20 unmissable Vancouver events in March 2012

Vancouver St. Patrick's Day Parade 2011; Image: Flickr user Michaelnugent

Ignore the foreboding “Beware the Ides of March” business and get ready to carouse in the first month of meteorological spring. March contains International Women’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day and Iranian New Year – aka Nowruz. Add a slew of dance festivals and you can anticipate a month of daffodils, green suds and more happy feet than this full-length, feature film.

Here are 20 events to help you plan your March agenda as the temperature slips over 10°C and the sun vanquishes the rain clouds…more frequently than in February.

20 unmissable events in March 2012

1) Event | Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival | February 27 – March 4 | Every year, the wine festival chooses a theme region. This year’s region is “New World powerhouse: Chile.” The premier wine show in Canada features 181 wineries from 15 different countries.  They’ll be serving more than 1,700 different wines to an estimated 25,000 attendees at 64 separate wine-themed events. Read the rest of Remy’s inside info here.

2) Entertainment Event | Vancouver International Salsafestival | March 1 – 4 | Muy caliente and super popular, the Vancouver International Salsafestival celebrates Salsa, Cha Cha, Reggaton and Bachata with dance offs and workshops.

3) Event | AGRI-PARTY | March 2 | Three green-thumbed Vancouverites are holding a launch bash for their Victory Gardens project at Gastown’s Nelson The Seagull on Friday night 7-11pm. The urban farming project aims to turn front yards into food producing gardens throughout the city. Attend and meet the trio (Lisa Giroday, Sam Philips and Sandra Lopuch),  sign up for a free garden consultation, and bid on the silent auction (featuring items from Gravity Pope, Lark, Regional Assembly of Text, Community Vintage and more.)

4) Entertainment Event | 2012 Vancouver International Dance Festival | March 2 – March 11 |  The International Dance Festival returns to Vancouver for its 12th anniversary, bringing with it an amalgamation of the best in local, national and international dance artists. Performances take place throughout Vancouver.

5) Family Event | Fuse at the Vancouver Art Gallery | March 3-4 |
Fuse at the VAG transforms the gallery into a space where art, music and  performance all come together. This March 3 – 4 marks a special weekend installment of Fuse designed with families in mind. The interactive Fuse event Through the Lens brings together artists, musicians and dancers. Families can enjoy unique performances, workshops, tours and plenty of hands-on fun.  Children 12-and-under are free when accompanied by an adult.

6) Food Event | Wild Rice Communal Dinner | March 5 | Wild Rice Pender is holding their first communal dinner  March 5 at 6:30pm. Chef Heather and the team at Wild Rice Pender will feature a different local, sustainable menu every month, starting with a four-course vegetarian menu: crispy butternut squash cakes, followed by truffled mushroom wonton soup and edamame steam buns with siu choy salad, and finished off with sweet water chestnut cake for $45 per person, including a cocktail.

7) Entertainment Event | Coastal First Nations Dance Festival at the Museum of Anthropology | March 8-11 | UBC’s Museum of Anthropology hosts this dance festival which showcases the diverse and vibrant cultural dance traditions from coastal British Columbia, the Yukon, and Alaska. The festival began in Prince Rupert in 1967 and moved to Vancouver in 1986.

8) Food Event | A Rogue Women in Beer Pairing Mingler | March 8 |
Although men are welcome, this International Women’s Day event at Rogue Kitchen & Wet Bar celebrates eight charismatic women in BC brewing who have each brewed a Women’s Day beer. With tankards of rose hibiscus honey ale, lychee wheat ale, heatherdale ale, powtow porter and more, we challenge you to notice the food.

9) Town | Art Deco Chic: Extravagant Glamour Between the Wars  at Museum of Vancouver |March 8-Sept. 23| This bedazzled MOV exhibition showcases more than 60 women’s garments from the 1920s and 1930s in art deco style. The design style known as art deco began in Paris in the 1920s and quickly gained worldwide popularity. Art deco inspired dreaming also made a resurgence in 2012 spring runway fashion particularly during the Gucci and Ralph Lauren shows. In Art Deco Chic visitors to the MOV can take in 66 gorgeous garments from the era.

10) Shopping | Marni for H&M at Pacific Centre | March 8 | It’s not often that a designer collaboration lands on our side of the border but this time, Vancouver’s cognoscenti are in luck. Marni – the elegant and eccentric Milanese runway label – worked with H&M to put together a coed spring collection that lands at the Pacific Centre March 8.

11) Sports Event | Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Montreal Impact at BC Place Stadium | March 10 | The Vancouver Whitecaps return for their second season in Major League Soccer Saturday, March 10. Although the team got off to a rough start in 2011, they’ve had a busy off season, boosting the team roster with an injection of fresh talent. The ‘Caps debut against Canadian rival Montreal Impact at the spanking new BC Place Stadium.

12) Food Event | Tip a Wee Dram: Whiskey Tasting | March 15 |  This sell-out whiskey tasting goes down at the Croatian Cultural Centre from 6:45 to 9:45 pm with proceeds from the $50 tix going to the BC Cancer Foundation.  This year, Tip a Wee Dram boasts 30 whiskeys of the world from Scotland, Ireland, Canada, and Japan, to name a few.

13) Entertainment Event | Port Moody Canadian Film Festival | March 15-18| Hosted by the Port Moody film buff society, the annual Port Moody Film Festival features six indie films over three days with plenty of guest film makers in attendance. All features are proceeded by a Canadian short film. The opening gala and closing wrap party are a prime opp to swap film trivia with a like-minded hobbyist.

14) Event | CelticFest Vancouver | March 14-18 | CelticFest Vancouver is Western Canada’s biggest annual Celtic festival celebrating seven Celtic nations’ kinship and community over the last 5,000 years. The festival showcases the best of Celtic music (traditional and punk) and dance, as well as film, food and fare (whiskey + appies)  and the much-anticipated St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

15) Entertainment Event | The Barber of Seville | March 17-25 | Rossini’s great, comic opera is no snooze. This show by the Vancouver Opera at Queen Elizabeth Theatre offers merry fun and memorable melodies. It’s a witty, tom-foolery-filled, easy intro to opera.

16) Event | St. Patrick’s Day Parade | March 18 | This “non-denominational” Celtic street party is for all Celts – not just the Irish – and green beer lovers. The parade’s community spirit attracts 300,000 people annually along with the 2,000 participants. The route starts on Howe and Drake, proceeding north along Howe to Georgia, and ending at Georgia & Granville Streets.

Expect award-winning pipe/drum bands, ceremonial units, dancers, motorcycle drill teams, mounted horse drill teams, acrobats, stilt walkers and vintage cars. Be sure to also catch the free Celtic entertainment throughout the St. Patrick’s Day weekend in the Celtic Village on Granville Street, downtown Vancouver.

17) Event | Spring Break | March 19 – March 23 | Grades JK through to 12 enjoy time off school and Vancouver’s galleries and cultural centres make the most of it, offering a tempting array of creative Spring Break camp ideas.

18) Event | Persian New Year “Nowruz” | March 20 | Join Vancouver’s sizable Iranian population in welcoming spring on the March vernal equinox, when the tilt of the earth’s axis is inclined neither away from nor towards the sun, the center of the sun being in the same plane as the Earth’s equator. Celebrations include leaping over a fire with the holiday patron, Haji Firuz, spring cleaning, picnics and setting out the Haft Sin: a table with 7 symbolic items starting with “s” in Farsi.

19) Town | Beat Nation at the Vancouver Art Gallery | Now through June 3| The artists of Beat Nation juxtapose urban youth culture with Aboriginal identity using hip hop and other forms of art resulting in exciting cultural hybrids.

20) Entertainment Event | Metal Alliance Festival | March 31
East Hastings institution the Rickshaw Theatre presents an evening of raucous good fun for all ages at Metal Alliance Festival, Saturday, March 31 from 5:30. Devildriver and The Faceless are accompanied by six guest metal bands. Tickets are $35 with advance purchase.

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