Five acts to see at this year’s Powell Street Festival

Seishun Youth Academy, a Vancouver version of a Japanese idol group, returns for a second year.

This year’s Powell Street Festival takes place Aug 3 and 4, from 11:30 am – 7:00 pm. The street festival celebrates Japanese-Canadian culture and takes place in the historic Japanese-Canadian neighbourhood known as Paueru Gai (literally translated as Powell Street area). This area is centred at Alexander Avenue and Jackson Street, while the festival spans six city blocks.

The festival features sumo wrestling and martial arts demonstrations, theatre, dance, calligraphy, food (including yakisoba, takoyaki, sushi, matcha ice cream, ramen, and Japanese style hot dogs), music, and taiko drumming—lots and lots of taiko drumming. All events are free.

Here are five acts worth checking out.

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Five acts to see at this year’s Powell Street Festival

BC Day Long Weekend includes a FREE Japanese Culture and Food Festival

powell street festival vancouver 2018

Katari Taiko at the Powell Street Festival Photo credit: [stu-di-o] by jeanie

In a BC Day Long Weekend packed full of major events, including the Pride Festival and the Celebration of Light, the Powell Street Festival might get overlooked. However, the Powell Street Festival is actually the largest event of its kind in Canada and the longest running community arts festival in the Lower Mainland – since 1977.

This free, family-friendly event is held both indoors and out around the Powell Street area within Vancouver’s historic Japanese Canadian neighbourhood, on the traditional unceded territories of the Squamish, Musqueam, and Tsleil- Waututh First Nations. Influenced by typical Japanese summer festivals or matsuri, PSF has developed into a unique Vancouver event. Over the course of the 2-day event, nearly 17,500 people participate in the event.

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BC Day Long Weekend includes a FREE Japanese Culture and Food Festival

Five fun things to do at this year’s Powell Street Festival

George and Nariko

George and Nariko, from Australia, perform two sets at this year’s Powell Street Festival.

Each year, the Powell Street Festival celebrates Japanese culture and Vancouver’s Japanese community. Back for its 41st year, the festival has some fan favourites along with some new acts and events. There’s plenty of opportunity for participation, including walking tours, an amateur sumo wrestling competition, and suika wara (where blindfolded contestants try to hit a watermelon). There are also film, music, theatre and literary events; and just about everything, outside of the food, is free.

Here are a few suggestions of what to check out at the Aug. 5 & 6 Powell Street Festival, which takes place in and near the 400 block of Powell, including Oppenheimer Park.

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Five fun things to do at this year’s Powell Street Festival

Highlights of this weekend’s annual Vancouver celebration of Japanese culture

Koto player Miyama McQueen-Tokita performs with Chordophone at this year's Powell Street Festival.

Koto player Miyama McQueen-Tokita performs with Chordophone at this year’s Powell Street Festival.

Every summer, Canada’s largest celebration of Japanese Canadian arts and culture held in Vancouver’s historic Japanese Canadian neighbourhood. The annual Powell Street Festival features live music, Japanese food, sumo wrestling, martial arts, dance, film, crafts, theatre, Taiko drumming, anime and children’s activities – all free.

This year, the festival takes place July 30-31, from 11:30 a.m. – 7 p.m. at Oppenheimer Park (400 Block, Powell Street), as well as participating venues Firehall Arts Centre (280 East Cordova Street), Vancouver Japanese Language School (475 Alexander St), and Vancouver Buddhist Temple (220 Jackson Avenue). See some highlights below.

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Highlights of this weekend’s annual Vancouver celebration of Japanese culture

Put These Vancouver Cultural Fests on Your Dating Calendar!

Caribbean Days; Photo Credit: VeeSeye Photography

Caribbean Days; Photo Credit: VeeSeye Photography

In the summer, I’m a total cultural festival geek. I love the celebration of Vancouver’s diversity, the crowds of happy people that flock to the events, the entertainment, and the absolutely delicious and unique food you can find at them. Plus, they make for great dates in that they’re laid back, inexpensive, and outdoors in the sun (if the weather gods are favourable).

Here are five to look forward to over the next few event-packed months:

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Put These Vancouver Cultural Fests on Your Dating Calendar!

Japanese food alert: 5 dishes to try at Vancouver’s Powell Street Festival 2015

Salmon dinner (left) and Spam musubi |Photo credit Owen Cameron

Salmon dinner (left) and Spam musubi |Photo credit Owen Cameron

If you like Japanese food and want to try something new, here’s a great opportunity.

Vancouver’s Powell Street Festival takes place on August 1 and 2 downtown, in the historic Japanese Canadian area surrounding Powell Street. It’s Canada’s largest festival of Japanese arts and culture–and there’s plenty of delicious home-style cooking.

This year, the festival features 17 food vendors serving over 50 menu items. Most of the food booths are staffed by volunteers, and there are more vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options. Perennial favourites include the salmon barbecue, takoyaki (octopus fritters), and kakigori (shaved ice).

Like many people who never miss the festival, I have my favourite dishes. I lived in Japan for several years so at the festival I make a beeline for some of the comfort food that I don’t find as much at Vancouver restaurants.

Here’s what I’m looking forward to eating.

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Japanese food alert: 5 dishes to try at Vancouver’s Powell Street Festival 2015

Things To Do In Vancouver This Weekend

Things To Do In Vancouver This Weekend
Gear up for an epic BC Day long weekend with Pride, festivals, and lots of dancing!  Read on for our top picks for things to do in Vancouver this weekend!

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Things To Do In Vancouver This Weekend