Fiesta in downtown Vancouver: Carnaval del Sol, June 30

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According to the most recent census figures, people of Latin, Central and South American origins account for just 1.36 percent of Vancouver’s population.  But those 28,575 Vancouverites sure know how to throw one huge party.

For the fourth year in a row, Carnaval del Sol is coming to downtown’s Granville Street, this Saturday, June 30.  From 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., five blocks of Granville from Hastings to Smithe Streets will be closed to traffic and filled with Latin music, food, dancing, performances and even a street soccer tournament.  Some 50,000 people are expected to turn out for one of the biggest parties of the summer.

Put on your salsa shoes, bring an appetite and check out the Latin flavour this Canada Day weekend.  Here’s a preview of what you can expect: 

  • Street Food: Taking a cue from the Richmond night markets, this year’s Carnaval features literally dozens of vendors serving fare that goes way beyond tacos and burritos.  Sample Brazilian feijoada, a hearty meat stew of pork and black beans.  Munch on beef skewers and quinoa cake from Peru.  Dig into Cuban pan con lechon, roasted pork on a bun with special mojo sauce and lemon.  Devour Honduran chicken tamales and Salvadorean pupusas.  The full list is here.
  • Music: Vancouver boasts some impressive local Latino musical talent, and it will all be on display at Carnaval.  Performers include Wil Campa and his 13-piece orchestra direct from Cuba, classical pianist Linda Lee Thomas performing Argentine tangos, the hard rocking Boom Booms cranking out Latin soul and funk, Canada’s premier mariachi band and many more.   A schedule can be found here.  Descriptions are here.

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  • Street Soccer:  As street hockey is to Canada, so street soccer is to much of Latin America.  Curbs, fire hydrants, telephone poles and pedestrians are all part of the action in these fast-paced, improvised games.  A World Cup-style tournament, with local teams representing various countries around the world, will be staged on Granville Street between Hastings and Pender Streets, with the final taking place at 7:15 p.m.

There’s lots more to Carnaval del Sol, including folkloric dancing, zumba, a fashion show, karaoke, family activities and a tourism expo where you can learn about traveling to Latin America.  Full details are on the Carnaval del Sol website.

Anybody go to Carnaval del Sol last year?  How was the fiesta? 

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