Best Festivals Held in Calgary: In Calgary, festivals celebrate everything from culture and music to food and theatre. Visit one of these must-attend festivals when you’re next in Calgary and discover how every season is festival season. There is no doubt that Calgary has the best festivals in Canada. There are literary, film, music, theatre, and arts events in Calgary, and a celebration of local artisans every year.
You’ll find it here whether you’re looking for comics and anime festivals or circus acrobatics. For your next trip, check out some Calgary celebrations you won’t find anywhere else. Calgary has over 90 different festivals to enjoy, not just for its colorful culture but also for its friendly people and delicious food. Calgary always has something to offer, whether it’s cold winter or warm summer. Here are our picks of the best Calgary festivals you can attend with your family and friends! Mark your calendars now!
Read More: 10 Best Festivals in Edmonton
1- Calgary Stampede:
Calgary Stampede is an annual event that expresses the west’s heritage, culture, and traditions in a beautiful and exciting way. Calgary Stampede is not only one of the best festivals in Calgary but also one of the most important. As a result of this festival, Calgary has earned the nicknames “Cowtown” and “Stampede City”. During the first ten days of July, this event is one of the most incredible things to do in Calgary, when Calgarians and tourists from all over the world get together to celebrate the spirit of community that exists in the city.
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The Calgary Stampede has been taking place at Stampede Park for over 100 years. Featuring the best shows, the liveliest music, and the most notable attractions, the Stampede grounds are sure to provide a memorable experience for all visitors. There are many attractions at the Calgary Stampede, including the world’s most formidable rodeo shows. Daily, six main events occur: ladies’ barrel racing, bareback roping, steer wrestling, saddle bronc racing, and bull riding. Buildings across the city are decorated with cowboy-themed decorations during this festival. Pancakes and barbecues are also included on the menus of restaurants.
2- Lilac Festival:
Almost 80,000 people attend the Lilac Festival, which spans 13 blocks of booths and blooming lilacs. Local and regional bands perform on six concert stages, while dance troupes, youth choirs, and martial arts displays are also held. A Lilac Festival celebrates Calgary’s local crafts, fashion, food, and music during the lilac blooming season. A grand parade of performers in colorful costumes kicks off the festivities in the morning. The next step is to make your way to the stalls, where hundreds of vendors sell handmade jewelry, clothing, home decor, and crafts.
This festival is suitable for people of any age and type since there are many things to do. For adults, there are crafted furniture items, trendy apparel for teens, and games and physical activities for children. Various snacks and beverages are available at food stalls, sourced from the best cafes and restaurants in the city. Magicians perform magic tricks or make balloon animals, while bouncy castles provide hours of entertainment for children. Another reason Lilac Festival is one of the best Calgary festivals is the free admission. Make sure you bring enough pocket money to get the most out of the food and artisan booths.
3- High-Performance Rodeo:
The High-Performance Rodeo began in 1987 as a forum for artists and writers. Nowadays, it is recognized as one of Calgary’s best festivals. Theatre, film, music, and dance are all part of the High-Performance Rodeo festival in Calgary. Performances range from enthralling contemporary dance to smash-hit theatre at this annual festival. This three-week performance and multidisciplinary arts festival spotlights local artists. Performing artists from North and South America and worldwide are also invited to participate.
One Yellow Rabbit Performance Theatre promotes multicultural diversity by showcasing different art forms and live performances. It will be a fantastic show, so do not miss it! Enjoy a free lunchtime concert or a stunning cabaret performance while sightseeing. Performances have included an experimental one-person show, an audience participation Hamlet version, ballet-modern fusions, and pop-up tents.
Beakerhead is an annual festival that creates hands-on demos, art installations, and innovative performances based on science, technology, and art. Various science experts and volunteers provide most of the exhibits for this charity-based organization. Using fire, light, music, and technology, they create interactive presentations and installations that keep children and adults interested. There are MondoSpider machines, pianos with Tesla coils connected to 30-ft poles, and sustainable Ferris wheels to enjoy.
Christopher Emdin, astronaut Chris Hadfield, and physicist Jocelyn Bell Burnell are among past guests. Live music is also available at Beakerhead. There have been previous performers such as American rapper GZA and German animator robot band Compressorhead. The wrap-up party features circus performances, dance, and laser displays. Calgary’s unpredictable weather won’t stop many outdoor events, so be prepared.
Global Fest has showcased Calgary’s diverse culture and artistic excellence since 2003. They are a non-profit organization dedicated to developing the image of its province through world-class festivals. It is a cultural festival celebrating the international influences that have shaped Calgary. With booths dedicated to Indonesian, Caribbean, and Ukrainian cuisine, as well as empanadas, bubble tea, and poutine, the cultural pavilions offer food from around the world. You can also find clothes, handmade jewelry, and craft items at the night market.
GlobalFest features martial arts, contemporary music, and traditional dance performances by local artists. Fireworks displays from pyrotechnicians from all over the world will be displayed for five nights during the festival. In Elliston Park, colorful fireworks sparkle above a reflective lake.
6- Calgary International Beerfest:
The Calgary International Beerfest has been recognized as one of the world’s greatest beer festivals. Taking place in May, the Calgary International Beerfest is a massive beer-tasting session. There are at least 700 types of beer offered by over 200 Canadian breweries. You can enjoy an IPA from Belching Beaver, a caramelly pale ale from Two Pillars Brewery, or a nutty brown ale from Olds College Brewery. Additionally, you can sample artisan ciders and meads.
Brew Master seminars provide an in-depth look at the beer-making process while Cooking with Beer seminars explore beer’s many delicious uses. With your choice of beer, pop-up restaurants serve juicy burgers, barbecue, deli sandwiches, and cakes. Live entertainment is also available throughout the festival.
7- Calgary Folk Music Festival:
The Calgary Folk Music Festival is a four-day music festival that contains first-rate folk music and funk, indie, and world music. The festival features 70 artists (both new releases and old favorites) performing funky, upbeat tunes across eight stages. Kris Kristofferson, Elvis Costello, K D Lang, and Emmylou Harris were among the previous acts.
The jamming sessions at the Calgary Folk Music Festival are one of the festival’s highlights. A craft market offers handcrafted soap, stationery, and international food stalls. In the family area, you can engage in interactive activities or listen to comedians and spoken-word performers in the Talk Tent.
8- The Imaginairium by Wordfest:
Imaginarium by Wordfest hosts writers from all over the world for an inspiring literary festival. Speakers have included Margaret Atwood, E. Annie Proulx, George Saunders, and Lemony Snicket, among others. A ten-day festival featuring live storytelling, variety shows, and talk-show-style conversations brings writers from all over the world to Calgary. Year-round programming is also available for book lovers of all ages at Wordfest. The event is a wonderful opportunity to discover new authors, learn about Canadian literature, and get your books signed.
The events include interviews, panel discussions, workshops, spoken performances, and book signings. There will be a Literary Death Match, during which a panel of judges will read aloud the work of a group of authors as they are gradually eliminated. A Wordfest trivia night is also an excellent opportunity to test your literary knowledge with challenging questions.
9- Circle Carnival:
With breathtaking acrobatic performances, good food, and live music, the Circle Carnival brings Calgary to its toes. Various gravity-defying circus acts are presented while magicians woo the crowds with their tricks. Kids can burn off some energy at the circus school, there is a miniature Legoland, and there is a big ball pit for everyone.
Live music occurs in two stages throughout the day, starting with upbeat and folky sounds during the day and progressing to dance music when the sun goes down. Several pop-up bars offer craft beer, cocktails, and tasty foods like pierogis and gelato. Visit the Carnival Market to buy jewelry, homeware, or crafts made by local artisans.
In Calgary, Otafest is a non-profit event that aims to bring together people of all ages interested in Japanese pop culture and anime. The festival has over 100 events you can choose from if you are a cosplayer, artist or just interested in Japanese culture. There is also an arcade where you can play PC and console games, among other popular platforms, and they host tournaments that will get your competitive spirit going. Also, they offer a platform where you can interact with celebrities worldwide, ask questions, and get autographs from them.
Furthermore, they offer ketch Drive, where a portion of the proceeds go to a charity of your choice (while others go to the artist), enabling you to get a memorable portrait and contribute to the community you live in. Additionally, they offer a variety of passes readily available on their website for you to avail of easily. The welcoming and inclusive events at this festival will keep you up on your feet and entertained as you share, collaborate, and interact with others who share the same passion and interests as you.
We hope the best Calgary festivals reignited your love for the city! Be sure to reserve your tickets and mark your calendar if you’re a tourist who just got more excited about visiting! You can also enjoy Calgary’s beauty and glory now if you can’t wait for this year’s festivals!