Head down to TD Vancouver Chinatown Festival to chat with local political wannabes

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      We're certainly in the midst of Vancouver's festival season.

      Last weekend, it was Carnaval del Sol, Khatsahlano, and Dancing on the Edge (which wound up yesterday).

      This weekend, there's the Vancouver Folk Music Festival, Greek Summerfest, and the Vancouver Classical Guitar Festival.

      But if you're in the mood to meet candidates running for Vancouver city council, the place to be is the TD Vancouver Chinatown Festival, which is filling up Columbia and Keefer streets for the second straight day on Sunday (July 17) from 11 to 5 p.m.

      There's a main stage with live performances, an artisan and specialty market, food trucks, a giant mah jong area, and plenty of activities for kids.

      It's also where politicians are gathering in search of votes in advance of the October 15 civic election, as you can see below.

      With so many parties competing in the upcoming election, Vancouver residents might have to endure the longest council ballot in history.

      Here are just some of the parties fielding candidates: ABC Vancouver, COPE Vancouver, Forward Together, NPA Vancouver, OneCity Vancouver, Progress Vancouver, Team for a Livable Vancouver, Vancouver Greens, Vision Vancouver, and VOTE Socialist.

      There are probably a few others that I've forgotten.

      It's truly a ridiculous situation. And it cries out for a ward system so that people can vote for representatives in their neighbourhoods rather than wading through dozens upon dozens of unfamiliar names.

      But because the current council has shown any real desire to change the at-large system—in which politicians are elected on a citywide basis—the only way to get to know them is by attending public events like the TD Vancouver Chinatown Festival.

      Here's the upside: you might also get to taste some delicious food.