Fiesta! It’s time for Carnaval del Sol and Latin American Week in Vancouver

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Latincouver collective are back with an amazing 12 days of fun and entertainment with a Latin flavour across the city, culiminating in the grand Carnaval del Sol at Concorde Pacific Place. We spoke with the festivals’s Mónica Cortés to find out more.

What’s Latincouver all about?

We started online as a place for Latinos to connect as ‘Latincouver’. Unlike many immigrant groups, we’re pretty spread out across the city–Colombians are not the same as Chileans or Mexicans– but there are around 100,000 Latinos in Metro Vancouver so we wanted a place for us to meet and a space for everyone else to gather and check out our culture. The festival has grown from just one day in 2009 to the 12 day event that it’s now become with its very own proclamation from the City of Vancouver and the BC Government.

latam2What’s happening with the Carnaval event this year?

Last year the Carnaval was on Granville street and around 100,000 people came so this year we’re moving to a new location at Concorde Pacific Place on July 11-12th (Saturday 10am–10pm, Sunday 10am–9pm). We’ll have around 70 vendors and so much delicious food: paella, churros, empanadas, tacos and fruits, everything! For children there will be a carousel and a cute little train. We’ll have a soccer tournament, of course, and incredible live music, including a performance from Grammy award winner Alex Cuba, plus salsa and zumba lessons. When people come, we want them to feel like they are on holiday in Latin America! We’ll have a beer garden, beach area– we want to bring all the passion, excitement and colour of our culture to Vancouver.

What else is happening in Latin American Week?

It’s really 12 days of activities, culminating in the Carnaval: from July 2–8  we have an incredible Latin Arts exhibition at the Back Gallery Project at 602 E Hastings, which showcases the work of Latin American artists living in Vancouver. Over the weekend of the 4-5th, we have the youth PanAm games at David Lam Park from 10am-4pm for boys and girls aged 9-25 with soccer, capoeira, zumba, running and other games. Find out more here on registration fees and times.

latam3Latin culture is known for its food and you’re showcasing that this year with food tours, right?

Yes! we have a brand new food tour from 5-8th, we’ve partnered with Off the Eaten Track who’ve created a tasty tour of the best Latin eats in Vancouver on a three hour tour which takes in at least eight food samples, a glass of wine and a private tour of the Back Gallery project – all that plus transport and a tour guide for $60. Tickets are selling out fast and it’s a foodie must-do.

And cinema gets a look in too?

Yes, we’re hosting a Latin Film Night at the Cinematheque on the 7th July for a special screening of Corazón de Léon (Lion’s Heart), a box office-busting Argentinian comedy, and González: El falso profeta (Gonzalez: the False Prophet) a Mexican hit about a young man in the world’s biggest city who’s desperate to make it rich and will do anything to make it happen. Finally, our biggest event is the Inspirational Latin Awards ceremony on July 9th a chance to dress up, celebrate and come together to recognize distinguished members in the Latin American community for their outstanding achievements and contributions to shaping BC economy and cultural developments.

What else do people need to know.

This is going to be an exciting few days and we want people to come and enjoy themselves! Latincouver is almost entirely volunteer-run with the common goal of bringing Latin American culture to Vancouver and helping Latinos succeed in the city. We want to support small businesses and bring our culture of hugs, kisses and compliments to Vancouver!

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