It’s hot and sunny. The city is in party mode and beaches are packed with bronzed bodies. August Long Weekend is finally here.
This is one of the liveliest weekends of the year in Vancouver, with dozens of festivals and events (Our blogger Taraneh picks out the best of the bunch here). But what if you’re looking to celebrate on a budget?
Look no further. Here are my picks for the top 5 free August Long Weekend events (Got more suggestions? Please share ‘em below).
- Free Wooden Roller Coaster at the PNE, Friday, Aug. 3: Do you love roller coasters and also love to get up really early? You’re in luck. In honour of B.C. Day, Playland at the PNE is giving away free Wooden Roller Coaster rides this Friday from 6 a.m.-9 a.m. If you’ve never been on their classic coaster, get ready for thrills: the rickety old monster might just be one of the scariest rides in the country.
- Harmony Arts Festival in West Vancouver, through Sunday Aug. 12: This 10-day music, wine and culinary fest on the West Vancouver waterfront gets bigger and better every year. Stop by this Friday, Aug. 3, for a night of cheesy good fun starting with a Tina Turner tribute on the main stage (7:30 p.m.), followed by a Neil Diamond tribute on the Garden Stage (8:45 p.m.) and capped off by a free outdoor showing of Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris (9 p.m.). Full details here.
- Davie Street Dance Party, Friday, Aug. 3: While the annual Pride Parade on Sunday attracts 600,000 spectators, insiders know that the real party is Friday night. A section of Davie Street is closed to traffic and fills with DJs and thousands of revelers celebrating tolerance, diversity and the right to get down and boogie in the street. To enter the beer gardens you’ll have to pay, but it’s free to stroll along the sidewalks and soak up the atmosphere and energy of one of Vancouver’s wildest nights.
- A picnic at any beach in the city, anytime: Temperatures this weekend are expected to spike into the mid twenties. The best way to beat the heat is to pack a cooler, bring a blanket and head to one of Vancouver’s ten beaches. Sands will be crowded and festive, so arrive early in the day to stake out the best spots and prepare for a party atmosphere. Check out this great interactive video guide to Vancouver beaches.
- Celebration of Light Fireworks at English Bay, Saturday, Aug. 4: The annual, three-night fireworks competition is capped off this year by perennial powerhouse Italy. The pyrotechnics start at 10 p.m. sharp and last 25 minutes, but half the fun is getting to English Bay early for the live music, decadent street food and camaraderie of a few hundred thousand fellow Vancouverites. Quick tip: Don’t forget to bring a radio so you can tune into Shore 104 to hear the soundtrack to the choreographed fireworks.
Got more ideas for free fun this weekend in Vancouver? Please share suggestions below.