Now in its 7th year, the annual Italian Day street festival returns to Commercial Drive on Sunday, June 12th. Carrying special significance this year is the eight-block official ‘Little Italy’ designation on Commercial Drive, which was approved by the City of Vancouver this past April. The designation celebrates over 60 years of Italian heritage on The Drive, which is a thriving heart of close to 30 Italian businesses today, some of which have been on the Drive for over 50 years.
As Vancouver’s largest cultural street festival, drawing over 300,000 attendees and spanning 13 blocks, the Drive will come alive in a sea of green, white and red, featuring entertainment, activities, vendors and attractions. This year’s theme represents a favourite Italian pastime – eating! Mangiamo!
Italians’ love for food is a big part of their passion for life. It is, however, more than just about the food on your plate; it is also a reflection of what the Italian table offers: conversation, celebration, spirit, family and community. This is the heart of the Mangiamo! theme at this year’s Italian Day.
It wouldn’t be an Italian celebration without all of your favourite foods: pizza, pasta, cannoli, sfogliatelle, arancini, polpette, panini, gelato, granita, and coffee in all forms, as well as samplings of olive oil, cheeses and salumi. With close to 150 vendors and merchants participating, attendees can also indulge in the Mangiamo! theme ‘al fresco’ with over 20 patios, as well as cooking demonstrations at the La Grotta Del Formaggio piazza attraction (4th Ave), featuring presentations on sausage making and quick Italian meals.
Just in time for this year’s Italian Day, eight blocks, from Charles Street to 4th Ave, have officially been designated by the City of Vancouver as ‘Little Italy’. This will formally be celebrated at the Opening Ceremony of the festival starting at noon at the 2nd Ave Main Stage. As part of the mix, several piazzas will also be set up from Venables Street to the Grandview Cut, including seating areas under umbrellas. There will also be an animated ‘Little Italy’ piazza on 3rd Ave, which will include fashion vignettes, and a consortium of Italian language, culture, food and agri-product conversations, with representation from the Italian Consul General, the Italian Chamber of Commerce, Il Centro and Italian cooking schools, who will be bringing the essence of Italia right to the heart of East Van.
With three separate stages and several DJ music tents, Italian Day is packed with entertainment from one end of The Drive to the other. Highlight performances will include local Italo-Canadian music celebrities, Federico Fuoco and Carmelina Cupo on the 2nd Ave Main Stage. On the Grant Street Stage, programming by Il Centro (Italian Culture Centre) will include jazz, theatre, and opera featuring the Cory Weeds Quartet and the Vancouver and City Operas. In Grandview Park, complimenting a large food and family activity piazza, entertainment on the Amphitheatre Park Stage will range from theatre, to live music, to contests and more.
Don’t miss all the fun – this year’s offers something for the whole family with human foosball games, bicycle polo, crafts throughout the street, Il Centro’s Kid’s zone in the park, garden and food themes at Vancity Piazza (7th Ave), classic vehicle exhibits featuring vintage cars and motorcycles, new Ducatis and Fiats, Car2Go and more. Don’t forget to buy your raffle tickets with a combined prize value of $6,000. First Prize is an Air Transat trip for two, Vancouver-Rome direct.
|Italian Day on The Drive
Commercial Drive (from Venables St. to Grandview Cut)
Sunday, June 12, 2016
12:00pm – 8:00pm
Given street closures and limited parking, Italian Day Festival organizers encourage attendees to walk, cycle, transit or Car2Go to the event (some Car2Go member parking will be available, as will bicycle valet at 1st & Commercial). The Skytrain station is located on Broadway & Commercial.