Edmonton heats up in summer with more than 60 festivals and events. The city’s authentic, down-to-earth atmosphere is kicked up a notch. There’s a real vibrancy and community spirit here. Vying for their favourites events, friends and family book our spare bedroom months in advance. It’s awesome being able to share my city’s original experiences with the ones I love.
International Jazz Festival
For me, Edmonton’s 10-day International Jazz Festival at the end of June marks the start of summer. The city explodes with cool artists playing smooth tunes. At lunchtime you’ll find me with the kids tapping our toes at Churchill Square’s free afternoon concert series. Evening wine-bar jam sessions are reserved for date nights with my husband.
International Street Performers Festival
With four of my top festivals occurring in July, we pretty much hang out in the city all month. The 10-day Edmonton International Street Performers Festival kicks everything off at the beginning of July. The kids go crazy for this one, as it’s full of surprises. Acrobats, stilt walkers, puppeteers – anything can happen with this cast of characters.
A Taste of Edmonton
Any hopes for shedding a few pounds are tossed out the window in mid-July. For 10-days the city transforms itself into a smorgasbord at A Taste of Edmonton. Bite-sized entrées, appetisers and desserts are prepared by top chefs, food trucks and local eateries. Live music and sample cocktails add to the outdoor dinner party.
Held at Northlands Park over the last two weeks in July, K-days is definitely a family affair. Carnival rides, games, live music, nightly fireworks and those addictive mini doughnuts. My kids are on a sugar high and adrenalin rush for a week afterwards.
The three-day Interstellar Rodeo at the end of the month is all about music. Here, you’ll dance the night away to trail-blazing mavericks in Hawrelak Park’s open-air amphitheatre. You may even discover the world’s next great talent.
International Folk Music Festival
Festival life doesn’t slow down in August. It starts with the famous four-day International Folk Music Festival in Gallagher Park. Our home is always packed with guests over this weekend. The kids couldn’t bear to miss out on the music, dancing and food trucks. But we always do at least one parents-only night to take advantage of the beer garden party.
International Fringe Festival
North America’s largest and longest running fringe festival hits the city for 10 days in the middle of the month. Our streets and public spaces become a stage for national and international buskers and costumed actors. Unconventional and always entertaining, the Fringe is a family favourite.