The Waterfront Vancouver development is still a work in progress, but the city doesn’t want to let summer slip past without letting everyone feel the magic of a beautiful July evening in its public centerpiece, the 7.3-acre Vancouver Waterfront Park. Also, city planners want to see just how many people might show up for a free party in that scenic space.
So the city’s multiple series of free, outdoor summer concerts and movie screenings get a combined launch July 5 at a special Celebration on the Waterfront. It’s the only event scheduled for Waterfront Park this year, according to event manager Stacy Donovan, and it will serve as a test run for more fun beginning next spring. (Unfortunately, the artistic water feature that’s still behind a chain-link fence will stay that way, according to Vancouver Parks and Recreation spokeswoman Melody Burton. “We are definitely excited for it to open, but we have no firm date yet,” she said.)
A temporary bandshell and then a temporary movie screen will rise July 5 at the far east end of Waterfront Park, facing west toward the grassy area and the Grant Street Pier, Donovan said. From 6 to 8 p.m, high-energy Portland party band Top Shelf will rock the park; then, after dusk sets in, the family-friendly “Mary Poppins Returns” will be shown on a big outdoor screen. Bring blankets, low-backed lawn chairs and picnic dinners, or buy a meal at a food truck or local restaurant.
More concerts and movies
After July 5, the city’s annual lineup of free summer concerts and movies proceeds as usual. Music is headed for Wednesday lunchtimes and Thursday evenings in Esther Short Park, plus Sunday evenings in Columbia Tech Center Park; movies are scheduled for Friday nights at dusk in various parks. (The daytime Wednesday concerts tend toward mellow, featuring light classical sounds, bluegrass, singer-songwriters and world music; the Thursday and Sunday night shows star rockin’ tribute and cover bands that will try to make you get up and boogie.)
Food vendors will be on hand at all events; also, vendors from the Vancouver Farmers Market will wrap around the Wednesday lunchtime concerts from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., for your midweek produce-shopping convenience. The Thursday night Six to Sunset concerts will feature a “Pub in the Park” beer-and-wine garden, and you can even order up a VIP table and a catered meal via 360-567-1085 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Other than that, alcohol is not allowed in city parks. Neither are barbecues.
On Friday nights, blockbuster movies are headed for various parks around the city. Pre-show family activities begin at 7 p.m. and the movies start at dusk. Check the city’s event website for updates if weather looks iffy.
In the parks
• “Noon Rhythms,” noon to 1 p.m. Wednesdays in Esther Short Park, West Eighth and Columbia streets, in downtown Vancouver.
July 10: Vancouver Pops Orchestra (classical).
July 17: Misty Mamas (local bluegrass).
July 24: Fox & Bones (singer-songwriter artistry).
July 31: Jujuba (Afrobeat big band).
Aug. 7: The Cabin Project (queer women indy rock).
Aug. 14: Dina Y Los Rumberos (Caribbean and Cuban sounds).
• “Six to Sunset,” 6 to 8 p.m. Thursdays in Esther Short Park.
July 11: Hit Machine (hits from every era).
July 18: Prom Date Mixtape (‘80s tribute band).
July 25: Stone in Love (Journey tribute).
Aug. 1: Hit Factory featuring Patrick Lamb (saxophone giant and band).
Aug. 8: Life During Wartime (Talking Heads tribute).
Aug. 15: Super Diamond (Neil Diamond tribute).
• “Columbia Tech Sundays,” 6 to 8 p.m. Sundays in Columbia Tech Center Park, Southeast Tech Center Drive at Sequoia Circle.
July 7: Five Guys Named Moe (deceptively named, big party band).
July 14: The Beatniks (classic rock of the ’60s and ’70s).
July 21: Dancehall Days (contemporary covers).
July 28: Hit Machine (hits and more hits).
Aug. 4: My Happy Pill (and more hits).
Aug. 11: Precious Byrd (dance rock).
• Friday night movies in the parks. Pre-movie activities start at 7 p.m. and screenings begin at dusk.
July 12: “Aquaman” at Endeavour Park, Northeast Angelo Drive and Four Seasons Lane.
July 19: “Captain Marvel” at Fruit Valley Park, 3200 Fruit Valley Road.
July 26: “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” at Columbia Tech Center Park, Southeast Tech Center Drive at Sequoia Circle.
Aug. 2: “Bumblebee” at Bagley Community Park, 4607 Plomondon St.
Aug. 9: “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” at Marshall Park, 1015 E. McLoughlin Blvd.
Aug. 16: “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” at David Douglas Park, 1016 N. Garrison Road.