Hats Off Day has been a grassroots festival celebrating the best of the Burnaby Heights community since the early 1980s. Today, the event has gradually grown from a small sidewalk event to a day-long celebration that begins with a Family Fun Dash, followed by a mainstreet-style Parade and Street Festival. The best part? A two-kilometre street party with live and roving entertainment, activities, (literally) street food from around the world, a Show & Shine, Merchants’ sales and giveaways, Burnaby Not-for-Profits’ displays, and more. Hats Off Day attracts more than 50,000 people annually.
The event is led by the Heights Merchants Association and the Hats Off Day organizing committee, with support from the City of Burnaby, several Burnaby community partners, as well as a wide range of regional and local sponsors.
Curious about how the event came to be? Watch the History of the Heights. For a list of events and how to get involved, scroll down!
Hats Off Day always features an abundance of live music (hosted by local merchants), roving entertainers for folks of all ages, the Family Fun Dash, Show & Shine, and of course, our signature Hats Off Day Parade. The festival always kicks off with the Family Fun Dash at around 9:15 a.m., followed by the Parade at around 9:45 a.m. The street festival, with all its entertainment, begins at around 11 a.m. The full and up-to-date 2023 Hats Off Day Festival event program will be posted here in mid-May 2023.
- Street Party
- Show and Shine
- Family Fun Dash
- Art of This World (Stride Burnaby Arts Festival)
- Roving Entertainment
The Hats Off Day Parade has been a Burnaby Heights tradition since 1989! Featuring local community groups of all kinds, preschools and local high school marching bands, Burnaby Heights businesses, and regional sponsors of Hats Off Day, our mainstreet-style parade is a colourful smorgasbord of our local culture.
Parade Etiquette for Spectators:
- Safety is our priority. Please respect city officials, volunteers, and each other.
- Please, never throw litter or any articles onto the roadway. Parade participants can slip or trip on it and become seriously injured. Certain vehicle tires, such as motorcycles, can also slip on debris and cause an accident.
- Please stay off the street at all times. Parents with small children should ensure their kids remain on the curb at all times.
- Please do not climb on trees, lamp posts, and/or street furniture.
- Please refrain from smoking during the parade, especially near any children or seniors.
- Please allow those in wheelchairs, small children, and seniors to enjoy front row, curb side viewing.
Parade Participation Application:
To walk in the parade, please click the button below. Applications will be assessed, and parade entries will be chosen based on enhanced creative criteria that will make the entire Hats Off Day Parade more exciting, dynamic, and intriguing for viewers.
Hold on to your hats!
The Hats Off Day street party is legendary! Since the 1980s, on the first Saturday of June, Hastings Street is closed to vehicular traffic from Gamma to Boundary, and for a whole day becomes a vibrant hub of:
- Music, performances and multicultural food,
- A Show & Shine display with more than 100 vintage, sports, and unique vehicles,
- A Family Fun Dash children’s race and other exciting activities for kids,
- Special merchants’ sales and giveaways, and much more.
How to become involved
To keep our very local, neighbourhood atmosphere and purpose of the festival, Hats Off Day does not accept outside vendors or non-Burnaby not-for-profit societies.
Click on the button below if you are a Burnaby Heights merchant, or if you are a Burnaby-based not-for-profit organization that wants a display spot. In many cases, government agencies and departments may also be part of the Festival.
Show & Shine
Get ready to rev your engines and experience the ultimate car lover’s paradise! The Show & Shine display is a must-see for anyone who loves vintage, sports, and unique vehicles. With over 100 stunning cars on display, you’ll be transported to a world of automotive excellence and beauty.
Have a vintage car that you would like to showcase?
To register your spot, please click the button below. Entry form must be mailed prior to May 19 or brought with you to registration on June 3.
Family Fun Dash
Get ready, get set… and dash! The Family Fun Dash started in 2013 with only a dozen kids, and has now become a popular family fitness tradition with up to three hundred children and their parents dashing with them. A fundraiser for charity, this annual fun dash promotes physical fitness and active families, welcoming both strollers and wheelchairs (no bikes, blades or scooters). Child participants receive a special swag bag of treats and an environmentally sustainable wooden laser-carved finisher’s medal.
The 2023 Family Fun Dash will be held at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, June 3.
Art of This World (Stride Burnaby Arts Festival)
Presenters: Grant Withers and Yunuen Perez Vertti
Type a message to Mars.
Walk across an alien landscape.
Design otherworldly vegetables!
Travellers of all ages are invited to explore ideas and places accessible only through curiosity, imagination and our old-school hands-on arts experiences.
Ask the STRIDE Burnaby Arts Festival team about local art and artists and what to watch for in February 2024.
Find your creative side at @strideburnabyarts.
Check out our roving entertainment!
Silver living statue from Carivan of Curiosity roving from Willingdon to Gamma, 1:00 – 2:00 P.M.
Magician roving from Carleton to Willingdon, 11:00 A.M. – 3:00 P.M.
Vancouver Circus School Aerialists and roving stilt walkers at Gilmore and Hastings.
Whether you are a Volunteer, a Sponsor, or an Entertainer, you’ve come to the right place. Hats Off Day would not be possible or fun without you! Please see below for more information.
Hats Off Day needs a couple of hundred volunteers: from manning barricades, to assisting with the parade, to distributing volunteer lunches and other materials around the festival site, we need you! You can work for a half-day shift or a full-day shift. Volunteers receive a Hats Off Day t-shirt (barricade volunteers receive a Hats Off Day limited edition baseball hat). Lunch is provided. Youth receive hours toward their volunteering credits for graduation. Barricade volunteers also receive a special gift card thanks.
Not-for-profit societies, local cultural groups, and local amateur sports teams are invited to volunteer as a group of 6 or more, to be barricade volunteers. These groups will receive a donation to their organization as a way of thanks.
Community-minded organizations help make Hats Off Day possible. We are so grateful to our many past sponsors and take our hats off to them. Please contact the Heights Merchants Association to inquire about sponsorship eligibility and recognition opportunities.
Our festival entertainment varies from local community bands, to high school performers, to professional musicians, roving entertainers and so many others. Much of our entertainers are hired by individual merchants, and some of it is hired by the Heights Merchants Association. Please click on the button below to learn more about being considered for this, or future Hats Off Days’ entertainment roster.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Hats Off Day?
Hats Off Day is Burnaby’s biggest annual street festival where the Heights businesses take their “hats off” to their community to thank them for their support.
Hats Off Day was started in the early 1980s by Clay Budd, Larry French, Jack Kuyer and Ed Wood, four merchants on Hastings Street in Burnaby. Watch the History of Hats Off Day movie, here.
The festival now attracts over 50,000 attendees every year. There is a colourful parade, vintage car show, thrilling race, live music, fun entertainment, delicious food, and lots of activities appropriate for all ages.
Where & When is Hats Off Day?
The festival has activities planned on Hastings St, all the way from Boundary Rd. to Gamma Ave.
It takes place Saturday, June 3, 2023 – the festival almost always falls on the first Saturday of June.
What are the main events, and how can I find more information?
The program changes each year. Visit the Event Program page on our website for more info.
Family Fun Dash
The 550 metre kids race kicks off Hats Off Day and celebrates health, wellness, families, and fun in Burnaby! This is a fundraiser for the Burnaby Firefighters Charitable Society. Click here for more info.
Time: 9:30 a.m.
Place: On Hastings St. in Burnaby, the start line will be at Madison Ave. and the finish line at Macdonald Ave.
The parade begins at 10 a.m.
Hang on to your hats for one of the biggest, most popular community festivals in the region. Hastings St. is shut down to traffic, but open to excitement, live music and entertainment, kids activities, yummy treats, and much more! Click here for details.
Time: 11:00 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Place: All along Hastings St. between Gamma Ave. and Boundary Rd.
Show & Shine
Check out the 20th annual Show & Shine with classic and custom vehicles, trucks, and motorcycles. Click here for more info.
Time: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Place: Between Gamma Ave. and Willingdon Ave. on Hastings St.
What is the cost to attend?
It’s FREE! Spectators can enjoy the parade, vintage car show, and live entertainment along Hastings St. at no cost thanks to our sponsors, community, and merchants.
*If you would like to participate in the Family Fun Dash, entry is $5 and all proceeds benefit the Burnaby Firefighters Charitable Society. Click here for more details.
Will the festival still take place if it rains?
Rain or shine, Hats Off Day is on!
Is there an Information Booth? Where?
Yes, it is located between Gilmore Ave and Macdonald Ave at 4019 Hastings St.
Where are the bathrooms?
There are portable washrooms at the intersections listed below, either to the north or south of Hastings St. Look for directional signage.
- Esmond Ave (SE)
- MacDonald Ave (SE)
- Madison Ave (NW)
- Alpha Ave (SW)
- Beta Ave (SE)
What do I do if I get injured, or need medical attention?
If it’s a minor incident, go to the St. John’s Ambulance located at Hastings St. and Carleton Ave. (next to 4198 Hastings St.). If it is an emergency, phone 9-1-1.
What do I do if I lost someone?
Go to the RCMP Community Police Office located at 4191 Hastings Street (next to the Dairy Queen) to report the lost child/person. Follow their instructions on how to proceed.
What do I do if I found a lost child/person?
This is a two-step process:
- DO NOT LEAVE THE CHILD. We do not want to re-lose them.
- Walk with the child to the RCMP Community Police Office located at 4191 Hastings Street (next to the Dairy Queen). If the child is unwilling to travel with you, have one person stay with the child, have another person travel to the RCMP office to retrieve help from the RCMP.
Where is the lost & found located?
For lost items, go to the Burnaby RCMP Community Police Office at 4191 Hastings St. or the event information booth located at 4019 Hastings St. Contact the Heights Merchants Association after Hats Off Day at 604-294-8899 to inquire if your item was turned into the HMA office, or the RCMP Hastings-Brentwood Community Office in the Heights at 604-646-9533.
Hats Off Day is mostly well accessible by wheelchairs, with no stairs to go up or down. If you have input for the organizers about ways we can improve accessibility, please contact the organizers after the festival, at 604-294-8899.
Contact The Festival
Hats Off Day is produced by the Heights Merchants Association. The Heights Merchants Association is a non-partisan, non-profit organization that works to foster the economic development of the Heights business district in cooperation with the community. They organize this special festival as a way to unite the community, celebrate what we have together, and give back.
Please get in touch by email for any of the following:
Burnaby Non-profit Organizations’ Display Information
Display Information at the Urban Renewal Site – email@example.com (Please note, due to keeping the spirit of Hats Off Day truly local, we regret we cannot include non-Burnaby organizations. Visit the Displays page for eligibility information.)
firstname.lastname@example.org (Please note, due to keeping the spirit of Hats Off Day truly local, and because the event is hosted and paid for by Burnaby Heights merchants as a customer appreciation day, we regret we cannot include vendors from outside the area.)
For all other inquiries, please fill out the form below.