The lure of sunshine, live music, and food has drawn huge crowds to East Vancouver’s Italian Day.
Now in it’s sixth year – the free event shuts Commercial Drive to celebrate the neighourhood’s heritage.
It’s a crush of bodies, costumes, and games, plus the wafting smell of the grill.
Nick Graziadei spent the day helping out at his friend’s gelato shop and says the event is huge for local businesses.
“Oh it’s huge for businesses on the drive. I think there’s still a lot of Italian businesses on the drive and I think it’s important for them to showcase some Italian culture for those that come and see the day.”
But even more than that – Graziadei says the day is about recognizing the city’s Italian heritage.
“To showcase our culture, to show that we have enough involved people to organize something like this. I think it’s really important to keep it alive – I mean, we’re a mosaic in Canada.”
There’s lots to love here – but one part seems to get all of the attention.
“Best part? The food! The food! it’s unanimous. The food!”
“Not yet – we’re planning on it but the lines are quite long – fingers crossed.”
Organizers say the event drew over 350-thousand people last year – based on the number of smiling faces – 2015 looks set to meet or beat it.