Spring and Summer Festivals bring liveliness to Edmonton
Spring and summer in Edmonton is a lively time for families. As Edmontonians break out the sunscreen, festivals of all kinds are in the works. There are dozens of opportunities to learn and play in a community setting, with chances to enjoy being outdoors to the full. Edification mingles with fun. There are flavours of the world and ideal shopping opportunities that should not be missed. Many of these events are free! There are multicultural events and those that focus on bringing a single culture to light, rounding out party-goers’ awareness of diversity and fascinating cultural traditions. The scope of engagement with the arts is impressive.
From July 8 to 17, the Edmonton International Street Performer’s festival will take place for the 32nd time, filling Sir Winston Churchill Square with laughter. A variety of performances will delight children and families. Crowds will say “wow” to circus acts, music, ballet, and cartooning. Kids will enjoy balloon animal displays and face painting.
From July 30 to August 1, the award-winning will be coming to William Hawrelak Park, on the shore of the North Saskatchewan River. The park is a favoured locale; this is a fine excuse to visit, partake, and connect with others in the community. The park will overflow with pavilions representing dozens of cultures. The event is described by organizers as a “showcase of Canada’s vibrant multicultural heritage”. There is an exhaustive list of things to do. A golf challenge featuring prizes to be won will be back this year. There is an emphasis on performance arts. Families can catch a show, and then take a snack break, or two, or three. There will be a vast array of culinary delights. The festival website’s gallery exhibits photos of dancers and musicians in the sun, gorgeous artwork, and tantalizing shish kebabs on the barbecue. Attendees can immerse themselves in other cultures by way of displays and stories. Kids can get their faces painted, visit a painting gallery, and try some art of their own. There are oodles of other activities for kids. Festivities will carry on into the evening. The event is free, though donations to the food bank are encouraged. This is a great volunteer opportunity; there is a draw for scholarships for volunteers enrolled in post-secondary institutions.
Tourists come from afar to participate in the Edmonton Pride Festival. The parade and celebration in Old Strathcona will launch the festival, taking place on June 4. Partakers don rainbow colours and join in the fun. Last year there was a record-breaking crowd of almost 50,000 people, according to the Edmonton Sun. Attendees can have the time of their lives while creating a safe space and celebrating pride. The Edmonton Pride Festival Society states that part of their mission is to “celebrate and bring together the LGBTQ+ community, their friends, families, and co-workers, supporters, the business community and the community at large in a spirit of camaraderie, honour, pride, and respect”. Cariwest brings a Caribbean essence to Edmonton. It runs from August 7 -9. The festival includes a parade and also a cultural fair in Churchill Square. Attendees taste Caribbean food, and enjoy Caribbean music and theatre. Kids will love the bright colours. For those who love the arts, Edmonton is the place to be this summer. The fringe festival brings a variety of shows to Old Strathcona. Performances will run from August 11 to 21. The fringe festival’s organizers have announced that there will be a whopping 1600 plus live theatre performances total! There are also outdoor performances and vendors. The main site is open until midnight, with shows running late, for summer evening fun. There is a “Kidsfringe” mini festival which includes performances, crafts, games, and story reading. There are activities for babies and toddlers as well. This year, Romeo and Juliet and Love’s Labour’s Lost will be the features at the Freewill Shakespeare Festival in Hawrelak Park. Past audiences have been impressed. The venue itself, an outdoor amphitheatre, is gorgeous. Engagement with the arts is not limited to performance art. The Works Art and Design Festival will showcase visual art, design, and entertainment. It takes place from June 23 – July 5 downtown. Musicians will perform on a street stage.
Folk music lovers can look forward to a folk music festival August 6 through 9 at various venues; talented musicians will be plentiful. For adults in need of summer chilling time, there will be beer garden space. Crafts and, of course, concessions, will be available.
For those who love to watch races, the Dragon Boat Festival runs from August 19 – 21, at Louise McKinney Riverfront Park. The festival is known to draw over 8,500 viewers and 2,000 paddlers. Again, there is a focus on culture, specifically “Asian culture”, The Edmonton Dragon Boat Festival Association’s goal is to “showcase multiculturalism”. Participation, like spectatorship, is encouraged. That’s a nice lineup! It will be cheering for Edmontonians to walk among crowds gathering and flocking to these events, their faces decorated with smiles and face paint, enjoying the awesomeness of Edmonton in the spring and summer.