By Isabelle Morin
Looking for the Calgary festivals? You’re on the right page!
With over 90 different festivals to get you excited, Calgary is one of the best places to visit in the country, not only for its colourful culture but also for its people and food. Whether it be in the cold winter or the warm summer days, Calgary always has a festival to offer.
So mark your calendars with each of these entries because we’re here to bring you the best Calgary festivals you can attend and celebrate with your friends and family!
1. Calgary Stampede
|BEST FOR||Western Culture|
|PRODUCTS||Rodeo, Agricultural Competition, Parade, Stage Shows and Concerts, Racing|
|ADDRESS||1410 Olympic Way SE Calgary, AB T2G 2W1|
|CONTACT DETAILS||Phone: (403) 261-0101|
|OPERATING HOURS||Every First Friday of July|
Calgary Stampede is not just one of the best Calgary festivals, but it is also the most significant town festival. Calgary’s nicknames, “Cowtown” and “Stampede City,” owe their origins to this festival.
The Stampede is a 10-day event filled with everything representing Western culture and is most famous for its televised rodeo competitions and chuckwagon racing. There are also other events such as agricultural competitions, concerts, exhibitions, and parades.
The whole city participates in this festival by redecorating buildings with cowboy-themed designs. Restaurants also join by adding pancakes and barbecues to their menu.
- 10-day festival
- Appreciation of Western culture
- City-wide festival
- Rodeo, parades, competitions, racing
Although the festival has sparked issues about animal abuse due to the rodeo, there is still much to see at the Calgary Stampede without seeing that particular event. Here are some insights from locals and outsiders attending the festival.
“Every year Calgary stampede has some new things and food. My mother in law loves turkey 🍗 here and buy 20 of them. Turkey 🦃 lovers. We come here to fun 🎢 and the food haha love to eat. Dog shows, kid zone, ride and game. Busy life but we still take time for families.”—April Olivia
“Calgary Stampede is just visit when in Calgary during the second and third week of July. Classic carnival games and fair rides are good, but some of the more unique aspects are concerts on the Coca Cola stage, the rodeo, chuckwagon races and Grandstand Show and the Indian Village. Often very crowded and an get hot easily.”—Trent Rollings
2. High Performance Rodeo
|BEST FOR||Arts and Theatre|
|PRODUCTS||Theatre Plays, Dance Shows, Music Concerts, Art Installations|
|ADDRESS||21, 225 8th Ave SE Calgary, AB T2G 0K8|
|CONTACT DETAILS||Phone: (403) 264-3224|
E-mail: [email protected]
|OPERATING HOURS||3 Weeks Every January|
In 1987, High Performance Rodeo was born as a simple and close-knitted forum among artists and writers. Now, it has grown to be one of the best Calgary festivals celebrated annually.
For three weeks, local artists are given a spotlight in performance and multidisciplinary arts. Artists from around North America and worldwide are also invited to stage and experiment with their art.
One Yellow Rabbit Performance Theatre organises the High Performance Rodeo to promote multicultural diversity through different art forms and live performances. Attend it and you’ll see some amazing shows!
- 3-week festival
- Spotlight for local and international artists
- Promotion of art and culture
If you love culture and the arts, then High Performance Rodeo would undoubtedly be the festival for you. Here are the reviews expressing how customers felt after attending one of the best Calgary festivals.
“HPRodeo has made my Jan!!! cheers to live theater, music, dance and lounge time with friends as the BEST f💜cking way to beat the winter blues!”—Sheri Marendiuk
“Wonderful interactive performance, truly believable, a privilege to see”—Heather Butler
3. Calgary International Beerfest
|PRODUCTS||Beer, Food, Beer-related Seminars, Awards|
|ADDRESS||BMO Centre, 20 Roundup Way SE, Calgary, AB T2G 2W1|
|CONTACT DETAILS||Phone: (403) 520-5433|
E-mail: [email protected]
|OPERATING HOURS||2 Days in May or Late April|
The Calgary International Beerfest is among the best Calgary festivals and one of the world’s greatest beer festivals to date.
With over 700 beer flavours from 200 breweries, you will surely be satisfied with this two-day event. They have individual tickets and group packages to encourage you to enjoy the event with loved ones.
There are also additional programs such as a Brew Master Seminar, Cooking with Beer Seminars, and the awarding event. Restaurants also have booths in the festival to cater to hungry attendees.
- 2-day event
- Wide selection of beers from different breweries
- Beer and food
- Seminars and awards show for best brews and breweries
The Calgary International Beerfest is always a great way to spend time with friends and discover the hottest brews and food. Here’s what beer lovers have to say about the international festival.
“Lots of vendors and everyone super friendly. Price for tokens add up with each costing a dollar and beer samples mostly two tokens. A great place to try new and local craft beer!!!”—Alison
“I really enjoyed tasting all the different beers being brewed but wished that there was a way to keep track of what you tasted and loved so you can purchase it in the future.”—Judy
4. Lilac Festival
|BEST FOR||Anything Under the Sun|
|PRODUCTS||Live Performances, Local Products|
|ADDRESS||4th St SW, Calgary AB|
|CONTACT DETAILS||Phone: (403) 453-7424|
|OPERATING HOURS||A Day in June|
The Lilac Festival spans 13 blocks of booths and blooming lilacs attended by almost 80,000 people annually. There are also six stages for local performing bands and dance groups.
This festival is for any age and any type of person because they have everything you need. There’s crafted furniture for adults, trendy apparel for teens, games and physical activities for kids, and refreshments for everyone.
Oh, and part of what puts Lilac Festival among the best Calgary festivals is their free admissions. Just make sure you bring enough pocket money to maximize your experience with the food and artisan booths!
- 1-day festival
- Live performances by local bands and groups
- Assortment of products and services
- Free admission
The Lilac Festival is always something you can look forward to after enduring yet another cold Calgary winter. And the only thing other attendees want is to have more days for the fest!
“Always enjoy getting out to Lilac Fest… especially to get some Oil Jefe and Milk Jar Candle Co… today was Great weather for it. My only complaint would Be that it should be spread over two days… it was hard to look at things Being that it was sooo crowded… so A little bit bummed I didnt get to check out each booth and find new things!”—Melissa Boone
“I have been to lilac festival in Calgary at least Ten times in last 50 years. I will recommend all my relatives and friend to visit. Have lots of fun and food.”—Surendra Patel
|BEST FOR||Science Exhibits|
|PRODUCTS||Science, Art, and Engineering Exhibits|
|ADDRESS||P.O. Box 31047, Bridgeland Calgary, AB T2E 9A3|
|CONTACT DETAILS||Phone: (587) 351-7787|
E-mail: [email protected]
Breakerhead is one of the best Calgary festivals in the autumn. Breakerhead Creative Society organises this festival to promote science, art, and engineering.
The organisation is charity-based and relies on its various volunteers and science experts for its exciting exhibits.
Their interactive exhibits and installations involve fire, light, music, and technology to keep children and adults curious for more.
- Science, art, and engineering exhibits
- Organised by a registered charity group
- Great for adults and children
The Breakerhead team is always experimenting to bring you the newest science trends. Read these reviews from their attendees to know more about their exhibits.
“Beakerhead brings an amazing collection of art, interactive installations, and other absurd creations you wouldn’t see in our city otherwise. I’ve been to a collecting of free, and some paid/ticketed events and they are worth every penny.”—Mike Cheong
“It was fantastic! The amount of work and talent that went into this event was admirable. The lineups were fast considering the amount of people that attended. I loved the location compared to last year. Really enjoyed seeing all the new displays. Keep up the great work! We drove from Edmonton just for the experience.”—Elaine Engerdahl
6. Fiesta Filipino YYC
|BEST FOR||Filipino Cultural Programs and Fiestas|
|PRODUCTS||Fiestas, Exhibits, and Performances|
|ADDRESS||Olympic Plaza, 228 8 Ave. SE, Calgary|
|CONTACT DETAILS||+1 587-834-3000|
|OPERATING HOURS||Wednesday 12–4pm|
Fiesta Filipino YYC is a non profit and community-based organization that aims to bring the culture and diversity of the Philippines to the Alberta community. They have a year-round program consisting of fiestas, exhibits, paintings, songs, sports and dances to enrich the Filipino culture.
They have over 200,000 members, with their community prospering even more as they collaborate with huge Filpino media channels like GMA. If you’re looking for a fun and cultural community, then Fiesta Filipino YYC will definitely show you the Filpino spirit!
- Fiestas – Their fiesta is a one of a kind festival filled with numerous performances, prepared with utmost excellence. They are partnered by numerous Filipino companies like GMA, San Miguel Corporation, Max’s, LBC, and many more.
- Non-profit, volunteer – The organization is non profit, so they assure you honesty in all the work they do which is all driven by their volunteerism to bring the Filipino culture in Canada
Here’s a review from one of Fiesta Filipino’s clients:
“Best cultural event in Calgary!”
7. Country Thunder Alberta
|ADDRESS||Prairie Winds Park 223 Castleridge Blvd NE Calgary, AB T3J3J8|
|OPERATING HOURS||Monday through Friday – 9am to 5pm Central Time|
Country Thunder Alberta holds festivals with a solid line up of different artists. They offer four types of tickets: General Admission, Reserved Seating, Platinum Experience, and Bud Light Lounge.
They are partnered with NE Hotel Association that offers complimentary shuttles to the festival during a customers stay. The list of their partner hotels are available here.
- Has a lost and found, information booth, medical services/first aid, ATM services, artist merchandise, food vendors, and retail vendors.
- Offers meet and greets and onstage seating
8. YYC Hot Chocolate Fest
|BEST FOR||Hot Chocolate Festival|
|PRODUCTS||Hot Chocolate Festival|
|ADDRESS||5759 80 Ave SE, Calgary, AB T2C 4S6, Canada|
|CONTACT DETAILS||(403) 243-2834 EXT. 1004|
|OPERATING HOURS||Contact for more information|
This coming February, YYC Hot Chocolate Fest will host the best hot chocolate blends in Calgary. Calgary Meals on Wheels, their beneficiary, will receive a portion of proceeds from each cup to be sold.
Calgary Meals on Wheels gives help to anyone who needs it by giving comfort of healthy and nutritious meals.
- Supports local businesses
- Has a beneficiary
- Wide variety of brands
|BEST FOR||Fireworks Festival|
|PRODUCTS||Annual Cultural Celebration|
|ADDRESS||#285, 2323 – 32 Avenue NE Calgary, AB, T2E 6Z3|
|CONTACT DETAILS||Phone: 403.569.9679|
|OPERATING HOURS||Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday: 10:00am – 3:00pm|
Since 2003, Global Fest has been showcasing Calgary’s diverse culture and artistic excellence. They are a non-profit society committed to producing world-class and multi-faceted festival to further develop the image of their province.
Due to the global pandemic, the fireworks festival in Elliston Park has been postponed but GlobalFest continues its celebration of Calgary’s culture on its YouTube channel with the OneWorld Showcase, Canadian Cultural Mosaic, the OneWorld Spotlight series, and the annual Human Rights Forum; with more to follow soon.
- The festival features food, international fireworks and live performance over five nights
- Annual Human Rights Forum, presented by UNAC Calgary, encourages systemic change across the Canadian community in a positive and safe
- GlobalFest Charity Golf Classic raises funds for the Individuals and Families in Need Program and youth outreach work with the Urban Arts Project
We hope we reignited your love for the city with the best Calgary festivals! And if you’re a tourist who just got more excited by the thought of visiting, then be sure to book your tickets and save the dates to your calendar!
But if you can’t wait for these festivals and you just want to enjoy Calgary in its beauty and glory already, we’ve got you covered! Visit our list of the best things to do in Calgary and plan your nice day off or weekend with friends and family.