HomeGround Festival: February 3 – 5, 2016
Carnegie Community Centre and Oppenheimer Park host HomeGround from 11:00am to 9:00pm over three days, with a large group of community organizations participating.
Two large tents are set up in Oppenheimer Park, sheltering participants from the rain. During these three days, homeless and under-housed residents enjoy the best food and entertainment in the Downtown Eastside (DTES).
This event provides more than food and entertainment. It builds community.
Most Vancouver residents take the kind of high-quality food presented at HomeGround for granted.
People living on severely limited incomes feel included by the rest of society when real care is taken in the preparation of the food they are offered.
A community expo on the first day of HomeGround has a theme of food opportunities and access to nutritional food in the neighborhood.
Local organizations offer food-related programming, present information, and offer interactive displays and activities to participants. Workshops in the months leading up to the festival further add to a sense of thoughtful inclusion and celebration of the community and its residents.
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are provided for approximately 500 people per meal. Tablecloths are changed between each setting, and guests are served by their volunteer friends and neighbours.
Vancouver Community College Culinary Arts have partnered with HomeGround to provide the lunches and dinners. The students donate their own time to provide an outstanding service, and receive affectionate thanks from the community.
Previously, Templeton Secondary Culinary Program provided this service.
HomeGround provides opportunities for a mix of well–known local performers and Downtown Eastside musicians, showcasing a variety of cultural and musical genres.
Participants may take in performances, staged events and concerts by local musicians, and take part in workshops and hands-on activities throughout the festival at the entertainment tent.
The entertainment tent offers opportunities for local performers to contribute, as well as a place for residents to engage in art activities.
Daytime activities are of a participatory nature and concerts are held each evening. A rousing and energetic performance concludes each day, bringing audience members to their feet and eliciting many encore requests.
Designed with community input, additional community programming and workshops take place in the weeks and months leading up to HomeGround, with opportunities to showcase the results at the festival.
Each year, approximately 150 community volunteers, many of them seriously under-housed themselves, take on responsibility, and express great satisfaction in playing a role in providing this kind of high-quality event to their neighbours.
Oppenheimer Group provides vast amounts of fruit every year. Generous donations were made by Canada Safeway and Ethical Bean.