Calgary’s festivals are a year-round celebration of its vibrant culture, exceptional artists and musicians, films, and more. The city hosts major block parties, events, and annual festivals, making it an ideal destination for both locals and tourists. With festivals that are considered among the best in the world, these events attract large crowds. Take a look at some of the seasonal favorites and make sure to mark your calendars for the must-attend Calgary festivals.
Calgary residents eagerly await the arrival of spring festivals, as warmer temperatures replace the winter chill. As the snow melts and the sun shines, people shed their hibernation mode and participate in fun outdoor activities at three of the most anticipated annual events in the city. For those seeking to soak up the vibrant and lively atmosphere of spring in Calgary, these festivals are an absolute must-attend.
At the International Festival of Animated Objects, puppetry breathes life into inanimate objects, enchanting both animators and audiences alike. This age-old art form is masterfully executed by experts who skillfully manipulate hand-crafted puppets to tell stories that connect the animated world with human qualities, leaving viewers delighted.
Held every other year in the spring, this festival offers a range of live shows, screenings, and exhibitions suitable for all ages. The festival is home to numerous professionals, including marionette artists, mask-makers, and puppet theatre organizations like The Old Trout Puppet Workshop and Buchty a loutky. Attendees can spend their time exploring the whimsical vendors, watching films, participating in workshops, and indulging in the delicious offerings from various food carts. With such a vast showcase of talent, there’s no excuse to miss out on this exciting spring festival in Calgary.
The 4th Street Lilac Festival is a highly anticipated event that celebrates the return of the stunning Mission lilacs. This festival, beloved by the community, spans an entire day and draws a massive crowd, creating a lively and bustling street party atmosphere. It caters to people of all ages and is designed to be pedestrian-friendly, with entertaining activities like bounce houses, ball pits, and live performances by multiple bands. Additionally, trendy boutique shops and vendors stay open throughout the festivities.
Don’t miss out on exploring over 500 vendors with offerings ranging from handmade crafts, and jarred goods, to imported house and garden wares at the 4th Street Lilac Festival. Join the seasonal celebration on the first Saturday in June.
On the first weekend of June, the Calgary Ukraine Festival attracts both locals and tourists for an immersive experience of authentic Ukrainian food, folk music, live performances, and cultural education. As part of Calgary’s diverse community, the Ukrainian culture’s rich traditions are on full display during this festival, which is free to attend.
Adults can look forward to trying out numerous traditional beers, wines, and vodkas originating from the region. Meanwhile, visitors looking to take a piece of the festival home can browse through vendors selling traditional costumes, food staples, handmade gifts, and more.
Calgary’s summer festivals bring the best of the region’s flavors, sounds, and distinctiveness to make the already warm summers even warmer. There are plenty of exciting options to choose from, but three standout festivals include the Calgary Stampede, GlobalFest, and the Taste of Calgary.
Get ready to put on your cowboy boots and hats and yell out a big “Yee-haw!” at the Calgary Stampede Rodeo, taking place this summer. With over a million attendees, it’s the largest outdoor rodeo worldwide and one of the most popular attractions in Calgary. The rodeo, held over a ten-day period in July, features all the favorite events of cowboys and cowgirls, including bull riding, saddle bronc riding, tie-down roping, bareback riding, barrel racing, and steer wrestling.
The Stampede has been held at Stampede Park for more than a century and is a Calgary tradition that includes more than just livestock shows and a rodeo. Live music, a vast midway of rides, freestyle motocross races, shopping, and nightly fireworks shows make the event lively and entertaining every day. Don’t forget to check out the Dog Bowl competition, where four-legged athletes display their skills.
Satisfy your cravings for global cuisine at Calgary’s annual four-day Taste of Calgary festival, showcasing the city’s remarkable culinary heritage. Over 70 local restaurants, food trucks, and breweries showcase their best dishes and drinks for guests to indulge in while enjoying live music.
The festival offers more than just a feast for your taste buds, with artisans and entrepreneurs selling diverse goods and offering interactive activities on-site.
Admission to the festival is free, but guests need to purchase sampling tickets to try the delectable food. Most offerings require 2-5 tickets, which cost $1 each.
GlobalFest is an annual multicultural extravaganza that brings together over 60 cultures for various exciting events, including culture pavilions, Passport Pursuit, a fireworks festival, live music, marketplaces, and mini-documentary spotlights. Each episode is designed to immerse visitors in the flavors and music of each country, enabling them to learn more about the culture.
Visitors can expect to enjoy international songs, dancing, costumes, and various events and conferences designed to engage and celebrate the cultures present. Some of the sessions available include OneWorld Cultural Showcase, Canadian Cultural Mosaic, OneWorld SpotLight, and the Human Rights Forum.
Foodies will not be disappointed as some of the area’s top restaurants offer delicious fares from around the world, making GlobalFest one of the most mouth-watering festivals in Canada. The GlobalFest Charity Golf Classic is held at Muirfield Lakes Golf Course, but participants must register and secure sponsorship to participate.
At the Night Market, the atmosphere is electric with vendors selling a variety of authentic hand-crafted keepsakes, accessories, clothing, non-perishable foods, and spices. The night ends with a spectacular fireworks display that is truly breathtaking.
As the warm days of summer give way to the cool autumn air, Calgary’s top street festivals and events come to life. Each year, thousands of fun-seekers flock to numerous autumn festivities around town. This time of year brings out the artistic side of the community, with wordsmiths, film buffs, and skin artists showcasing their talents. Below are three of the locals’ favorite fall festivals.
The Calgary International Film Festival, taking place in late September and early October is the largest of its kind in Alberta and is a significant annual event dedicated to filmmakers and their fans. With over 175 short and feature films spanning a variety of genres, festival-goers are in for an 11-day treat.
The Calgary International Film Festival is an official Oscar-qualifying festival for short films and for the Canadian Screen Award. It has also earned a spot on MovieMaker Magazine’s list of “Top 50 Film Festivals Worth the Entrance Fee” multiple times.
The Calgary International Film Festival offers an exciting virtual cinema program and the Behind the Screen series for fans and filmmakers worldwide to interact and collaborate. However, tickets for this popular festival tend to sell out fast, so it’s advisable to book seats well in advance to catch the latest innovations from regional and global cinematographers.
WordFest is a significant event within the literary community that attracts writers and readers from all over the world. The festival is a week-long celebration that showcases local talent, nationally recognized authors, and literary icons. Attendees can enjoy a range of engaging activities, including fiction and non-fiction readings, spoken word performances, and youth programs.
With over 100 personal workshops held in theaters across the city, WordFest offers a unique opportunity to interact with some of the best authors in the world. Even if you can’t attend in person, Mountain Airstreams the festival online, allowing people from all over the world to participate in this exciting event.
The Calgary Tattoo & Arts Festival is Canada’s largest event of its kind, offering a unique take on art. Each year around the second week of October, tattoo artists and enthusiasts gather to showcase their skills and compete in various shows. The festival features vendors from major retailers who aim to make connections with aspiring shop owners and operators.
Throughout the weekend, local and regional artists showcase their talents by tattooing clients with custom designs. Guests can also enjoy food, exhibitions, contests, and entertainment such as fire spinners, live music, and DJs. The Calgary Tattoo & Arts Festival is an unforgettable experience for anyone who appreciates the art of ink on the skin.
Despite the chilly winters in Calgary, locals and visitors can stay warm and engaged with the community by attending some annual festivals. These events celebrate the deep connection between France and Canada and offer a chance to relish delicious chocolate and sweets. Get ready to cozy up and enjoy these cold-weather fests.
The BIG Winter Classic offers a perfect opportunity for people to indulge in the finest local brews and cocktails, groove to the hottest regional bands, and warm up during the chilly season. This four-day festival, usually held during the last weekend in January, brings together art, music, and the bustling beer district of YYC.
With a heated patio, the festival invites artists, bands, singers, and creative individuals to showcase their talents, entertain the crowd, and enjoy the festivities with friends and family. Don’t let the winter blues hold you back; instead, gear up and join the fun-filled celebration of the BIG Winter Classic.
The YYC Hot Chocolate Fest has become a popular annual event in Calgary, where people can relish the smooth and creamy hot chocolate offerings from various chocolatiers while supporting the local Calgary Meals on Wheels. It’s a delectable way to contribute to the community during times of need.
Throughout February, locals and visitors are encouraged to explore some of the established and up-and-coming chocolatiers in town and sample their creations. Once they have identified their favorites, they can cast their votes online or through the YYC Hot Chocolate App in categories such as Best Spirited, Best Overall, and Cup That Runneth Over.
The Best Spirited Category offers cocoa drinks with alcoholic components, making it exclusively for adults. The winners are announced at the end of the month, and for every spirited cup sold, $2 is donated to Meals on Wheels, while $1 is donated for every non-spirited cup sold.
The Calgary Maple Festival des Sucres, also known as the Maple Sugar Festival, provides a sweet opportunity to revive the French-Canadian connection with Indigenous Peoples through food and traditional activities. This annual event, celebrated during the first weekend of March, is the highlight of the year for those eager to explore the culture.
One of the most enjoyable activities at the festival is making maple sugar taffy on snow, which pays homage to the deep relationship between First Nations, Métis, and French Canadians during the fur trading era. Attendees can participate in various activities, such as sharing stories, legends, plays, dancing, and indulging in sweet maple syrup and sugary treats.
The festival has recently moved to Heritage Park Historical Village, where visitors can explore an authentic sugar shack replica from the early 1900s, enjoy a sugar shack brunch, and shop at the Maple Market for souvenirs. The event also offers outdoor games and wagon rides for kids, while teens and adults can engage in street hockey and axe throwing.
Throughout the year, people gather to celebrate each season and enjoy a variety of festivals and events that cater to everyone in the family. From summer activities to winter wonderlands and everything in between, there is something to delight every taste and preference.
Experience the vibrant and culturally diverse community of Calgary and discover what it has to offer. From popular resorts and hotels to excellent schools and modern amenities, the city has something for everyone. Additionally, newly constructed homes and entertainment venues throughout the town await your arrival. So come and see what this lively city has in store for you!