7 Must-Attend Events and Festivals in Calgary: Celebrating Culture, Art, and Fun (2023)
Calgary is home to a rich and diverse cultural scene. Throughout the year this Alberta city offers plenty of exciting events and festivals throughout the year. From music festivals, cultural celebrations, sports competitions, and food events, there’s something always going on within the vibrant and dynamic city of Calgary. Attending the events and festivals in Calgary is a great way to learn about the city’s unique blend of culture, history, and modernity. These public gatherings offer a chance to explore the local arts scene, indulge in delicious cuisine, and witness thrilling performances and competitions. No matter if you are a tourist or a local, there’s no shortage of celebrations in Calgary, and there’s something going around every month.
Throughout the year, the city plays host to a range of events and festivals. Not only its tourist attractions and outdoor beauty but even the festivals attract thousands of people from around the world. Some of these events here are so huge that they have become world-renowned. Whether you’re interested in music, food, sports, or culture, Calgary has something to offer everyone.
7 Must-Attend Events and Festivals in Calgary: Celebrating Culture, Art, and Fun
So get ready to mark your calendars as we unfold the best events and festivals that Calgary has to offer.
1. Chinook Blast
Though a weird name for starters but Chinook Blast is a vibrant winter festival that you can attend in Calgary. This celebration of art, culture, and community displays the best of the diverse and thriving creative scene of Calgary. The event is all about multiple engaging activities, including live performances, art installations, culinary experiences, and outdoor activities.
All of these are designed to engage and delight audiences of all ages. Attending Chinook Blast is ideal for experiencing the magic of Calgary winter while celebrating its unique cultural identity. The festival is a must-visit event for anyone who wants to discover the vibrant and creative spirit of Calgary.
Glowfest is an exciting winter festival in Calgary, and you cannot miss it if you are seeking the best. The festival is all about the stunning displays of light installations. The interactive exhibits and illuminated art installations throughout its celebration are the biggest draws. In addition, visitors can enjoy also enjoy recreational activities like ice skating, attend live performances or enjoy food and beverage vendors. The festival creates a magical atmosphere throughout the city as visitors explore the different installations while enjoying the winter wonderland vibe. Its spectacular light displays and fun-filled atmosphere makes Glowfest the best festival to attend in Calgary.
3. Calgary Stampede
If you have to choose the most iconic and best event in Calgary, then look no further than the Calgary Stampede. This popular event attracts visitors from all over the world, boasting the most popular time in the city. The event has been operating for over a century now since 1912. This 10-day festival celebrates Western heritage, culture, and tradition. It features rodeo competitions, live music performances, parades, and a range of different Western-themed events. Stampede transforms Calgary into a cowboy-themed spectacle where everyone is dressing up, happy, and simply enjoying the celebrations. No matter if you are a local or a tourist in Calgary, Stampede is a must-visit event for anyone looking for a unique opportunity to experience the city’s western heritage and culture in a fun and exciting way.
4. Lilac Festival
The Lilac Festival is one of the most beloved annual events in Calgary. Every year, it attracts a few lakh visitors from Alberta, Canada, and different sections of North America. The festival takes place in the vibrant community of Mission, featuring more than 500 vendors. The vendors gather here to showcase and sell their arts, crafts, and food. As the streets of Calgary come alive with live music, dance performances, and interactive activities, the vibes get extremely fun. The main highlight of the Lilac Festival is, of course, the stunning display of lilacs, which adorn the streets in full bloom. The event also includes a parade that adds more life and festivity to the atmosphere. This celebration of community and culture, and it’s a must-attend event for anyone visiting or living in Calgary.
5. BIG Winter Classic
The BIG Winter Classic is an annual festival that adorns the winter months of Calgary. This four-day event is all about celebrating Calgary’s music, art, and culture with a diverse range of performances and activities. BIG Winter Classic has a lineup of local and national musicians, artists, comedians, and DJs. Event attendees and visitors can enjoy a variety of outdoor and indoor events as well. Some of the offerings of the function include ice skating, curling, craft beer tastings, and a market showcasing local artisans. BIG Winter Classic has a very laid-back and welcoming atmosphere and thus is quite popular amongst Calgarians and visitors alike.
GlobalFest is one of Calgary’s most popular annual festivals. The festival organizes every year in the month of August, attracting thousands of people each year. It is all about celebrating the cultural diversity within the city. The festival features music, dance, food, and fireworks from around the world. Every single night of the event features a different country allowing attendees to experience a wide range of cultural traditions and customs. Besides cultural performances, GlobalFest also features a variety of food vendors and an international marketplace. The festival also hosts a stunning fireworks show illuminating the night sky. GlobalFest organizes with a mission to promote cultural understanding and awareness. No matter what your interests are, it is a must-see event whenever you are in Calgary.
7. Calgary International Beerfest
Calgary International Beerfest is Calgary’s one of the most anticipated event. This social gathering invites beer enthusiasts from all over the world. The B0eerfest organizes annually in Calgary, bringing together more than 200 breweries (local and visiting) and 500 different types of beer. Visitors to the event can enjoy different beers, including local craft brews and international favorites. Whether you are a casual drinker or a seasoned beer connoisseur, you will have the best time of your life at the Calgary International Beerfest. Besides beer tasting, visitors can also enjoy live music and delicious food. The festival also boasts informative seminars and workshops about beer brewing and tasting. It offers an excellent opportunity to explore the world of beer and enjoy a day with your knowns.
8. Pet-A-Palooza – Day Of The Dog
Pet-A-Palooza – Day Of The Dog is a unique but highly anticipated annual event in Calgary. This public event is all about celebrating Dogs, a man’s best friend. The event organizes every year during the summer month bringing together dogs, dog owners, and other pet lovers. This event is a great opportunity for enthusiasts to come together while they enjoy a day filled with fun activities, entertainment, and shopping. Pet-A-Palooza happens to organize a wide range of activities for dogs. The activities include an off-leash dog park, a doggy water park, a puppy stampede, and even a doggy play zone. The event is also a great place to find pet-related products and services. The variety of vendors showcasing their latest products and services is a treat to experience.
9. Calgary Folk Fest
Calgary Folk Fest is an annual music festival celebrating the best in folk, roots, and world music. This iconic event organizes every year in the month of July in Prince’s Island Park. Its diverse lineup, beautiful outdoor setting, and community attract music lovers from around the world. The festival features a mix of established and emerging artists. It gathers different performers performing traditional folk, blues, experimental, and contemporary sounds. Besides music, Calgary Folk Fest also offers food, crafts, and workshops. The festival has a very laid-back vibe and brings together world-class talent. It is an excellent way to experience the vibrant cultural scene of Calgary.
10. Taste of Calgary
For food lovers, Taste of Calgary is one of the most popular events to attend in Calgary. The festival offers a unique culinary experience and has a lot to explore. It brings together the best of the culinary scenes of Calgary, offering a wide variety of local and international cuisines. Besides food, it also brings refreshing beverages and live entertainment alive. At Taste of Calgary, attendees can explore the diverse culinary landscape and sample a range of dishes from Calgary. The event connects with local chefs and restaurateurs as well. Its’ friendly and vibrant atmosphere excites anyone looking to discover the food culture of Calgary. Whether you’re a seasoned foodie or a casual food lover, Taste of Calgary is a fantastic event to indulge in.
11. Circle Carnival
Circle Carnival is a popular music festival held in Calgary. This exciting event draws in thousands of music lovers from all over Canada. It features a diverse lineup of local and international artists of different genres, including electronic, house, techno, and hip-hop. Circle Carnival takes place over two days. It features multiple stages for performances, interactive art installations, and food vendors. The event is popular for its high-energy performances and immersive experience. It is a favorite among festival-goers. The festival provides a platform for up-and-coming artists and is a celebration of Calgary’s vibrant music scene. With its unique blend of music, art, and culture, Circle Carnival is a must-attend event for anyone visiting or living in Calgary.
12. YYC Hot Chocolate Fest by Calgary Meals on Wheels
YYC Hot Chocolate Fest is an annual event organized by Calgary Meals on Wheels. This non-profit organization provides nutritious meals to individuals who cannot prepare their own meals. The festival aims to raise funds and awareness for the organization’s programs and services. Its month-long festivities involve participating cafes, restaurants, and chocolatiers across the city create. The unique and delicious hot chocolate drinks complete the title of “Best Hot Chocolate” in various categories. YYC Hot Chocolate Fest offers a great opportunity for Calgarians to indulge in their love for hot chocolate. And while supporting a worthy cause, it comes out as one of the most anticipated public events. Organizing since 2012, it attracts both locals and tourists alike.