Chinatown celebrates 125th birthday

Vancouver event focuses on 'Food for Folks'

Last year, an estimated 50,000 people descended on Chinatown to celebrate the historic neighbourhoods 125th birthday party. This years instalment promises to be bigger now that the massive multicultural street party has been renamed the TD Vancouver Chinatown Festival after the bank recently signed on as its title sponsor.

Theyve been a sponsor for maybe 10 years, but now thats they are the title sponsors, so it means we have a more solid budget to work with, said festival coordinator Tracy Kong on Wednesday. It will be the same as it has always been with lots and lots to do for families and adults, just maybe a little bit bigger and even more fun. There will be something for everyone.

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The theme for this years event, taking place this Saturday and Sunday (Aug. 6 to 7) from noon until late near the intersection of Columbia and Keefer streets, is Food for Folks and will highlight Chinese culinary culture through cooking demonstration, programs and games.

The weekend will also mark the festival debut of the paintbrush-slinging panda known as Van Van, the worlds first and to date only official Chinatown mascot, who was dreamed up last December by the Vancouver Chinatown Business Improvement Association to help mark the areas quasquicentennial.

Highlights for this year include the TD Youth Talent Showdown Finals, the evening Streetfest featuring DJs spinning live music, lion dance parades, kung fu demonstrations, gambling on a wheel of fortune, open-air markets, childrens booths and Chinatown heritage and food-tasting walking tours.

The festival is also offering a little something from plenty of other cultures as well. Along with traditional Chinese traditions and art forms, the block party features such diverse cross-cultural fare as Bollywood dancing, hip hop, Brazilian capoeira martial arts and samba dancing, Indian belly dancing, Korean drumming, traditional Irish tap dancing, African drumming and possibly traditional Canadian street hockey.

For the complete weekend lineup or to vote in advance for some of the Youth Talent Showdown finalists, visit vancouver-chinatown.com.

afleming@gmx.com

Twitter: @flematic

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