The sun is back, and along with it, some of the best festivals of the province are ideal to get into the summer mood.
Alberta is known for oil, hockey, cowboy culture, and beautiful prairie sunsets. Still, the province has much more to offer, like unique annual summer festivals to get fun with friends, family, partners or alone (why not!).
Fun for everyone
Great music, dancing and food are some of the best ideas for summer, even more if it is all about diversity, affordable folk music, an opportunity to root in Western culture and sharing meaningful, inclusive experiences for everyone. You can experience this between August 10 and 13 at the Edmonton Folk Music Festival.
But wait! Another folk festival is happening in the wild rose province: the annual Calgary Folk Music Festival (July 27-30), which features about 70 artists from over 16 countries and an average daily audience of 13,000. These festivals are family-friendly; the Calgary one has an interactive family area, an international craft market, global culinary delights, a record tent, and a tree-shaded beer garden.
However, if you are more into Edmonton music, the Music Festival Wizard is back for 2023. The largest outdoor EDM event in Western Canada will take place for this annual two-day electronic festival in August at the Max Bell Centre in Calgary, a chance to dance from sunrise to sunset.
Also, do not miss the opportunity to rediscover the joy of sugar rise and the adrenaline rush of K-Days. Carnival rides, games, live music and nightly firework between July 21-30 at Northlands Park, Edmonton.
Did you know that according to the 2019 census of Statistic Canada, there are some 4.85 million cattle heads in Alberta — over 40% of the total cattle in all of Canada —, and 4.4 million human permanent residents? Not surprising that rodeos are so famous in the province. The Calgary Stampede (July 7-17) is the largest annual event in Canada, attracting over one million visitors. This is without mentioning that this festival has over a hundred years of existence — since the first one was held in 1912 — and its popularity continues to grow each year.
Nevertheless, Alberta has much more than cattle; it is a province rich in cultural and historic heritage. Alberta’s most significant asset is its people! 5% of Alberta’s population are First Nations, who have lived in the province since the last ice age. One of the best ways to discover this richness is through the Edmonton Heritage Festival (August 5-7). This event annually gathers all Alberta-based cultural groups (Indigenous and from 60 countries) to share their history, song, dance and food with the world.
The Heritage Festival is an event to discover and enjoy the tastes, smells, sights and sounds of the multiculturalism that makes Alberta great. According to its website, this festival has been named a CIOFF/UNESCO Intangible Cultural Asset. Alberta has 5 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, more than any other province, and Canada’s two most visited national parks.
Also, if you are into cultural discovery through delicious food, you cannot miss A Taste of Edmonton (July 20-29). Since 1984, this festival has offered a tasty sample of what Edmonton restaurants provide.
If you want a 180º summer immersive experience — like travelling abroad without moving —, do
not miss the joyful and colourful Carifest 2023 (August 18-20). This is one of the biggest festivals in Calgary and focuses on the celebration of music, costumes, traditions and culture of the Caribbean. Edmonton’s 2023 Cariwest Caribbean Arts Festival is from August 11th to 13th. They will be returning to downtown Edmonton and Churchill Square.
I know what you think: ‘All the fun is in the big cities.’ Well, not really. Many cities in Alberta have great festivals this summer and year-round, but this is just a non-exhaustive list of the big ones.
We have seen some of Alberta’s most representative festivals. Which one excites you the most?
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