Spending the day at an outdoor festival is a big part of summer—soaking up the sun, watching live entertainment, sampling tasty treats, and going home tired, but happy.
There are many festivals to choose from in Vancouver, but for a fun day trip, try one in a neighbouring community. Whether you’d like to dance the day away with great music, immerse yourself in the arts, or explore different cultures, there’s something for all interests.
We’ve rounded up our top 7 picks of family-friendly festivals in the Metro Vancouver region. To help with planning, they are listed chronologically. All of these wonderful festivals are free to attend, so pack up the kids and sunscreen, and enjoy!
Surrey Fusion Festival
July 21 & 22, Holland Park, 13428 Old Yale Road, Surrey
Here’s your chance to travel the world in a weekend. This festival celebrates cultural diversity, from Afghanistan and Guatemala to Kenya and Vietnam. There will be more than 45 pavilions, each representing a different country. You can dine on authentic cuisine as well as discover a variety of musicians, dancers, and cultural performers. There’s a storytelling tent for children, a safe space for toddlers to run and play, and a sports zone where the whole family can be active. The headlining band, Canada’s award-winning Walk off the Earth, performs on Saturday evening.
Richmond Maritime Festival
July 28 & 29, Britannia Shipyards, 5180 Westwater Drive, Richmond
There’s plenty for seafarers and landlubbers at this waterfront event, held at the historic Britannia Shipyards. Don’t miss the beautiful wooden boats that will be docked for viewing and boarding. This includes the SS Master, one of the few remaining steam-powered tugboats. The festival also includes nautical-themed activities for kids, artisan stalls, and performances by musicians, storytellers, drummers, and dancers. Who knows, you might even meet a mermaid or pirate roving the street! Round out your day by visiting the shipyard’s permanent exhibits and learning about the area’s fascinating history.
Maple Ridge Caribbean Festival
August 4 & 5, Albion Fairgrounds, 23448 105 Avenue, Maple Ridge
This event has grown so popular, it’s moved to the local fairgrounds to provide enough space for all of the fun. There are two large stages featuring Caribbean music such as reggae, calypso, salsa, and soca. In all, over 100 entertainers will showcase the culture of their islands. While you enjoy the exuberant rhythms, dine on authentic foods including jerk chicken and curried goat. Wander through the open-air market and browse the offerings of more than 40 vendors, and take your young festival-goers to the large kids’ zone for rides, face-painting and more.
White Rock Sea Festival
August 3-5, White Rock Beach, 14970 Marine Drive, White Rock
White Rock’s two-kilometer stretch of beach and promenade comes alive on August long weekend with live entertainment, kids’ activities, local artisans and more. Highlights include a children’s sandcastle competition, Pirates in the Park, a stand-up paddleboard competition, the Torchlight Parade, and fireworks. Wander through the festival, relax on the beach, visit a waterfront restaurant or ice-cream shop, and enjoy the seaside vibe. Parking fills up quickly at the beach, so arrive early or check the website for information about shuttles.
Kaleidoscope Arts Festival
August 11, Town Centre Park, 1299 Pinetree Way, Coquitlam
This event puts the spotlight on local arts, music, and culture, and takes place in a beautiful park setting. Kids will enjoy the hands-on Art Zone, where they can contribute to a weaving circle, be a part of a living artwork, create tiny books, or make herb planters. Stop by the Artisan Market to see one-of-a-kind jewelry, artwork, and other handcrafted items. When you get hungry, head to Food Truck Alley for a range of delicious offerings, including vegetarian options. A variety of musicians and multi-disciplinary artists will be showcased on two stages, including high-energy violinist Kytami, the Eagle Song Dancers, and the Royal Academy of Bhangra. The headlining act, The Philosopher Kings, takes to the stage at 8:30 pm, so plan to stay all day!
Shipped Waterfront Festival
August 11, Shipbuilders Square, North Vancouver
A new festival is coming to North Vancouver, and organizers are going all out. The Shipyards District will be transformed into a place filled with bands, DJs, children’s activities and an adventure zone. There will be recording artists and new talent on the main stage, two electronic stages creating energy for an afternoon dance party, and acoustic performances on Cates Dock. Daring festival-goers can try a zip line, bungee, and ax-throwing (yes, you read that correctly!). Meanwhile, kids will love the bouncy castle, storytelling, and crafts. Lower Lonsdale will be pedestrian-only, so parking is limited. The site is easily accessible by transit.
Steveston Dragon Boat Festival
August 25, Steveston Village, 4180 Bayview Street, Richmond
It will an exciting day as paddlers fill Steveston Harbour for one of B.C.’s biggest dragon boat events. Cheer on the athletes and enjoy festivities such as live music, visual arts, children’s arts and crafts, a marketplace, and tasty culinary offerings. A wide range of entertainment takes place throughout the day, including the rockabilly and hillbilly swing combo The Palomars, North Vancouver’s Rose Ranger, Las Estrellas de Vancouver (Canada’s only all-female mariachi band), CircusWest, and the Shao Lin Hung Gar Lion Dance Team. Kick back, watch the races, and enjoy an action-packed day by the water.