What are Some of the Top Summer Festivals in Edmonton?

Posted by on Friday, May 3rd, 2019 at 10:28am.

The Best Summer Festivals in Edmonton

Events happen year-round in Edmonton, but the summer months are a special time for great festivals. Summer features countless awesome festivals for families, adults and everybody to enjoy. If you're looking for something fun to kick off the summer, here are a number of great options.

A Taste of Edmonton

Edmonton is known for its diverse cuisine. But this summer, you can try a little bit of everything in A Taste of Edmonton. At the time of this writing, there are over twenty restaurants taking place in A Taste of Edmonton. The restaurants represent the global cuisine that Edmonton is famous for.

There will be authentic global cuisine, as well as some interesting fusion dishes, as well. Check out Naan-O-Licious’s cinnamon naan for a sweeter variation on the famous Indian bread. That would make a nice, simple breakfast. Or pair it up with some banana bread pudding with caramel sauce, whipped cream, and bruleed banana from Zinc in order to make an awesome dessert.

The international food in itself is diverse with Jamaican beef patties, green onion cake, and various dishes that are fusion inspired. Never look at a simple hamburger again when trying the Wasabi beef on a bun from Hawkeyes Too.


Animethon is a festival in Edmonton that attracts the attention of people from all over the world. It is three days dedicated to lovers of Japanese animation, or anime for short. Originally, Animethon was just a one day event when it started in 1994.

It was a day for people to watch a view movies and television shows inside of a classroom. Today, it is a massive festival where anime fans watch movies, watch television shows, participate in contests, cosplay, and purchase merchandise.


This festival is one of the funniest of the month and will be held for the 19th year. It will be hosted by the Rapid Fire Theatre, which hosts all types of improvisors across the country. For ten days, you can enjoy all types of comedy on stage, workshops, guests and more. The high-energy performances are perfect for those looking to have plenty of fun and enjoy some great laughs.

The Improvaganza is well known for its world-class comedy with international comedians visiting from as far as Japan, Germany, and Columbia, but also supports the local improvisors from within Canada. The Improvaganza also features radio shows, workshops with amazing artists, Theatresports matches, and many other social events as well. Come enjoy ten days of fun and laughter while improving your skills as an improvisor!

Edmonton Craft Beer Festival

The Edmonton Craft Beer Festival is set for this summer for all beer lovers in Edmonton. This festival will allow beer lovers to enjoy celebrating the culture of beer in Alberta, with a strong emphasis on bringing the beer community together. Brewery representatives, chefs, brew masters, restaurant owners and beer drinkers will all be a part of the event.

Edmonton International Film Festival

The annual Edmonton International Film Festival is coming up this summer for anyone interested in viewing some films from within the community. If you have a desire to go, you can get a discount by buying your ticket early.

Every single year there is a competition that some people love and some people hate. It is a competition where you make a movie in 24 hours. This is a competition that has been part of the festival for 10 years! Even if you don't make movies, you'll enjoy seeing what people were able to create in just a 24 hour window.

This film festival is an experience you do not want to miss if you consider yourself to be a film fanatic.

NUOVA's Vocal Arts Festival

As a non-profit organization, Opera NUOVA open its doors in 1998. It began as an opera and piano training facility for Canada. The goal of NUOVA was to help individuals cross over from learning to starting a career. In doing so, NUOVA has become one of the most known facilities in the country.

During NUOVA’s decade-plus years of operation, they have developed into a two-tiered organization. Training is still offered to growing artist, but they also host the Vocal Arts Festival. This festival happens to be the biggest Opera and Vocal Festival in Canada.

The NUOVA Vocal Arts Festival is a much anticipated event. You won’t want to miss out on the Dinner Cabaret Series that NUOVA offers. Here you will be presented with a European style four course meal while enjoying some of Canada’s best musical offerings, including jazz, spiritual, music theatre, folk and classical.

Edmonton Heritage Festival

Every year for more than 40 years, the Edmonton Heritage Festival has come to town. It is a three day event that showcases the very vibrant multicultural heritage that can only be found in Canada. There will be more than 85 cultures from around the world represented at this year’s festival.

When you come to the festival you are sure to have a great time. You will be able to sample culinary treats from all over the world. You will also get to shop, see great performances and meet other great people from the Canada community. There will be about 69 pavilions displaying stories, paraphernalia and photos of different cultures and ethnic backgrounds that reside right in Edmonton.

The best part about all of this is it is absolutely free to attend. All they ask is you make a donation to the Edmonton Food Banks. Please know during the festival there will be no parking allowed in the Hawrelak park. There will also be no dogs allowed since it is a city park.

Edmonton K-Days Festival

Most festivals have a history dating back to maybe the 1940s or 1950s at the earliest. The K-Days Festival, however, has a history going all the way back to 1879, and was actually known as the Edmonton Exhibition from its inception until around the 1960s, when it was renamed to Klondike Days. As with many older festivals, the name changed several times again after the 1960s, and the festival was renamed to Capital EX in 2006 and renamed once again to K-Days in 2012. This time the final name was chosen by festival-goers themselves by vote.

The festival itself marks the midway point in the year, so the date changes from year to year and gives visitors an ideal way to celebrate our Albertan summer, as well as a chance to look forward to yet another colourful Fall in our beautiful city and province.

K-Days is a major event on the Edmonton social calendar because, over the 10-days of the festival, more than 800,000 visitors descend on the city to enjoy everything the event itself has to offer. The festival features tons of games, rides, concerts, family activities and—of course—lots of food.

Whether you're currently living in Edmonton or just intending on visiting the city with a view to relocating here we would strongly recommend that you time your visit to coincide with K-Days—you won't be sorry you did.

Edmonton International Jazz Festival

The Edmonton International Jazz Festival is right around the corner. It will take place over the course of ten days this summer and will be held at various locations throughout the city. Here's what you can expect at the festival.

There are many different venues for the Jazz Festival including:

  • Winspear Centre
  • Trio Theatre
  • Starlite Room
  • Varscona Theatre
  • Yardbird Suite
  • Bellamy’s Lounge
  • Capital Plaza, Legislature Grounds
  • Old Strathcona Performing Arts Centre
  • Blue Chair Café
  • Café Blackbird
  • Jazzworks Masterclass Workshops

Edmonton International Street Performers Festival

As one of the top choices for summer fun, the Edmonton International Street Performers Festival is coming in July in the Sir Winston Churchill Square in Edmonton. Enjoy plenty of jugglers, musicians, unicyclists, acrobats and so much more!

The festival will feature over 1,500 outdoor performances by top street artists from all over the world. Whether you are an adult that still enjoys all kinds of fun or you have kids this is a great event for you. It's perfect for all and the many activities and workshops will provide plenty to enjoy. There will be face painters throughout the streets, along with plenty of other activities.

You can enjoy late night performances, performances during the day and so much more.

Edmonton Rock Music Festival

If you love rock and roll, the Edmonton Rock Music Festival is perfect for you. The line-up includes legendary entertainment. You will find plenty of fun throughout the festival and create memories you won't soon forget. 

Over the past 10 years, the Edmonton Rock Music Festival has gone from a small fundraiser for friend to a huge, must attend event in the area. It has grown into an event with merchandise tents, food vendors, beer gardens and so much more.

Corn Fest

Starting at the end of summer, Corn Fest is the perfect family-friendly outing to celebrate the turning of a new season. This is the perfect family event for those looking for something a bit different. With plenty of activities, corn eating contests, vegetable art, corn jokes and so much more, this is a fun time for everybody.

The festival provides a great opportunity to get the entire family together for some fun. With the Mindbender Kids Corn Mazes, corn doll craft area and folk music, there's something for everybody. Families can enjoy a few special events at the Prairie Garden including the Keith Remple Band and the Kompany Family Theatre.

This event is not only fun for the entire family, but also educational. With all the activities helping those in Sturgeon County learn about the area agriculture, families will have fun as they learn. Whether you come for the entire day or for a specific event, everybody is sure to have a great time.

Edmonton Dragon Boat Festival

EDBFA (Edmonton Dragon Boat Festival Association) is the host of a unique annual festival that occurs during the third week of August every year. The beauty of the Dragon Boat Festival is that it happens every single year around the same time regardless of what the weather is like. Whether it is raining or shining outside, this is festival you can count on.

The race course for the dragon boats is roughly 400 metres long. The dragon boat races last anywhere from two to four minutes. Despite being such quick races they are also one of the most intense races you will ever watch. This festival is a three day event that features a number of placement races, challenge races, and medal races.

This is a festival that happens in honour of the traditional dragon boat races that were a regular event in China more than 2,000 years ago. At the time, these boats were decorated with the head of a dragon on the front of them and a tail of the dragon on the back. 

This is a festival that is very rich in culture. The festival opens with a very ceremonial event. The ceremony showcases a Lion Dance with Taiko Drums being played. This opening ceremony is believed to bring luck and good fortunate to everyone listening.

Blueberry Bluegrass & Country Music Festival

The Blueberry Bluegrass and Country Music Festival is an annual event that is held in Heritage Park. This event is filled with activities for all age groups, and has enough diversity to cater to everyone’s interest. Events include live music,  workshops, “slow-pitch jam”, food booths, craft booths, Kids Corner, and event memorabilia. There are loads of activities to get involved in, and music will continue each night until after 11:00 pm.

Tons of vendors will be present with a variety of food and drink offerings. Camping is available throughout the weekend, and you will want to bring your lawn chairs along. There is a Sunday morning service available, and plenty of parking to accommodate a large crowd.

The Blueberry Bluegrass and Country Festival will hold an open stage session on Saturday. Sign ups will start at 9am behind the main stage. Performances will then start at 10am, and will take place according to sign up. Each performance will be allowed to share 2 songs, as open stage will only be held for one hour.

If you love music, this event will provide just what you’re after this summer.

CariWest Caribbean Arts Festival

The CariWest Caribbean Arts Festival last for three days, and is filled with many fun and exciting activities. All themed around the Caribbean, you will be able to indulge in some delectable Caribbean food, experience stunning art and jam to some Caribbean toons.

The festival will take place in August in the heart of Edmonton. This culture-filled event will make you feel like you just stepped into the Caribbean. You will see vibrant costumes that are true to the Caribbean culture.

The street parade is a highly anticipated event during the festival. You will experience Caribbean music at its best, and cunning street performances. Get involved in the costume contest at the Shaw Conference Centre, and anticipate what the judges have to say about the colourful creations.

Edmonton Blues Festival

If you love summer festivals then you probably can’t wait for the Edmonton Blues Festival coming up this August. It’s western Canada’s premier blues event that takes place in Edmonton’s scenic River Valley in Hawrelak Park at the Heritage Amphitheatre.

If you want to see performances by big names in Blues including Mr. Sipp, The West Coast Blues All Stars featuring Junior Watson and Bob Corritore, Sugaray Rayford Big Band and Janiva Magness, don’t miss the festival this August right in Edmonton.

Edmonton Folk Fest

From the humble beginnings of only two thousand volunteers in 1980, the Edmonton Folk Music Festival has grown to over two thousand volunteers strong who bring people together for one purpose-music. This year, the Edmonton Folk Music Festival tickets will be available to the public in June.

The Edmonton Folk Music Festival will be held at the beginning of August for all folk fanatics. You can visit and like their Facebook page to stay in the loop. They always turn to their Facebook page first to announce their official line-up once it has been decided.

If you like music and food, this is an event you are going to enjoy.

Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival

Edmonton is a cultured area thanks to the Fringe Theatre Festival. This is the perfect place for theatre artist to advance their skills while preforming for their community. Thanks to the many opportunities that are presented, local, international and national presentations take place.

Suitable for all age groups, and caters to all types of lifestyles, the Fringe Theatre Festival ensures an atmosphere that thrives on creativity.

The Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival has celebrated more than 35 years and happens to be one of the longest running festivals in North America. Located in the Old Strathcona district within Edmonton, there will be over 1,600 acts from a stunning 1,200 local, national and international performers. These acts will take place in both indoor and outdoor locations.

There will be a variety of offerings to cater to all interests. Typically, those attending reach around 650,000 individuals, and the festival takes place over an eleven day span in August. A variety of vendors will be present, as well. Which will offer a number of items including souvenirs, food, and artistic items.

Freewill Shakespeare Festival

Having successfully completed more than 30 seasons, with no plans to stop, the Freewill Shakespeare Festival is going strong. Once previously entirely indoors, they are moving the festival outside to present the audience with Coriolanus and As You Like It. Presented live up on stage at the Heritage Amphitheater in Hawrelak Park.

Come enjoy the shows that everyone is always talking about, and take in the spectacular work of Shakespeare when you visit. Whether or not you are a fan of Shakespeare, chances are pretty good you would have a good time and enjoy this festival.

The Sourdough Raft Race River Fest

The annual Sourdough Raft Race River Fest is upon us all and if you’re curious about what this fun and exciting festival has in store then you should learn more. You’re invited to participate or come out and enjoy the day of fun and sun.

You build your own raft to participate in the fun, while being able to actually use it to sail down the river in with your team. When you sign up to build a raft and compete in the festival, you can win money that can be donated to your charity of choice, and other prizes that are being handed out to those that make it in first, second and third places.

There is a Toonie pancake breakfast that is served in the morning before the race is set to begin in the morning.

The Turkish Festival

Another free festival happening at Dr. Wilbert McIntyre Park, this festival will feature music, food, dancing and Turkish art. This is a great choice for the entire family with performances throughout the weekend, Turkish art and crafts for sale, plenty of gourmet food, face painting, games for kits and so much more.

Find out more here, http://www.edmontonturkishfestival.com/.

The Works Art and Design Festival

The Works of Art and Design Festival is so vast you’ll need all 13 days to take in everything it has to offer. Admission is free so you can plan a trip every day and not feel guilty enjoying it at your leisure. Roam around Edmonton’s Arts District at your own pace or join a walking or bike tour to catch the highlights with other festival-goers.

What would an Art Festival be without amazing art to view? At The Works you’ll find over 1000 pieces of artwork created by over 700 artists, each one sure to spark an emotion or thought different from the previous. Exhibits include interactive art, photography, paintings, digital artwork, installations, and even family art programs. Exhibit sites are set up all over the Edmonton Downtown Arts District as well as around town.

The International Athletics Festival

Take in the best athletes from around the world as they compete in a number of different events. From track and field events to the Blue Mile Road Race, you can enjoy and participate in all types of events. This festival will happen at the University of Alberta and admission is free for most events.

For a full list of festival events, visit the International Athletics Festival website.

Whether you like sports, culture, music, food, cartoons or a combination of them all – you are sure to find a festival happening in Edmonton that you can enjoy by yourself or with your family.

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