Get into the holiday spirit at CandyTown festival and win a Yaletown gift basket

      (This story is sponsored by .)

      CandyTown, Vancouver’s only free holiday festival is returning to the heart of Yaletown on Saturday, November 24. The seventh annual event promises to be the biggest—and best—yet as it expands to two blocks along Mainland, up to Hamilton and stretching down Davie to the water.

      Annette O’Shea, Yaletown BIA’s executive director, expects more than 25,000 visitors at this year’s outdoor celebration. And she’s not worried about the weather dampening anyone’s spirits since there will be a fun-filled schedule from 12 to 7 p.m., come rain or shine.

      People from across the city come to enjoy crafts, shopping, sweet treats, great food, and good ol’ fashioned neighbourhood fun as Yaletown is transformed into an enchanting winter wonderland.

      Jade Stone Photography

      Lights and candy canes will adorn lamp poles and more than 50 costumed characters from stilt walkers, to ice queens, and dancing gingerbread men will parade down the street. Snuggle up with your loved ones and take a ride on the horse-drawn carriage. And check off everyone on your shopping list at some of the wonderful local vendors. You can find out more information about CandyTown's map site at .

      “There’s something for everybody. It doesn’t matter what age you are,” says O’Shea.

      The little ones are sure to enjoy a visit with Santa as they soak up the holiday atmosphere. And regulars to the festival will know to have their photo taken inside the full-size Santa sleigh carved entirely from ice.

      But rest assured there will be lots of Insta-worthy opportunities throughout the day. And this year’s ice sculptures will be even cooler—pun intended—since they will be created for the first time ever using coloured ice. Each one requires hours of carving and it’s spectacular to watch.

      “We always do the sleigh because it’s really important to a lot of people, but then we add in some new ones,” says O’Shea. “This year we’ve got the Grinch emerging from a giant Christmas present, the snowman, and the snowflake wall.”

      Jade Stone Photography

      Clearly, this is a neighbourhood that takes having fun pretty seriously. And for the local bars and restaurants, that means creating a brand new signature drink for the CandyTown self-guided cocktail tour.

      “It’s a little bit of a friendly competition between the bartenders,” says O’Shea. “And this year, with brand new restaurants open, they’re like, ‘okay, let’s do this.’”

      Two of the new kids on the block, and , are located in the festival’s more adult-orientated area on Hamilton between Davie and Drake.

      No matter how cold it might be outside, you can be “Hot Stuff” at Public Disco complete with an outdoor dance floor, DJ, disco ball, and lights.

      “I’m going to be listening to ABBA the week before just to loosen up my dancing muscles,” says O’Shea.

      But there will be no shortage of music to enjoy at the festival with more than eight music stations with everything from jazz, to choir singing, to salsa and even a 30-piece brass band.

      Those looking to take some of the festivities home with them can pick up their Christmas tree at the lot on Hamilton. There will be a choice of apartment-sized live trees, tabletop mini-trees, as well as handmade artificial trees.

      And if all the fresh air and fun has you building up an appetite, be sure to check out the international food market.

      “Come and get all of your Christmas shopping done,” says O’Shea. “Then you can dance a little bit, watch some ice sculpting, go on a horse-carriage ride, and try some interesting foods. And it doesn’t have to cost you a dime.”

      CandyTown takes place on Saturday, November 24, from 12 to 7 p.m. along Mainland Street in the heart of Yaletown. It is completely free to attend but donations will be gratefully received for B.C. Children’s Hospital, Starlight Children’s Foundation, and Covenant House. For more information, visit the website. And enter below to win a gift basket from Yaletown merchants valued at $400 and including a $50 gift card for  (Best of Vancouver 2018 runners-up as best salon for mani/pedi), a $200 gift card toward prescription eyeglasses from , a five-class pass for small group classes (value $125) at , a $20 Urban Fare gift card courtesy of , and Yaletown portable mobile chargers.


      A gift basket from Yaletown merchants (valued at $400) including:

      This contest has ended.

      Contest Deadline: Thursday, November 15, 10:00 am
      Winner(s) will be contacted either by phone or email.

      See full contest details & rules