Yesterday evening, we were down at Lacarno beach with another couple and their kids. We had a lovely time playing in the sand, swimming and lapping up the sun (Yes!! Sun!!). At around 8 PM it was time to pack it up. Our kids are still young and they were “done”. As we headed back to our cars we noticed an unusual amount of loud, obnoxious groups of younger people. Guys in Tap Out shirts and embroidered jeans puffing out their chests, dropping more f-bombs per sentence than you would think possible — and girls, trailing behind them, rolling their eyes and (I imagine) wondering how on earth they got so damn lucky. Then, the giveaway: guy hunched over puking in the middle of the sidewalk…yep, it was fireworks night in Vancouver.
My Facebook and Twitter feeds last night and this morning were full of commentary about the first night in the Celebration of Light annual fete. However, the posts and tweets were overwhelmingly about the state of the people in attendance and not the quality of the pyrotechnics.
My friends and I marvel at this each and every year. What is it about public events in Vancouver that bring out the drunken, disorderly worst in people? Some argue the “Bridge and Tunnel” crowd (i.e. suburbians) are to blame. Others say it is the sheer lack of public events in our city…we simply don’t know how to behave due to lack of exposure. One friend, now living in Montreal, stated:
“It’s strange. The fireworks here are bigger, with way bigger crowds (made up largely of families with small children), with people drinking (openly) in public, and the whole thing is peaceful and clean. I can’t figure out why the Vancouver one is always so controversial and messy. My current theory is that because there are so few free, public festivals in Vancouver – we don’t know how to behave when there is one. We’re like teenagers who were never allowed to drink on a binge. In Montreal, a festival isn’t an excuse to act like a teenager; it’s Tuesday.”
Not a huge fan of large crowds, in general, I tend to avoid these kinds of events. The fact that many of them end up becoming an excuse for some people revert to lowest common denominator behaviour, is even more reason for me to stay away. Now that I have kids, I pick and choose, considering which of these mass gatherings are truly “family friendly” and make sure I enjoy them from a location that will be enjoyable for all of us.
What are your thoughts? Why do we continually end up seeing this kind of behaviour at public events in Vancouver? Is it just certain events…why?