20 Unmissable Vancouver Events in July 2012

Fresh Air Cinema. Photo credit: Flickr user Yaletown BIA

July starts out right with Canada Day pyrotechnics lighting up the summer night sky. And is there anything more summery than free outdoor movies – launching in Stanley Park, July 3?

Meanwhile summer festival season is in full swing by mid month. Catch folksy tunes at the annual Vancouver Folk Music Festival, July 15. The lovely Illuminares Lantern Festival lights up Trout Lake, July 21. Also July 21, Khatsahlano! Music Festival transforms Kitsilano into a block party with 30 local bands performing on multiple stages.

Among the quirkier happenings, I’m particularly intrigued by Scout’s Barkeep of the Year showdown at the Keefer Bar, July 2. Then there’s spectator-friendly robot racing (I’m not kidding) and clothes-free celebration at the nudie paradise Wreck Beach.

Of course July ends with a bang too. Celebration of Light, the most highly-anticipated summer event, brings fireworks back to the Vancouver skyline, July 28.

Find the full line-up of July events below.

20 Unmissable Events in July 2012

1) EVENT | Canada Day | July 1 |
Attend a birthday bash for our fine nation. Dana’s rounded up 10 fun-filled Canada Day events happening around town. From East Van block parties with circling food carts to family activites at Canada Place, cap it off with the Burrard Inlet Fireworks Show at 10:30.

2) FOOD & DRINK | Scout’s Bartender of the Year Tournament |  July 2 |
Watch as BC’s most talented bartenders vie for top shelf at the Keefer Bar. The day will begin at 11am with a blind tasting of 5 different alcohols. Bar keeps will then craft original cocktails. The remaining 8  will then throw down in live action scenarios.

3) EVENT | Chinatown Night Market, Richmond Night Market x 2 |

Summer weekends |Summer is night market o’clock. These bustling street fairs make for the perfect twilight stroll with the family, friends or your latest beau.

4) EVENT | Independence Day | July 4 |
Sure, Canada Day just happened. But what’s wrong with a few more pyrotechnics and some really great food? Help American expats fire up the barbecue and drink suds. Our post “Searching for Vancouver’s Best Sausage” has a list specialty butcher shops, and restaurants with artisan weiners and craft beer.

5) ENTERTAINMENT | Fresh Air Cinema in Stanley Park | All summer |
Catch a free film at the scenic Stanley Park seawall one balmy summer evening. Fresh Air Cinema shows movies  outdoors throughout BC all summer. Van-dwellers’ next opportunity is Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, July 3, followed by Zoolander, July 10.

6) FOOD & DRINK | Ice cream: a self-contained celebration | All summer |
In summer, ice cream becomes a food group. We’ve rounded up the best spots for a classic cones, soft serve, fro-yo, sorbet and gelato here.

7) EVENT | Wreck Beach Day |  July 7 |
Join in the free and easy 31st annual celebration of the naturist lifestyle, from 9am to 4pm, July 7. What to expect: nude sandcastle building, nude kite flying, body painting and an art show.

8) EVENT | Don’t Eat the Whale Meat at Vancouver Maritime Museum | June 22 – Fall 2012 |
When curator Patricia Owen stumbled upon 50-year-old cans of whale meat in memorabilia stash at the museum, she began work on an exhibit exploring the role of kitsch and collectables in history. The cans, along with intricately crafted ships-in-bottles, travel postcards, itineraries from the heyday of CP Steamships and more are all on show.

9) EVENT | Free Salsa Dancing in Robson Square | Sundays, July – August 26 |
Sunday Afternoon Salsa dances are open to everyone, beginners to pros, and include free lessons, salsa performances and social dancing. Find out more from Dana’s in depth post here.

10) EVENT | Illuminares Lantern Festival | July 7-21 |
Beloved community event Illuminares returns to Trout Lake in John Hendry Park. The creative workshops – including lantern building – launch July 7 and culminate with the community-driven illumination of the Vancouver night, Saturday, July 21. Picnickers are welcome to come watch. Plenty of food vendors will be on hand.

 11) EVENT | Vancouver International Busker Festival July 9-15 |
Like roller coasters? How about emotional roller coasters? It’s rare that you can be both delighted and scared at one show but the Van International Busker Festival is sure that their line-up of legendary street performers, which will appear in various locations  downtown, has what it takes. Basketball jugglers. Chalk art geniuses. Acrobats. Musicians. Stunt men. Magicians. Check out the full program with event map here.

12) ENTERTAINMENT | Vancouver Folk Music Festival | July 15-17 |
Jericho Beach Park fills with folksy tunes from internationally renowned artists (Ani Di Franco, K’Naan, Lucinda Williams) and local talents (Dan Mangan) for full three days. At the ripe age of 35, Folk Fest knows how to put on a good show.

13) EVENTS | 2 new exhibits at Vancouver Art Gallery | now through Sept. 30|
When was the last time you dropped by this fair downtown cultural hub? Matisse and the Modern Masters opened with a bang a the end of May. Meanwhile a photography show of work by Vancouverite Marian Penner Bancroft opens June 30, as does Through the Glass Darkly, which explores the imagery of memory.

14) SPORTS | Vancouver Whitecaps vs. LA Galaxy | July 18 |
Perhaps watching the UEFA Euro 2012 got you all fired up to see some live footy? Vancouver’s Whitecaps take on the MLS Cup champions LA galaxy at BC Place Stadium July 18. When they last met in June, the Whitecaps lost to Galaxy 3-0 after a five game unbeaten run. The home game presents a chance to even the score.

15) ENTERTAINMENT | Enchanted Evenings at Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden | Fridays, July 6- August 31 |
Date night? Spend an evening in the first classical Chinese Garden outside of China while listening to live music. The Enchanted Evening concert series tickets are $25 for non members and also come as a dinner package with 3-courses for $21 at nearby modern Chinese restaurant Wild Rice.

16) EVENT | International Autonomous Robot Racing Competition | July 28 |
Attention engineering geeks. This is not a hoax. Go watch autonomous robots built by clever university teams race for the finish line at UBC. Have you ever heard of a better free Saturday event?

17) FOOD & DRINK | Vij’s Railway Express Food Cart | Now open |
We keep close tabs on Vancouver’s street food scene here at Inside, and Vij’s Railway Express is the latest food cart to get our salivary glands pumping. Vancouver’s best Indian restaurant now has a food cart serving regionally-diverse, Indian, “train station style” food at West Georgia Street, between Thurlow and Burrard Streets. Read Remy’s review here.

18) EVENT |  Khatsahlano! Music Festival | July 21 |
Kitsilano’s hippies have upped the ante, replacing the annual Hippie Daze street fair with an edgy, free music festival of 30 local acts produced by Brand.Live – the dream team behind the Live at Squamish festival.

19) SHOP | Gather Pop-Up Shop | July 27-29 |
Gather presents the next frontier in urban socials, with shopping, workshops and happy hour bringing everyone to-gather in style in Gastown’s favourite event venue: the former Boneta Space at 1 West Cordova.

20) EVENT | Celebration of Light | July 28- August 4 |
Who doesn’t love a light show? The most highly-anticipated event of the Vancouver summer returns with Vietnam, Brazil and Italy competing for best fireworks choreography. Settle in to watch the display over English Bay with a few thousand of your closest friends.


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