to town. But not together.
Get the full list of September fun after the jump.
20 Unmissable Vancouver Events in September 2012
1) FOOD & DRINK | Gastown BBQ and Chili Festival | Sept. 1-2|
Venture into Gastown over Labour Day weekend and the meaty fumes wafting o’er the cobblestones will have you believing you’re at a bbq pit stop in Hill Country, Texas. The first ever Gastown BBQ and Chili Fest goes down Labour Day Weekend on Carrall St. between Cordova and Water, with prizes for best bbq and best chili. 10 Gastown eateries are participating, including Save on Meats and Peckinpah.
2) EVENT | The Fair at the PNE | until Sept. 3 |
The Fair at the PNE is the symbol of Vancouver summer, and this is your last chance to head over and enjoy it. What began in 1910 as an agricultural show is now a massive summer festival with 50 rides/attractions, entertainment (Family Feud, SuperDogs), games and “artery-busting” food (Maple Bacon funnel cakes, mini doughnuts, giant turkey legs, and deep fried Kool-Aid).
3) EVENT | Victory Square Block Party | Sept. 2 |
For those staying in town over the Labour Day long weekend, the annual Victory Square Block Party (by by Megaphone Magazine and Music Waste) is one of your best bets for free fun. The shows runs Sunday, from 2:00pm to 9:00pm. Fans come out for bands including headliners the Ballantynes; the event is all about supporting community. Watch out for random sprinkler attacks.
4) TOWN | Digital Art Reflections | until Sept. 30 |
Nobody likes waiting around, whether its for true love or the traffic light to change. But animated entertainment makes it better. Especially when it doubles as public art. Look up at the mega screens mounted at Robson and Granville to enjoy Reflections featuring short animation and video works by local artists Diyan Achjadi, Carol Sawyer, Donna Szoke, and the Project Rainbow collective. At at 700 Hamilton Street, 10 Seconds in Time shows at the entrance to the CBC building.
5) SHOP | Fashion’s Night Out | Sept. 6 |
Vancouver glams up joining the ranks of fashion capitals London and NY with its first ever Fashion Night Out, Sept. 6, from 6-10pm. Expect events and deep discounts at retailers throughout town, especially the Robson Street and Gastown shopping corridors. Participating stores include Tiffany & Co., Coach, Holt Renfrew, J. Crew, MAC, Ishara and more.
6) SPORTS | BC Lions vs. Montreal Alouettes | Sept. 8 |
Fall and football are friendly concepts. Catch the Grey Cup champs of 2011 at home in BC Place Stadium for some “hard-hitting” action.
7) ENTERTAINMENT | Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival | until Sept. 22 |
Don’t miss your chance for a little twilight, beachfront Shakespearean drama. From Dana’s Bard on the Beach blog: “One of the largest Shakespeare festivals in Canada and a summer tradition for many Vancouverites, Bard on the Beach Shakespeare festival is famous for the high-calibre of its performances as well as its eye-popping location in Vanier Park. Every summer, Bard on the Beach produces four Shakespeare plays: comedy The Taming of the Shrew, the ultra-famous Macbeth (“Out, damn’d spot, out!”), a cheeky version of The Merry Wives of Windsor set in 1968, and King John.”
8) ENTERTAINMENT | Vancouver International Fringe Festival | Sept. 6-16 |
Weird and wonderful, the annual Vancouver Fringe Festival never fails to delight. This year’s Fringe Festival features over 754 performances by 97 groups in 11 days, and is expected to attract over 30,000 attendees. Every year the Fringe presents accessible, informal and affordable theatre. What to see in 2012? It’s hard to go wrong, but I focus on comedy and look forward to funny-bone-shattering hilarity at the Pump Trolley Comedy and Hip.Bang! Improv shows. Find the full schedule here.
9) FOOD & DRINK | Metro Vancouver Feast of Fields | Sept. 9 |
If you’re wondering where the voracious swarm of Vancouver foodies ran off to on September 9, they’re attending Feast of Fields (the see-and-be-seen event for food bloggers) at Golden Ears Cheesecrafters farm in Maple Ridge. Feast of Fields, an annual outdoor ticketed feast, aspires to promote connections between farmers and chefs. Vancouver’s best restaurateurs mingle with artisans and producers whilst ardent eaters consume their wares and guzzle their wines. Get tix here.
10) GREEN CITY | The Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup | Sept. 15-23 |
Go figure: I don’t like cleaning my house, but I do like cleaning the beach with a team of cheerful volunteers. Join in on the eco-friendly action by searching for the beach clean up nearest you (here) and registering.
11) SHOP | Spend on Trend | Sept. 14-16 |
Scoop up your fall fashion finds at Main St.’s Heritage Hall. Vancouver’s talented pool of designers will display their latest collections. Tickets are $5, available on the website or at the door.
12) ENTERTAINMENT | Voices in the Park Benefit Concert | September 15 |
Head over to Brockton fields in Stanley Park for this highly anticipated benefit concert presented by TELUS. The star-studded line up features Sarah McLachlan, Stevie Nicks, Bryan Adams, The Boom Booms and Chin Injeti, along with a special appearance by former president and long-time friend Bill Clinton. All proceeds from this fundraising event will go to The Sarah McLachlan School of Music, which aims to use the power of music to inspire youth in under-served communities. Did I mention Bill Clinton will be there?
13) ENTERTAINMENT | Olio Festival | Sept. 19-23 |
A five-day celebration of music, art, fashion, comedy, skate and film that brings together both local and international talent for 30+ events at venues around Vancouver. The festival favourite? Slamcouver, the skate competition that “unites riders for the best sesh since Slam City.”
14) EVENT | Object(ing): The Art/Design of Tobias Wong at Museum of Vancouver | Sept. 20-Feb.3 |
MOV presents the first solo exhibition of internationally acclaimed Vancouver-born conceptual artist Tobias Wong. Adjectives used to describe Wong’s work: playful, cheeky, clever, seductive and upsetting. Wong engages with a range of art processes from installations, performances, and furniture making to product and fashion design.
15) FOOD & DRINK | Beerlesque II at the Roundhouse | Sept. 21 |
Burlesque shows don’t really need enhancement, but the Roundhouse and Vancouver Craft Beer Week have added 15 craft brewers to the seductive mix, just for good measure. Tix are $55.
16) EVENT | After Hours at the Vancouver Aquarium | Sept. 20 |
Fish + date night in Vancouver usually = sushi. But why not switch it up and head over to an adults-only evening at Vancouver Aquarium, featuring the BBC’s “Great Salmon Run” documentary in 4D and a chance to exploring the galleries and exhibits without kids underfoot? Tix are $13-21.
17) EVENT | Author Michael Chabon at St. Andrew’s-Wesley United Church | Sept. 26 |
Consider this an amuse bouche for the Vancouver International Writers Festival that takes place in October. Author of the New York Times bestselling novel, The Yiddish Policemen’s Union, will talk about his latest book, Telegraph Avenue. The program starts at 8pm. Tix are $21.
18) EVENT | Vancouver International Film Festival | Sept. 27-Oct. 12 |
Rejoice, cinephiles. It’s back. One of the largest film festivals in North America, VIFF brings Vancouver audiences some of the best films from around the globe. VIFF 2011 included 20 World premieres, 30 International premieres, 49 North American premieres and 40 Canadian premieres. And they get better every year.
19) ENTERTAINMENT | Madonna at Rogers Arena | Sept. 29 |
Every time I see the pop diva it’s like the very first time. Seriously. She doesn’t age. Ever. Madonna appears at Rogers Arena Sept. 29-30. Find tix here.
20) EVENT | Collecting Matisse and Modern Masters at the Vancouver Art Gallery | until Sept. 30 |
Grab your last chance to see 50 exceptional works of European Modernism including a rare pocket of 27 Matisse paintings. The paintings are from the Cone sisters collection. Etta and Claribel Cone met Matisse, Pablo Picasso and other artists during their trips to Europe. The Matisse paintings include the artist’s vibrant series of exotically dressed female models from North Africa and the Middle East.
BONUS) FOOD & DRINK | Farmers’ Markets | through Oct. 21 |
Let local bounty inspire your dinner menus as the season starts to change. In season now: blackberries, blueberries, rhubarb, apricots, asparagus, beets and salad greens. Here’s a list of the local markets and market days.