Vancouverites love festivals, especially those that feature lights or music. The biggest and best festival, especially for children, is the Vancouver International Children’s Festival held every year in Vanier Park. Other excellent events include a number of lantern festivals, the incredible ‘Celebration of Light,’ an international fire works competition held on 4 nights at the end of July and the beginning of August, many music festivals and neighborhood street fairs and festivals.
Note: Not all of the festivals listed here are especially for children; however, they are all festivals children will enjoy.
This annual spring festival is one of the Lower Mainland’s largest free admission family events, including the “Biggest Little Community Parade in Vancouver” on Saturday morning. The fun includes clowns, magicians, pony rides, music, children’s entertainment and sidewalk sales.
The Vancouver International Children’s Festival
Held in Vanier Park, this great festival is a week of fun for the whole family with theatre, music, dance and puppetry from around the world. There is also face painting, craft workshops and roving entertainers. 604-708-5655
The Dragon Boat Festival at Concord Pacific Place, Creekside Park and the waters of False Creek every June. Watch Dragon Boat racing, live music, cooking demonstrations and great food.
Canada Day at Canada Place
Join 175,00 of your closest friends for this July 1 celebration of Canada’s birthday with more than 70 performances throughout the day, four entertainment stages and a spectacular fireworks finale.
Vancouver Folk Music Festival
This famous musical celebration, held at Jericho Beach Park, features traditional, contemporary and folk-fusion artists from around the world on seven stages. Includes local and international folk singers, songwriters, musicians, and storytellers day time and evening performances and special children’s programs. 604-602-9798
Vancouver International Comedy Festival
Free outdoor events on Granville Island for the family and ticketed events in the evening featuring stand-up, sketch, improv and musical comic performers. 604-683-0883
Trout Lake Park Lantern Festival
Join fire-breathers and sculptors, torch-dancers, musicians and stilt-walkers and bring along your own lantern or just join in this magical lantern procession around the lake with a fireworks finale 604-879-8611
Vancouver Celebration of Light
Every year, during the last week in July and the first week in August, Vancouver sky is alight with the most spectacular fireworks in the world. Three countries compete to become the global pyrotecnic star. Celebration of Light promises you the best fireworks of your life and in the best location, right on the beach at English Bay. (The fireworks are shot from a barge in the bay.)604-738-4304
Powell Street Festival
Vancouver’s Japanese-Canadian celebration; free festivities include taiko drumming, martial arts and sumo demonstrations plus contemporary art, music and dance. 604-739-9388
Vancouver Wooden Boat Festival
Try your hand at rowing in an 18th-century replica Spanish longboat, join a regatta or learn how to build a boat. This family event on Granville Island includes knotting classes, wood-carving demonstrations and a canoe race. 604-688-9622
Vancouver Fringe Festival
Featuring more than 500 theatre performances by 100-plus theatre groups from around the world, the Fringe offers dance, magic, storytelling, improv, music and comedy performances on Granville Island.
Chinese Moon Festival
Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Garden
Honour the moon goddess and enjoy storytelling, a lantern procession, music and moon cakes at this enchanting evening event. 604-662-3207
Vancouver International Film Festival
This is one of the largest film festivals in North America, presenting more than 300 films from 50 countries.
Secret Souls Walk
Held in Grandview Park at 1200 Commercial Drive on the Saturday before Halloween, the Parade of Lost Souls gives kids and adults an opportunity to honour the dead, wake the living and face fears at this annual Public Dreams Society procession through the streets and alleys of Commercial Drive. 604-879-861
East Side Culture Crawl
The Eastside Culture Crawl is an annual 3-day visual arts festival that showcases over 300 artists on Vancouver’s Eastside where artists open their studio to the public. This year at the Crawl, 20 Emily Carr students show their talents with framed living plants in conjunction with ByNature, who invited the students to add their own personal style to the natural planted products.
Dundarave Festival of Lights
Features free concerts for the whole family, set in a forest of Christmas trees in West Vancouver’s Dundarave Beach. This Festival keeps the true spirit of the season in its celebration of music and by raising money to end homelessness through tree sponsorships. The Festival features a 20 metre bonfire on the beach, music showing the diversity of Christmas, and tasty food.
Dundarave Festival of Lights: The end of November and into January
Features free concerts for the whole family, set in a forest of Christmas trees in West Vancouver’s Dundarave Beach. This Festival keeps the spirit of the season in its celebration of music and by raising money to end homelessness through tree sponsorships. The Festival features a 20 metre bonfire on the beach, music showing the diversity of Christmas, and tasty food.
VanDusen Botanical Gardens Festival of Lights
This is more for adults but the synchronized lights and Christmas music in such a beautiful setting mesmerize everyone.
Christmas at Canada Place
A family event that includes a miniature train and an animated Christmas village.