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BC Dumpling Fest gets $30K more for second annual feast in Coquitlam

The 2023 BC Dumpling Festival is on Aug. 12 from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. in Town Centre Park in Coquitlam.
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Staff from Mr. Siopao De Langley prepare Filipino steamed buns at the inaugural BC Dumpling Festival at Coquitlam's Town Centre Park, hosted by the Asian Arts and Culture Society, in 2022.

Organizers of the BC Dumpling Festival will get up to a $30,000 boost for its second party at Coquitlam’s Town Centre Park.

On Monday (June 5), city council OK’d the cash from the Casino Community Reserve for the major tourism draw; last year, the event, hosted by Tri-City Asian Arts and Culture Society, attracted 25,000 visitors.

Started by Gina Chong after a racist encounter she had at the park, the fest promotes multiculturalism through food.

At the 2022 celebration, there were 10 dumpling vendors and 13 food trucks — with some 45,000 dumplings sold.

The cost to stage the Dumpling Fest was offset by sponsorship, vendors fees and about $25,000 from the municipality.

Last fall, organizers received the maximum Spirit Grant from the city of $20,000 for its next round that will see:

  • double the number of vendors to reduce waits
  • increased security
  • a shuttle bus service to reduce parking congestion
  • more cultural performers
  • a waste management company to keep the site clean

“As is evident throughout Metro Vancouver, and recently highlighted for council as part of the city’s Canada Day in Coquitlam event, the festivals and event industry has seen a dramatic rise in the cost of producing events post–pandemic,” wrote Michelle Hunt, Coquitlam’s deputy city manager, in a council report.

“Supply chain challenges, fewer suppliers, fuel costs and general inflationary pressures have seen costs for delivering festivals and events increase anywhere from 10–70 per cent.”

Since the inaugural Dumpling Festival, in-kind or complimentary advertising and marketing costs have dwindled, performers’ fees have gone up and more amenities are needed to accommodate the vendors.

And since last fall, the budget for the 2023 fest has skyrocketed from $95,000 to $141,850, Hunt wrote in her report.

Without the extra funding, “it is likely that the event programming will need to be reduced or eliminated, which may jeopardize the customer, volunteer, sponsor and vendor experience,” she added.

B.C.’s new Provincial Fairs, Festivals and Events Fund has also pitched in $16,000.

Hunt said the Dumpling Fest is being considered as a signature event for Coquitlam.

Presented by Marcon, the 2023 BC Dumpling Festival is on Aug. 12 from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. in Town Centre Park (1299 Pinetree Way).