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Fridays on Front is back with six themed summer block parties in New West

The annual free weekend party series is coming to town this week

Here’s a plan to spruce up your Fridays this month and the next: block party in New West’s downtown area.

Starting Friday, July 7, Fridays on Front — a weekly block party series on Front Street — promises a lively start to almost every weekend till Aug. 25.

This year, the event packs in the excitement of six parties with six different themes. While the first, on July 7, will see the kickoff, the following Fridays in July will have people gather to celebrate East Asia (July 14) and join in some Bollywood bash (July 21).

Come August, three back-to-back Fridays will be themed “Throwing it Back”, “Pride” and “The Last Act.”

Adding to this summer festival — presented by the Downtown New Westminster Business Improvement Association (BIA), in partnership with the City of New Westminster, Evo Car Share and Port of Vancouver — will be a range of live entertainment and music shows (with more than 22 artists performing this year), kids' activities hosted by the non-profit Family Place and a full-blown artisan market by New West Craft.

At the fully-licensed party, you can grab a drink from Steel & Oak Brewery or Pacific Breeze Winery while browsing food trucks offering a range of cuisines — some examples include Super Thai, Nami Vietnamese, Tokyo Katsu-Sand, Fijian Fusion, Taste of Malaysia, Old Country Pierogi, Ay! Mamacita, Munchu Picchu and more.

The festival was launched in 2017 as a way to bring the crowd back to Front Street, as Kendra Johnston, the previous executive director of Downtown New West BIA, told the Record in a 2022 interview. Excessive construction work in the area back in the day, she had said, had people avoiding it.

The event did help Front Street see a sizable crowd again as thousands showed up to the Friday parties. While the parties were a hit till 2019, they had to be paused for two years due to the pandemic before being resumed in 2022 — this time to help Front Street bounce back to how it was before COVID.

This year, the downtown summer event continues its efforts to “bounce back” — one Friday party at a time.

The Fridays on Front parties will be held at the Front Street Mews between Sixth and McKenzie streets, on July 7, 14 and 21, Aug. 11, 18 and 25, between 5 and 9 p.m. The location is a walking distance from Columbia and New Westminster SkyTrain stations. For more details, check out Downtown New West website.