UBC’s annual Harvest Feastival serves up great food and cozy vibes

Even in the rain, I was welcomed to a tented space that made me forget I was having dinner in front of the Nest on East Mall.

September is that weird month in Vancouver’s in-between sunshine and sweater weather. It’s technically still summer but starting to feel like fall — and the best way to celebrate the cusp of the seasons is UBC’s annual Harvest Feastival, filled with good people, great food and cozy vibes.

Even in the rain, I was welcomed to a tented space that made me forget I was having dinner in front of the Nest on East Mall. The tables were long and family-style, with string lights, acorn squash and vanilla candles all placed on burlap table runners. Essentially, all of the decor my Rustic Country Chic Pinterest board strives to be, but is not.

Two heaping bowls of salad were soon set in front of us. The first salad I reached for looked like Thanksgiving — think orange and dark green, dotted with nuts and seeds. I spotted some Brussels sprouts which had me skeptical at first, but UBC Food Services and UBC Farm are definitely doing something right since they turned out to be the best Brussels sprouts I’d ever had, complemented with kale, butternut squash, goat cheese and pumpkin seeds.

Courtesy UTown UBC

Butternut squash which was split open and overflowing with risotto, along with a long plate of bright, pink slices of salmon, potatoes and beets, soon followed. We quickly got to know the diversity of staff, faculty and other students at our table as we swapped plates, bowls and serving utensils. Inevitably, my fumbling hands spilled some of the food, but everything was so good and abundant that no one cared enough to call me out on it.

The courses were paced out well enough to save our stomachs room for dessert: a deep-fried maple dough batter — reminiscent of Timbits but better, more like if Timbits had a cooler, older sibling — and a chocolate pumpkin cake served in huge decadent slices. If there’s pumpkin in it, it counts as eating my vegetables, right?

Courtesy UTown UBC

The event winded down with a bang — literally. The UBC marching band came out of nowhere and performed outside of the tented area, marching up and down East Mall in the pouring rain with their sheet music.

Following the Feastival were a series of exhibits featured as a part of UBC’s Arts and Culture District. We made our way over to the Hatch Art Gallery in the Nest to catch the final hours of the opening exhibit of Our Bodies are Our Bodies. It was special to see an entire space curated by an undergraduate student, seeing that galleries are typically reserved for MFA students or alumni.

I think this may have been the most wholesome Thursday night I’ll have all year, and the Harvest Feastival dinner was probably the healthiest thing I’ll eat all year.

Courtesy UTown UBC