Every year, CelticFest Vancouver celebrates all things Irish for nine days leading up to St. Patrick's Day (March 17). It's Western Canada's largest Celtic celebration, and it features both free and ticketed events, concerts, and parties.
Use this Guide to find the Best Free Events at Vancouver CelticFest, including street festivals, live music, and, of course, the Vancouver St. Patrick's Day Parade.
This year, Vancouver CelticFest runs from March 10 -17, 2016.
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Celtic Village & Street Market - March 12 - 13, 2016
One of my favourite free events at Vancouver CelticFest is the two-day Celtic Village & Street Market, an outdoor street festival that combines a Celtic-themed arts and crafts market with live music and dance.
Held outdoors in downtown Vancouver at Robson Square and on Granville Street from Robson to Nelson, the Celtic Village showcases Celtic musicians, local dance troupes, European marital arts and fencing, face-painting for kids, and much more.
The Street Market on Granville Street includes local artists and artisans, Celtic crafts and lots of food.
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The annual Vancouver St. Patrick's Day Parade is the biggest and best free event at Vancouver CelticFest. The Parade winds its way through downtown Vancouver with 2,000 participants, including Celtic warriors, stilt walkers, drill teams, and musicians.
Because the Vancouver St. Patrick's Day Parade attracts about 300,000 spectators, you will need to take public transit. The Canada Line's Vancouver City Centre station is just a short walk to the Parade route.
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CelticFest teams up with Tom Lee Music in downtown Vancouver (929 Granville Street) to present free music workshops for musicians and instrumentalists, plus free Irish dance performances.
2016 Workshops and performances include Guitar Workshop with Tim Readman, Flute Workshop with Michelle Carlisle, Bodhran Workshop with Blake Williams, and the Eire Born Irish Dancers.