The North Shore’s loss will be Coquitlam’s gain.
Featuring food, music and limbo, the Caribbean Days Festival is set to be staged at Town Centre Park in Coquitlam for the first time in the event’s 33-year history.
After three decades in North Vancouver, event organizers reached out to City of Coquitlam staff regarding a possible change of venue in 2019.
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“[We] feel we have outgrown the facility there,” explained Marilyn Perrin, president of the Trinidad & Tobago Cultural Society of B.C. The two-day festival has attracted as many as 40,000 revelers, according to a city staff report.
Following back-to-back cancellations due to the pandemic, the festival is now set to hit Coquitlam on July 23 and 24.
In addition to steel drum bands, food trucks, a beer garden, arts and crafts and a parade in the park, this year’s event is set to feature a “multicultural, educational tent,” Perrin told Coquitlam council Monday.
“Rather than just enjoy the Caribbean, we want to teach you about the Caribbean,” she said.
The tent will feature discussions of anti-racism as well as information about aspects of Caribbean culture ranging from music to hair braiding, according to Perrin.
This year’s festival may also add a 3-on-3 basketball tournament for young people between the ages of 10 and 16, Perrin said.
“It’s going to bring the colour that is Caribbean Days,” said Coun. Trish Mandewo. “I knew we were better than North Vancouver – sorry, North Vancouver,” she added with a chuckle.
The city is set to contribute $38,000 toward planning and marketing this year’s event.
As well as celebrating diversity and building a sense of community, the festival also positions Town Centre Park as a regional event destination, helping to attract “new landmark events to Coquitlam,” according to a city staff report.
The event is also slated to be supported by $77,000 in federal and provincial grants.
Festivities are scheduled to get underway at 10 a.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. on Sunday with the party wrapping up at 7 p.m. on both days.