EuroFest beckons this weekend
Metro Vancouver is no stranger to various cultural festivals, from the 36-year-old Powell Street Festival and the 24-year-old Dragon Boat Festival, to the 23-year-old TaiwanFest and 11-year-old Talking Stick Festival.
One cultural festival hoping to gain attention this weekend is the 15-year-old EuroFest, which is making a concerted effort to draw a larger crowd this year with a move to Swangard Stadium after 12 years at Burnaby’s Scandinavian Centre.
“It’s much bigger space,” says event planner Marika Kovalcikova, who helped found the festival a decade and a half ago. “So everything is new. We’re hoping or expecting over 10,000 people. We added, this year, a new stage in the food court where we try to bring, not only traditional music, but some contemporary artists.”
There will be 29 countries participating in this year’s event, which takes place Saturday, starting at 10 a.m. Cultural displays, food stalls and children’s activities will be on until 7 p.m., with live entertainment going until 9 p.m., followed by dancing with music supplied by Europa Trio and Lime Production DJ until midnight.
Countries represented this year range from Italy and France to Serbia and the Ukraine. “You definitely learn a lot about different cultures,” notes Kovalcikova, herself originally from Slovakia. “You can see all different costumes, and flags. We have an opening ceremony at 10:30 in the morning with a flag parade, and we usually have consulate of each country come and carry the flag.” While the cultural displays and entertainment are at the heart of the festival, Kovacikova admits it’s the food that’s the biggest draw.
“You can see some goulash, schnitzel, all different barbecues, different sausages,” she says, adding that there will be no shortage of perogies.
The festival, she adds, is for people of all backgrounds, European or not. “We’re really hoping everyone from all different ethnicities will come and experience Europe without the air fare,” she says. “We started it because it was important to keep the tradition and our heritage, and let people know that Europe exists, and we are a very strong part of multiculturalism here in Canada.”