CandyTown 2016: Vancouver’s Only Free Outdoor Christmas Event
Nothing sounds more enchanting than a land full of delectable treats, festive music, cozy carriage rides and sweet surprises at every turn. This November, fantasy becomes reality at CandyTown, a free Christmas festival that invites holidaymakers to indulge in the season’s sweetest surprises.
On Saturday, November 26, 2016, the fifth annual CandyTown will bring to Yaletown a Christmas bash that’s just as fun and bustling as Santa’s workshop. Beloved across the city, the neighbourhood-wide celebration is hosted by Yaletown’s generous merchants through the Yaletown Business Improvement Association, and promises to infuse holiday spirit into even the most stubborn of Scrooges. Last year’s event attracted more than 15,000 revelers – and with a lineup of activities that’s more sugar-packed than ever, it’s a safe bet that number will rise even higher.
Kiddies eager to visit Santa Claus himself are encouraged to swing by the North Pole (Canada Line Station) to sit on the big guy’s knee, before paying a visit to the Ice Queen (visits via suggested donation of $5 to the B.C. Children’s Hospital). Father Christmas will be available for photo opportunities between 12-3pm, and the Ice Queen will welcome kids from 3-7pm. No visit to CandyTown is complete without a taste of the sweet stuff, so be sure to bring your kids to the Candy Hut where they can craft candy necklaces and candy kebabs. Hosted by the Starlight Children’s Foundation, kids can try their hand at craft-making, get their faces painted and learn how to twist balloon animals. New this year is the Pokémon Holiday Tour, which brings to life everyone’s favourite Poké characters.
CandyTown isn’t just for kids. Christmas lovers will find plenty here to spark their desires, from CandyTown themed cocktails (try the CandyCane martini at OPUS Bar) to horse-drawn carriage rides that cruise along Pacific (rides are 15 minutes and depart from Salsa and Agave on Pacific Boulevard, with a suggested donation of $2). Social media stars will delight in snapping Instagrams of the live ice sculptures on Helmcken Street (1-7pm), and friends can bond while browsing the Yaletown Rotary Club Christmas Tree Lot. Food trucks will be on-site, such as Cloud Nine Cotton Candy Co., Hugs by Mollie’s Minis and Old Country Pierogi, and Yaletown restaurants such as Earls and Rodney’s Oyster House will create seasonal morsels. More than 15 additional food vendors will also serve mouthwatering fare, including Bella Gelateria, Bluebird Cakery, and Damien’s Belgian Waffles.
The “All I Want for Christmas” gift market on Mainland Street is the perfect place to pick up gifts for the holidays with shops and local artisans showcasing jewellery, flowers, pet accessories, decor and fashions. Check out the special “Grinch” Christmas tree from Divine Vines, and the glittering gifts from The Cross Décor & Design. Throughout the festival, guests will enjoy live music, roaming characters, street teams, and stilt walkers to surprise and delight at every turn.
“Over the years, CandyTown has evolved into one of Vancouver’s most highly anticipated holiday events, and this year we are so pleased to offer even more activities and winter-themed fun for guests,” says Annette O’Shea, executive director of the Yaletown BIA. “CandyTown is the perfect place to find holiday gifts, savour some of the best food in the city, and support local charities that need our help, particularly around this time of year. Plus, it’s one of those rare events that appeals to all ages – after all, where else can you enjoy themed cocktails, Christmas craft-making and games all in one go?”
Attendees are encouraged to bring cash for donations that will benefit B.C. Children’s Hospital and Starlight Children’s Foundation. Donations will be accepted for horse-drawn carriage rides as well as visits with Santa and the Ice Queen.
CandyTown takes place on Saturday, November 26, 2016 from noon to 7pm on Mainland Street in the heart of Yaletown. The festival is free, open to the public and promises to ignite the Christmas spirit in guests of all ages.