Royal City residents are invited to bring their swimsuits and a picnic blanket to Grimston Park for the second annual Summerfest celebration that's taking place this weekend.
Briana Tomkinson, one of the event's organizers, was chatting with some neighbours last year and the topic of a festival for the West End came up. The inaugural event was planned to coincide with the opening of the new playground at Grimston Park and to highlight the fact that the park is well-used and meaningful to the community.
"It was supposed to be a onetime thing," she said. "It really seemed like there was a lot of appetite to do more."
The public feedback and attendance at last year's event surpassed organizers' wildest dreams.
"We far exceeded our expectations. We thought we would get a few hundred people. We estimate it was close to 2,000," Tomkinson said. "Everybody was really happy to see something like that in this part of the city."
Tomkinson said many families bring a picnic dinner to Summerfest, while others can buy food at a mini farmers' market that's being set up for the event. Fresh blueberries, hot samosas and pizza will be some of the offerings.
Summerfest, which gets underway at 4 p.m. on Saturday, July 16, features live entertainment, water play activities and kids' crafts. The city's only wading pool will stay filled until 8 p.m., a few hours later than usual.
At 9: 30 p.m., families will gather on the park's grassy area to enjoy The Princess Bride on the big screen.
"It is a big block party," Tomkinson said. "We are inviting everyone to come and meet their neighbours."
Summerfest will feature free live music by the Real Canadian Rock Band, Junior Bean, Benjamin Keith and Ron Ulrich, as well as performances by Vancouver Circus School. The event is sponsored by Tenth to the Fraser, the West End Residents' Association, New Westminster parks, culture and recreation, and Friends of Grimston Park.
For more, visit www.tenthtothefraser.ca/summerfest.