Carnaval del Sol: Pacific Northwest's biggest Latin festival returns to Vancouver in July

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      If you love music, food, and dance, then you’ll want to mark this upcoming Vancouver extravaganza on your calendar.

      The ninth annual Carnaval del Sol will be making its way back to the city on July 8 and 9 at Concord Pacific Place (88 Pacific Boulevard). 

      This Latin American cultural celebration—the largest of its kind in the Pacific Northwest—is known and well-loved for its musical line-up, dance performances, arts and crafts, mouth-watering food, kid-friendly activities, and an overall lively crowd. 

      Over 100,000 people are expected to attend this year’s free and non-profit festival, which makes it one helluva outdoor party every year.

      Over 100,000 people are expected to attend the two-day festival.
      Carnaval del Sol

      One of the focal points of the weekend event are the colourful musical performances that will take place on the main stage. The organizers of the festival have expanded this year’s entertainment line-up—over 250 music and dance performers will take the stage throughout the two-day festival.

      Featured musicians include local Latin jazz funk band Tanga, June Award-winning Adonis Puentes, Latin pop group Pacifika, and the best Latino DJs from the B.C, among many others.

      Mazacote is one of the bands that will be performing.
      David Isaac Photography

      Event-goers can also expect to be impressed by dance groups from Venezuela, Mexico, and Brazil. We won’t be surprised if you break out into a little dance of your own—Latin music tends to be infectious.

      Other attractions and activities that will be on offer at different designated plazas include over 25 food vendors representing various Latin American cuisines; visual artists presenting both Native and Latin American artwork; free public salsa and Zumba classes; beach volleyball; Latin American-related arts and crafts booths, and more.

      There will plenty of mouth-watering culinary creations.
      Carnaval del Sol

      The YVR travel plaza will showcase a live cooking demo show, which will see two chefs appearing together onstage and teaching one another about certain cuisines.

      This year’s expanded kid plaza will feature performances, painting and dancing, science and mini-chef sessions, puppet shows, piñata-making, kite-building, Zumba classes, and much more. If this doesn’t keep the young ones entertained, we don’t know what will. 

      Both Native and Latin American artwork will be showcased.
      Carnaval del Sol

      In the weeks leading up to Carnaval del Sol, Latincouver and Latin American Week (June 30 to July 9) also have plenty of events taking place around town. 

      One of the newest events to emerge is Music on Wheels (runs through June 24), which celebrates Latin and Latin-inspired youth bands. They will be performing at pop-up venues around Vancouver, with hopes that they can one day make it to the main stage at the Latin celebration.

      “It’s a new event that we are giving for the youth,” said Pilar Hansen-Holm, project manager at Carnaval del Sol, to the Straight in an interview at the launch of the festival.  “[They] don’t have to be Latino, but they can have an interest in playing Latin music.” 

      Other new and exciting events during Latin American Week include a Canada 150 celebration at Waterfront (June 30), which will look at both Canadian and Latin American history and culture; a Latin Film Night (July 4) with the Vancouver International Film Festival, which will showcase Latin American heritage; and Flamenco, Tango, and Wine in One Night (July 5) that will feature music, dance, and Argentinian wines.

      Dance is an important part of Latin American culture.
      Carnaval del Sol

      “We want people to understand a little bit about our culture, and that we can be together and dance, eat, and have fun,” said Hansen-Holm. “We all came from somewhere, and it’s beautiful that there is a group that wants to do this kind of event so that [people] can feel welcome.”

      For more information and a full performance line-up at Carnaval del Sol, click here.

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