The YVR Food Festival, formerly known as the Food Cart Fest, features food, craft breweries and entertainment in Vancouver’s Olympic Village in July.
YVR Food Festival
In previous years the YVR Food Festival was a weekend event in August. As of 2017, however, it has grown into a 5-day festival with a variety of themed activities at different venues.
In 2017 the festival took place from Thursday, June 29, to Monday, July 3. In 2018 it will likely run for the five days leading up to Canada Day, but details are to be confirmed.
Note: the YVR Food Festival is not the same as the Vancouver Street Food Festival which also involves dozens of food trucks, live music and market vendors but at Concord Pacific Place on the other side of False Creek in September.
Vancouver’s YVR Food Fest
In 2017 the YVR Food Festival featured a number of events including a couple of fancy dinners at a Vancouver restaurant and a Food for Thought event at the Fox Cabaret where a group of chefs and media personalities discuss food culture. Costs for these ranged from $17 up to $135 (plus taxes and fees).
The main events during the YVR Food Fest in 2017, however, are the festival activities at Vancouver’s Olympic Village on the Saturday, Sunday and Monday of the Canada Day Long Weekend.
The festival’s three main events were the Canada Day Cook Off on July 1st, the Street Food Showdown on July 2nd and The Big Brunch on July 3rd. See below for details.
When and Where
In 2017 the three main events during YVR Food Fest occurred on the weekend of July 1st to 3rd at Vancouver’s Olympic Village which is located at 215 West 1st Avenue on the south side of the eastern tip of False Creek. Here is when each took place:
- The Canada Day Cook Off happens on Saturday, July 1st, from noon until 8 pm.
- The Street Food Showdown is on Sunday, July 2nd, from 11 am until 7 pm.
- The Big Brunch takes place on Monday, July 3rd, (which is a statutory holiday) from 11 am until 3 pm.
At the YVR Food Festival events at Olympic Village there are usually market vendors, tons of food and live bands.
Admission to the Olympic Village Venue
In 2017 admission for folk ages 12 and older ranges from around $12 to up to close to $70 after taxes and fees. Tickets purchased online included at least one drink and between zero and twenty food tokens. Children under 12 were admitted free (but then had to pay for their food and drinks).
Food items can be purchased individually for people not paying in advance for tokens. Food prices range from $2.50 to about $15.00 or so and both beer and wine cost around $5.00.
Saturday’s Canada Day Cook Off
In 2017 YVR Food Fest’s Canada Day Cook Off took place on Saturday, July 1st, and involved beer gardens, live bands and a barbecue at Olympic Village from 12 to 8 pm.
For the festival’s Canada Day event, admission ranged from about $12 to over $65 depending on when you bought your tickets and how much you planned to eat and drink.
At the one end, basic Early-Bird Tickets cost around $12 (plus GST) and included one complimentary beverage (if purchased online). At the other extreme, Deluxe Tickets were much more expensive but included up to two drinks as well as 20 Taster Tokens which were redeemable for a considerable amount of food from festival vendors.
Sunday’s Street Food Showdown
The YVR Street Food Showdown is the festival’s flagship event which took place at the Olympic Village between 11 am and 7 pm on Sunday, July 2nd.
Similar to what the original Food Cart Fest was all about in previous years, at the Street Food Showdown some of Vancouver’s most popular restaurants, food truck vendors, breweries and wineries served up all kinds of tasty things to eat and drink.
At the event participants can sample a selection of different foods and vote for their favourites.
Similar to the Canada Day Cook Off, ticket prices for the Street Food Showdown range from around $12 to over $65.
Basic Early-Bird Tickets are about $12 and include one drink. Food samples can then be purchased separately. Taster Tickets cost close to $35 and come with two drinks and eight Taster Tokens that can be redeemed for food samples. And finally, Deluxe Tickets cost close to $70 after taxes and fees and include two beverages and twenty Taster Tokens.
Monday’s The Big Brunch
In 2017 the festival’s Big Brunch event took place on Monday, July 3, at Olympic Village between 11 am and 3 pm. It’s a giant outdoor brunch featuring all kinds of tasty treats.
The Big Brunch isn’t a buffet-style brunch; rather, it’s similar to the previous two day’s events except with more brunch-style foods.
Ticket prices for this event once again range from around $12 to over $65 (plus GST) depending on the number of food tokens wanted.
Other Festival Information
Below is more information about what to expect at the YVR Food Festival.
2017 Food Vendor Participants
Some of the food and drink vendors participating in the YVR Food Festival in 2017 included Rocky Point Ice Cream, Taco Kwon Do, Gyoza Bar, Thai Box On Truck, The Reef Runner and a couple of dozen others.
Festival Beverage Providers
Participating breweries and wineries in recent years have included Altos Tequila, Averill Creek, Coco Frio, Four Winds, Good Company Lager, Havana Club, Hopping Mad Cider, Okanagan Crush Pad, Parallel 49, Red Racer, Red Truck Brewery, Road 13 Vineyards and Strange Fellows.
Getting to the Festival
There is parking in the area around Olympic Village for those that arrive really early or are otherwise just very lucky. Fortunately for transit users, though, both the Main Street-Science World and Olympic Village SkyTrain Stations are conveniently just a 10 to 15-minute walk away.
Being at False Creek, Olympic Village is adjacent to the False Creek Seawall and so wonderfully accessible by both bicycle and foot, not to mention the Aquabus and False Creek Ferries. Also, if you ride your bike, it’s good to know that there is an onsite bicycle valet service.
Festival Tips & Advice
Below are some suggestions to help you make the most of your YVR Food Fest experience.
TIP #1: If you don’t mind a bit of a walk and if you can’t find parking closer by, there is free parking along National Avenue by Trillium Park just past the Pacific Central Station bus and train terminal. Unfortunately it’s limited to just 2 hours, however, but more often than not there are empty spaces.
TIP #2: Dogs are welcome but must be kept on a leash. There will be hundreds if not thousands of people, however, as well as lots of tasty smells. Some dogs will enjoy the experience while others will not.
TIP #3: Take a good appetite, especially if purchasing a Deluxe Ticket with 20 Taster Tokens (unless planning to share, like with your kids under 12 years of age who get in free)!
For more details or to buy advance tickets, check out the YVR Food Fest website.
For ideas on other things to do in Metro Vancouver on the July holiday weekend, click Vancouver Canada Day Celebrations.