Alberta Events - What's On When?
Edmonton Ice on Whyte Festival
Every January, Edmonton hosts an international ice carving competition. Also as part of the Ice on Whyte Festival, you can expect live music, hot food and drink, cultural exhibits, crafts and plenty of fun on a giant ice slide. Jasper in January
Also in January, Jasper stages its winter festival, with a kick-off party followed by two weeks of events – among them a street festival, a fireworks show, live music, dog sledding and a mountain park lodges’ chili cook-off.
Edmonton Silver Skate Festival
Edmonton’s Silver Skate Festival has been running for 25 years. Held at the William Hawrelak Park, highlights include snow sculpting, sleigh rides, fire sculpture and on-going live music performances. The Festival attracts upwards of 70,000 visitors.
Edmonton Poetry Festival
In April, Edmonton hosts a week-long poetry festival, designed to celebrate poetry in all its forms. Performances and readings are held throughout the city, and several leading writers participate.
Calgary Lilac Festival
Every year on the last Sunday in May, Calgary hosts the Lilac Festival, an annual street festival that attracts over 100,000 people. The festival, which is held on 4th Street in the Beltline and Mission neighbourhoods, features street dancing and a wide range of craft, food and entertainment stalls.
Waterton Wild Flower Festival
In southern Alberta, Waterton Lakes National Park celebrates summer and the arrival of a profusion of wild flowers with a nine-day festival. This is one of the best times of year to visit the park, as you can partake in workshops, guided walks and photographic presentations, alongside basking in the natural beauty.
Biggest on Alberta’s calendar of events is the annual Calgary Stampede, which is Canada’s largest rodeo. The event, which lasts for 10 days, attracts over a million people. Along with a rodeo, it includes a parade, on-going live performances, chuckwagon racing, agricultural competitions and various exhibitions.
Edmonton International Street Performer's Festival
In mid-July, street performers show their stuff in Sir Winston Churchill Square. This festival has been running since 1985.
Wild Mountain Music Fest
In mid- to late July, the small town of Hinton, which is 81 kilometres northeast of Jasper, hosts the Wild Mountain Music Fest, with performances of a wide range of music – from rock and blues to country, rockabilly and even Latin, funk and salsa – and stalls selling food, art and crafts.
Calgary Folk Music Festival
Also in July, the Calgary Folk Music Festival is held over four days at Prince's Island Park. The festival is now in its 36th year and features a wide range of both local and international artists, with performances on a total of 11 stages.
Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival
The Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival is the oldest and largest fringe festival in North America, and the second largest in the world, after the Edinburgh Festival. It features over 1,500 theatre performances, held across several venues in the neighbourhood of Old Strathcona. Also adding to the fun are on-going street performances.
Canmore Folk Music Festival
Each year on the Heritage Day long weekend in August, the Rocky Mountain town of Canmore hosts a folk music festival that attracts top performers from around the world. It’s the longest-running music festival in Alberta.
Held in August, Calgary’s GlobalFest includes a cultural “OneWorld Festival”, with pavilions and food stalls representing a wide range of different cultures, alongside an international fireworks festival, with up to five separate fireworks shows.
Edmonton Folk Music Festival
The Edmonton Folk Music Festival lasts four days and showcases musical talents in a wide range of genres. Apparently the festival beer garden sells more beer than any other event in western Canada.
September sees the return of Spruce Meadows a classic jumper and hunter show held in Alberta. The 360 acres complex is in the foothills of the Alberta Rocky Mountains.
Calgary International Film Festival
The Calgary International Film Festival is held over 10 days in late September and early October. It showcases over 200 local and international films in a wide range of genres, and includes various gala events, screenings, award ceremonies and special presentations.
Dark Sky Festival
Jasper National Park is a star gazers dream destination and the Dark Sky Festival is a dream event not to be missed.
Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival
At the start of November, Banff hosts an international film competition, with a focus especially on films about mountain culture. The top 60 films from a group of about 300 are shown during the festival and awards in various categories are presented. At the same time, the town hosts a book festival, again with a focus on mountain culture.
Celebrate Christmas at an annual lights festival, held at the Calgary Zoo. The festival runs for a month and features over a million Christmas lights, many configured into animal shapes.
New Years’ Eve Downtown in Edmonton
See in the New Year with Edmonton’s New Year’s Eve festival. The event features a family programme from 7 p.m. at the City Hall, live stage performances in Churchill Square from 10 p.m. onwards, free public skating and a fireworks show at midnight.