11 Festivals to Check Out This Summer

These are just some of the seasonal events you and your family can enjoy throughout Calgary and Airdrie in the coming months.

One of the great things about living in Calgary or Airdrie is the fact that, no matter what time of year it is, there’s bound to be a cool festival or event taking place nearby. That being said, the range and number of festival offerings tend to multiply significantly once the warmer weather sets in. 

From under-the-radar community events and special cultural gatherings to epic celebrations of food, art and music, the options seem endless in the summertime. To help narrow things down, we shine the spotlight on 11 local festivals we think are well worth checking out this summer. 

Lilac Festival

Where: 4th Street SW, Calgary
When: June 4, 2023

Every year, usually on the first Sunday of June, thousands of people make their way to Calgary’s Mission district to take in the very popular Lilac Festival. Considered to be the city’s largest street festival, this free event occupies much of 4th Street SW and has now expanded to parts of 17 Avenue SW, too. Offering an array of live music and dance performances (70 performances on six stages, to be exact), as well as artisan vendors, food trucks and play areas for kids, the Lilac Festival is a cheerful way to say goodbye to chilly weather and usher in the start of the summer festival season.

Better Together Airdrie Pride Festival

Where: Nose Creek Park, Airdrie
When: June 17

June is Pride Month in Airdrie, and the Airdrie Pride Society is once again hosting a number of events to salute and support the city’s 2SLGBTQ+ community. Among the main highlights is the third annual Better Together Airdrie Pride Festival. Taking place on June 17, this festival kicks off with a Solidarity Walk that starts at city hall and ends at Nose Creek Park, where festival-goers can then take in a full afternoon of live entertainment, food trucks, vendor booths and more. Head out to the Better Together Airdrie Festival to celebrate 2SLGBTQ+ pride in Airdrie and beyond.

Sled Island Music & Arts Festival

Where: Various locations throughout Calgary
When: June 21 to 25, 2023

Launched in 2007, Sled Island brings an energetic and wide-ranging lineup of more than 200 artists performing or presenting their work at venues throughout Calgary. Featuring jazz ensembles, hip-hop artists, indie bands, stand-up comedians, film screenings, visual art showings and more, this festival is wildly eclectic — and a perfect way to ring in the start of summer.


Where: Calgary Olympic Plaza
When: July 21 to 23, 2023

Hosted by the Calgary Multicultural Arts Society, this family-friendly event celebrates Latin American culture over a fun-filled weekend of song, dance and food at Calgary Olympic Plaza. Every year, Fiestaval features a packed roster of Latin American dancers, musicians and singers, as well as an artisan market, food vendors, beer gardens and a play area for kids. The festival is free to attend and is a wonderful way to spend a day (or three!) in the summer sun.

Calgary Folk Music Festival

Where: Prince’s Island Park, Calgary
When: July 27 to 30, 2023

Returning for its 44th year this July, Calgary Folk Fest is one of the city’s best-loved events for music lovers. Held over four days in Prince’s Island Park, Folk Fest is known and celebrated for bringing a wide array of musical performers together — from local acts, to national treasures, to international superstars. This year’s lineup is especially juicy, with headliners that include Emmylou Harris, Tanya Tucker, Jeff Tweedy and Bahamas. Of course, there’s much more than great music to enjoy at Folk Fest, such as food trucks, an arts market, beer gardens and a truly happy atmosphere.

Airdrie RibFest

Where: Ron Ebbesen Arena parking lot, Airdrie
When: August 4 to 7, 2023

When it comes to summer dining, there’s nothing quite like the tastes and smells of barbecue — and Airdrie RibFest is a true summertime BBQ bonanza! Featuring live music, games, beer gardens and a seemingly endless selection of mouth-watering ribs (as well as other grilled meats), this family-friendly event is a delicious way to spend  a sunny afternoon or warm evening during the Heritage Day long weekend.  

Calgary Dragon Boat Race & Festival

Where: North Glenmore Park, Calgary
When: August 11 to 13

Every August, more than 4,000 spectators descend on North Glenmore Park to cheer on teams of paddlers as they compete in the ancient Chinese sport of dragon boat racing. Taking place over three action-packed days, the Calgary Dragon Boat Race & Festival is the city’s premier water-sports competition. Not only are the races super fun to watch, the festival also offers up plenty of other entertainment too, including cultural performances, live music, food trucks and a play area for kids.


Where: Shaw Millennium Park
When: August 18 to 20, 2023

A vibrant celebration of Caribbean arts and culture, this annual event has it all: steel drum and reggae performances, colourful costumes, traditional dances, and a lively Saturday morning parade that weaves its way through much of downtown Calgary and culminates at Shaw Millennium Park, where more live entertainment, an artisan market and a variety of food vendors await. Free to attend, Carifest has grown into one of Calgary’s largest and most popular festivals since it started back in the early 1980s. 


Where: Elliston Park, Calgary
When: August 17 to 26

This huge annual event celebrates Calgary’s multicultural communities with cultural exhibits, live music, international cuisine and, last but not least, jaw-dropping fireworks displays by “pyromusical” artists from around the world. Launched in 2003, GlobalFest actually comprises two festivals: the OneWorld Festival, which showcases more than 60 cultures, and the International Fireworks Festival, which, this year, will bring explosive shows (choreographed to music) from Austria, Italy, Portugal and Spain. The final night of GlobalFest will feature an unforgettable, Canadian-produced finale.

Calgary Pride Festival

Where: Prince’s Island Park
When: September 2 to 3, 2023

While most Canadian cities honour Pride in June, Calgary does things a little differently. Calgary Pride Week runs from August 25 to September 4 and features a variety of events in support of the 2SLGBTQ+ community throughout the city and beyond. In addition to elaborate parties, informative panel discussions, incredible drag shows and the always-lively Calgary Pride Parade, Calgary Pride Week features a two-day Pride Festival at Prince’s Island Park. Head to the park that weekend to enjoy live performances, food truck vendors, a beer garden and plenty of kid-friendly activities.


Where: Downtown Airdrie
When: September 9, 2023

From local performers and local artists to locally made food and drink, AirdrieFEST showcases the people, products and organizations that make Airdrie such a great place to live. Held every year in early September, this one-day downtown street festival features an artisan market, two performance stages and more than 150 vendor booths to visit and enjoy. It’s a free, family-friendly event where people of all ages can discover and celebrate all that Airdrie has to offer.