Featuring ethnic food and performances, the European Festival has taken place at both Swangard Stadium and the Vancouver Alpen Club in recent years.
The event used to take place at Swangard Stadium in Burnaby’s Central Park, except for in years when it didn’t happen at all. In 2019 it moved to the Alpen Club.
The European Festival was cancelled in 2020 and 2021 due to COVID-19. Hopefully the festival returns in 2022.
European Festival Then and Now
The European Festival isn’t a huge event, but it’s a nice one. In the past, when it took place at Swangard Stadium, it attracted in the range of 10,000 visitors. About two dozen European nations also participated including Scandinavian countries, Baltic States, France, Spain, Great Britain, Germany and Russia.
Up until 2017 it was a two-day outdoor festival. Since 2019, it’s now just a one-day event and indoors. In both cases, there is a variety of ethnic foods, dancing and musical performances.
Where and When is the Festival?
The European Festival used to take place at Swangard Stadium at 3883 Imperial Street in Burnaby’s Central Park on a Saturday and Sunday in late May. The gates opened at around 11 am and non-stop entertainment continued all day, with the headliner band concert on the Saturday evening.
As of 2019 the festival now happens at the Vancouver Alpen Club which is a German cultural venue located at 4875 Victoria Drive (near the corner with 33rd Avenue). In 2020, the festival was scheduled to run from 11:00 am until 6:00 pm on Sunday, May 31st. The 2021 festival was set to take place on May 30th. Because of COVID-19, both events were cancelled.
What to Expect at the Festival
In years when it does happen, at Vancouver’s European Festival there are dance performers, musicians and all kinds of European food for sale. In past years there has also been an Arts Plaza where artists showcased their creations, and a Market Place with vendors selling different ethnic foods, clothing and souvenirs.
The next event may be slightly different, especially at its newer venue (which is both indoors and smaller). In 2020 there were going to be dance performances, cultural demonstrations, traditional food vendors and much more. A silent auction was also supposed to be added.
Be sure to check out the pastry vendors and trade show for delicious treats and unique items for sale.
Hopefully 2022 details will be comparable to what happened in 2019.
Participating Countries in the 2020 Festival
Before the coronavirus impacted Lower Mainland festivals and events, we expected to see around 20 countries participating in the festival in 2020. Each would have shown their pride through traditional dress, performances and cultural demonstrations.
For an idea of what to expect in the future, the participating countries in 2019 included Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland and Turkey.
European Festival Admission
In past years a weekend pass let you in for both days and cost around $9 online in advance, or $10 or so at the gate. Children 11 and under were usually free.
In 2019 tickets purchased on Eventbrite cost $5. 2022 details are to be confirmed.
For the latest information about the event, check out the European Festival website.
Other articles that might be of interest include the following:
- Vancouver Events in May
- Lower Mainland Festivals and Events
- History and Culture in the Lower Mainland
- Oktoberfest at the Alpen Club