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First-ever Car Free Day festival coming to New West this summer

Car Free Day will be a “pedestrian paradise” featuring food trucks, vendors, entertainment and much more
BIA - Car free day 2
Car Free Day New West is coming to Columbia Street on Saturday, Aug. 6.

What’s happening?

The first Car Free Day event in New Westminster is making its debut on Columbia Street this summer. It’s taking place on Saturday, Aug. 6 from noon to 8 p.m.

Organizers say the street will “become a pedestrian paradise” filled with vendors, food trucks, exhibitors and interactive elements.

The free festival will feature four stage areas, where folks will find local recording artists, dance groups, family-friendly entertainers and more. Family activities, a vendor market, food trucks and a beer garden are part of the day’s fun.

What if I get hungry?

You’ll have plenty of food options as the Columbia StrEAT Food Truck Fest, a popular pre-pandemic event, will find a new home at Car Free Day.

“Car Free Day New West is an exciting evolution from Columbia StrEAT Food Truck Fest,” says Kendra Johnston, executive director of the Downtown New West BIA. “We’ve learned over the years that events need to evolve, grow and change in order to stay relevant, so after a forced two-year break due to COVID, this was the time to rethink everything.”

After much consideration, Johnston said the BIA has decided it’s time to try something new.

“Hence our decision to move forward with Car Free Day, which will still involve some food trucks, but be much more focused on sustainability and community,” she said.

What’s Car Free Day about?

Car Free Day New West gives folks a chance to learn more about the future of transportation in the region.

“TransLink is committed to providing continued new and improved services to help reduce the high volume of single-occupant vehicles as we approach this critical new era of climate change,” said TransLink CEO Kevin Quinn in a news release. “Everyone has to do their part to choose alternative transportation so we can reduce congestion and improve air quality. Car Free Day is a great way to share these important messages.”

Car Free Day New West is presented by TransLink, so attendees are encouraged to think about alternative transportation methods when attending the festival. Transit, bike, walk, car-share, car-pool or other method of electric transportation are encouraged.

The event is happening on Columbia Street, between Fourth and Eighth streets – in an area sandwiched between the New Westminster and Columbia SkyTrain stations.

How can I get involved?

Organizers are encouraging local participation from musicians, vendors, community groups and individuals.

 Applications for artisan vendors who are selling locally, hand craft items; commercial vendors who are who are selling or promoting manufactured or imported goods or items; food vendors are being accepted until July 15.

In addition, artists and musicians can apply by July 4 to be part of the fun. Volunteers aged 14 and older can register by July 31 to get involved.

Members of the Downtown New West Business Improvement Association are invited to take part in the event – at no cost. They’re asked to complete a form confirming they’ll be using the street space in front, or outside vendors may set up in that space.

Follow Theresa McManus on Twitter @TheresaMcManus