Looking for fun yet COVID-safe things to do in Vancouver? A number of food truck and other drive-thru-style events are happening in the Lower Mainland.
Drive-thru events this summer include Canada Day in Maple Ridge and Golden Spike Days in Port Moody on July 1st. There is also the Abbotsford Agrifair in August. The Surrey Greek Food Festival also hopes to run as a drive-thru event this year, although exact details are to be confirmed.
See below for details about the above and other drive-thru-style events in the Lower Mainland in 2021.
Drive-Thru Events in the Lower Mainland
Unable to operate in their usual formats, several Vancouver area events are running family-friendly, COVID-appropriate drive-thru events that are safe and fun for all.
Since the beginning of the outbreak of the coronavirus last year, local businesses and attractions have been impacted in various ways. With province-wide restrictions imposed by government, many events have had to be cancelled. However, some organizations have adapted to the pandemic and continue to offer COVID-friendly activities. One creative twist on festivals and events over the past year has been the introduction of drive-thru activities.
While being in a car might not be as much fun as exploring lights, animals and more up close with friends, events that transform into drive-thru experiences are both safe and enjoyable. They are also still lots of fun, and far better than doing nothing! Given the world’s current situation, drive-thru events are ideal ways to treat yourself and spend quality time with members of your household.
Most drive-thru events require folks to remain in their vehicles at all times. People can also only be in the same car as other members from within their bubbles. Friends though can go together in separate vehicles, wave at each other and chat with one another by phone.
People can also now gather outdoors in groups of up to 50, which means picnicking in the park is also possible. (Just be sure to wear a mask when appropriate and keep at least 6 feet away from people outside your bubble.)
Drive-thru events make social distancing easy to achieve and offer great non-contact ways to enjoy seasonal events.
Canada Day Drive-Thru Events
As BC continues to grapple with the pandemic, some places are holding drive-thru events on Canada Day in 2021. Below are some of the biggest ones.
Canada Day in Coquitlam
The Coquitlam Canada Day drive-thru experience requires a paid ticket, although it’s just $2 per vehicle. Sign up for a time between 12:00 pm and 4:00 pm for a parade that’s a sort of inverse of what a normal parade is like.
Instead of watching from the sidewalk as different floats go by, in this event each car drives down the road and watches the entertainment that they pass by. What you’ll see at the side of the road includes dancers, different roving characters, a live DJ and other performers. The event organizers encourage those attending to decorate their cars for the occasion.
See our article about Coquitlam on Canada Day to learn more.
Canada Day in Maple Ridge
The Albion Fairgrounds are the home of the “Cross Country Road Trip”, part of Maple Ridge’s Canada Day festivities. This event runs from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm. Although you have to register for a time slot in advance, it’s free to join.
The experience is meant to take participants on a journey across the country with music, dance and some educational displays. Over half a dozen different musicians of various genres and styles are set to perform along the route.
As a finishing touch, at the end of the drive is the Canada Day Food Truck Festival. With a wide range of different vendors on offer you can celebrate July 1st with a tasty meal. If you would like to go to the food trucks without doing the drive-thru event you can do that as well.
Click Maple Ridge on Canada Day for more details.
Canada Day in Abbotsford
The drive-thru portion of the Abbotsford Canada Day celebrations is fairly similar to the event in Maple Ridge. Called “Drive Across Canada”, this event also combines a full Canadian experience with a food truck festival. Unlike its Maple Ridge counterpart, however, the Abbotsford Food Truck Festival lasts for four days from July 1st to 4th (and open from 11:00 am to 8:00 pm each day).
Drive Across Canada has a section for each province and territory set up along the route. There’s music, gymnastics, dog tricks, plenty of informative displays and even a Northern Lights show as you drive from coast to coast.
Like with the other two drive-thru events listed above, you must register for this Abbotsford experience in advance. Tickets are free, although limited in number, so don’t wait too long to grab yours.
Click Abbotsford on Canada Day to learn more.
Other Drive-Thru Events
While COVID-19 continues to be a problem, drive-thru events will no doubt continue to be popular. Last year the Abbotsford Agrifair had a couple of drive-thru events, as did the PNE on a number of occasions. The events in Vancouver included Taste of the PNE: Drive-Thru Fair Experience events in the summer and PNE WinterLights over the Christmas season. Glow Christmas in Langley also pivoted at the last minute and made their annual holiday event drive-thru-style as well.
What new and returning drive-thru events will be in the Lower Mainland in 2021? The Hyack Parade took place in a new format this year. Between 11:00 am and 5:00 pm on May 29th, folks were welcome to drive by New Westminster Secondary School to enjoy floats, music and other entertainment.
Golden Spike Days is also happening in a drive-thru format on July 1st this year outside the Port Moody Recreation Centre. Time slots are available in half-hour increments from 11:00 am to 7:00 pm. Tickets must be reserved online in advance. They cost about $10 per vehicle. The drive includes family-friendly entertainment, food trucks and multiple giveaways.
We can’t wait to see what else happens this year!
Greater Vancouver Food Truck Festivals
Food Truck Festival-style events take place in different parts of the Lower Mainland each year. In 2021 there were events scheduled for select weekends in March, April and May. Each event was modified into a drive-thru format. Admission was free and operating hours were from 11 am to 6 pm regardless of the day and location.
For more information about the above see our article about the Greater Vancouver Food Truck Festival.
What to Expect at a Drive-Thru Food Truck Event
Every food truck event is slightly different. With the drive-thru ones hosted by the Greater Vancouver Food Truck Festival in the spring of 2021, between around 6 and 8 vendors participate in each one.
At each event expect to be greeted at the entrance to the parking lot. You’ll be asked to fill out a COVID-tracing form (just in case) and then told which lineup to join. There is usually a different lineup for each vendor. More popular vendors have longer lines, but they all move at a reasonable pace.
After getting your food at your vendor of choice you can head off somewhere to enjoy your food. Or you can get back in line for food from a different vendor. Or you can do both at different times.
When we attended an event we got some ribs and then parked nearby where we could get out our lawn chairs and have a picnic on the grass. We then got back in our car, got some ice cream at a different vendor, and then drove to another nearby spot where we could go for a walk. It made for a great afternoon!
TIP: If attending the food truck event in Maple Ridge, or simply heading out that way some other time, see our article about Maple Ridge Dogs, Parks & Patio Restaurants for ideas on places to visit with your furry four-legged friends. Pick up some food and then head to a park for a walk and/or a picnic!
Past Drive-Thru Events
Drive-thru events that have already come and gone in 2021 include the following:
Easter Safari at Maan Farms
In 2021 Maan Farms had an Easter Animal Safari on the weekend of April 2nd, 3rd and 4th. The safari allowed folks to drive past half a dozen or so animals while learning more about each through an accompanying audio guide. The Easter Bunny was also on site for people to see and wave to.
Regular tickets cost $17.50 per vehicle of up to six people. The VIP experience cost $75 per car and included mini donuts, access to the Barnyard Adventureland play area and free admission to the farm if you visited again before the end of May. Other snacks and treats were available for purchase as well.
For more information about the event click Maan Farms Easter Event.
Petey’s Easter Eggstravaganza
Fantasy Farms in Chilliwack also had an Easter-themed drive-thru event in 2021. It ran from 9 am to 5 pm on April 2nd, 3rd and 4th. Admission cost $10 for children ages 2 and older. Adults got in for free. Guests drove through the animal farm area which is home to a miniature horse, pot belly pigs, goats and other animals.
During the trip everyone could look out for special Easter egg clues that helped solve a final riddle at the end of the ride. Children who successfully cracked the code received an Easter treat and activity book.
For more details click Petey’s Easter Eggstravaganza.
Easterfest at Taves Farm
Taves Family Farm and Applebarn also had an Easter-themed drive-thru event in 2021. Tickets could be purchased online for April 2nd, 3rd or 4th between 10 am and 4:45 pm. The tour allowed folks to see various farm animals and decorations. Visitors were also encouraged to decorate their vehicles for a chance to win a prize.
The base cost per vehicle was $12, but at least one other ticket also had to be purchased for about $20. The extra tickets were for whoever in the car wanted to receive age-appropriate snacks and goodies.
Donut Drive-Thru Video
Below is a short video clip of a Donut-Drive Thru event that was hosted by the Abbotsford Agrifair in the summer last year. As you can see, people can stay in their cars and everything is safe and COVID-appropriate.
Other articles that may be of interest include the following:
- Cancelled Events and Closures in COVID-19 Vancouver
- What’s Open in COVID-19 Vancouver
- Easter Activities in the Lower Mainland
- Vancouver’s Best Places for Children
- Festivals and Events in Metro Vancouver
- Monthly Events Calendar