Vancouver Bites into Powell Street Festival
I have recently been the victim of a chronic, debilitating cough. For the past three weeks, I’ve had the lucky choice between a continuous and painful cough or the sweet lulling dream of codeine cough syrup. I’m not big on drugs, pharmaceutical or otherwise, so this hasn’t been an easy choice for me. Today, in a codeine stupor, I visited the Powell Street Festival. Please keep this in mind as you read my review.
The Powell Street Festival is in its 34th year, but this was the first time that I’d visited. Inspired by Kim’s (I’m Only Here for the Food!) pics from last year’s event, I decided to swing by and check it out at its location in Oppenheimer Park. I looked it up online and saw that Oppenheimer Park was only about 6 blocks or so from the Axé Capoeira academy, where my husband was planning on spending his afternoon.
So, apparently, when you are in a codeine cough syrup daze, walking 6 blocks is quite the feat. I felt like I was walking and walking and walking…and walking. Surely, I had made a mistake and the Powell Street Festival wasn’t actually on Powell Street. Surely, I couldn’t have missed it. Could I have? No, no, surely I would get there any moment now. It seemed like I walked 10 blocks! I started asking everyone I passed on the street: Do you know where Oppenheimer Park is? No one seemed to know. But at long last, I finally made it.
It turns out that you cannot walk past it without noticing. The impossible-to-miss park was packed!
What a cool festival! I wish I had known about it before. There were tons of vendors selling all kinds of gotta-have-its, from unique and beautiful handmade wallets and purses to sock monkeys.
In the background, the cool sounds of Haagen & Ryuzen made for a perfect aural backdrop to my narcotic buzz. The Powell Street Festival programme described this duo as “acoustic and electronic, ancient and modern, east and west, dance and meditation.” I called it Japanese Jazz Fusion or Awesome, whichever you prefer.
For those who felt daring, there was a sign-up table for the Sumo tournament.
Now for the question that has been on the tip of your tongue: And the food? Delicious and Cheap: the perfect combination. I only had two items because the servings were so big. This was a food paradise for those hungry for value.
My first item was Yakisoba from the Tenrikyo Church tent. The good-sized serving was only $4. Only $4?! I know, the price was downright crazy. The firm and chewy noodles were mixed with chunky pieces of cabbage, onion, and carrot, a few small pieces of pork, and a seasoned sauce. I don’t know if it was the drugs talking, but this was really tasty. Too tasty for $4. I would have easily paid 25% more.
Wanting both to review and eat a little more, I made my way over to the food tents on the other side of the park. At the Otowa Ryu Japanese Dance Group tent, I ordered a 6-piece “Gyoza Side” for $4! Mmm, 4 is my lucky number! The pork gyoza were fresh and hot and very tasty.
The Powell Street Festival is a fantastic free festival that returns every summer. This is a family-friendly event, with plenty of activities for kids in the Children’s Tent. This is also an environment-friendly event, as the Powell Street Festival Society aims to provide a zero-waste festival. All food was served in compostable or recyclable containers. Every garbage station was staffed by a volunteer who helped event goers compost and recycle all items.
Whether the festival was really this great or this was just a case of the codeine making everything seem better, I can tell you I will be back again next year.