The period between Canada Day and Labour Day is basically festival season in Alberta. In the two months most likely to stay snow-free (fingers crossed), it seems almost every city, town and village puts on some kind of celebration.
Whether it’s carnival food or ethnic cuisine, here are some of the best summer food festivals in Alberta:
The Calgary Stampede
The Calgary Stampede is already here, running July 8-17 right on the heels of Canada Day. While still primarily a rodeo, there is more here to eat than just beef on a bun. Enjoy a wine garden and food market on the grounds, or try fine dining at Ranahans. The midway food has become an entity unto itself, with 34 new items for 2016, including a poutine corn dog and salted caramel deep fried coffee.
Sometimes you can tell what a festival is just by its name. Calgary’s Brewery and the Beast – Festival of Meat on August 21 is just that. This is a carnivore’s delight, with dozens of restaurants showcasing all kinds of meat and beer from Phillip’s Brewing Company. Get your tickets fast though, it sold out last year!
Carifest (and a few others)
Other festivals marching to a tropical beat in Calgary are Carifest in August, Afrikadey! August 10-13, and Reggaefest August 18-20. Edmonton also has its Cariwest Caribbean Arts Festival August 5-7. All the colour, music and food from the islands and the African continent will be present in both cities.
Taste of Edmonton
The biggest food festivals of the summer begin with Taste. Taste of Edmonton (TOE) runs July 21-31 in Churchill Square. It’s the 20th anniversary of TOC, and a new stage has been added that will showcase chef celebrities, authors, speakers, contests, showdowns, chefs’ demos and much more. Look for an expanded beverage garden and dozens of local restaurants offering samples. TOE also features food from local restaurants, and this year is home to the Canadian Food Championships (July 22-24), which is the culmination of a year long search for Canada’s best amateur and professional cooks.
Heritage Day (Calgary and Edmonton)
Heritage Day brings out many cultures in both cities. In Edmonton, the Servus Heritage Festival runs July 30-August 1, and lets you sample more than 500 culinary delicacies from over 60 pavilions representing 85 cultures from all over the world. Smaller events take place in Calgary on August 1 at Heritage Park, Olympic Plaza and Fort Calgary. We love to celebrate Canada’s cultural diversity with food from around the world!
Of course, there are many more festivals, farmers’ markets and events all through the province. Travel Alberta provides an update on almost everything going on. You may get to meet the producers, growers, farmers, ranchers, or chefs who are responsible for all this wonderful food. So get out there and taste what’s happening in Alberta, whether it’s in your hometown or somewhere else near or far. You’ll be amazed at what you find, and you’ll be glad you did.
Other festivals happening around Alberta this summer:
Taste of Calgary (TOC) August 11-14 in Eau Claire
Edmonton Latin Festival August 13-14
Edmonton K- Days July 22-31
Calgary’s Japanese Festival (Omatsuri) August 13
Calgary Turkish Festival July 29-31
Fiestaval July 22-24
Expo Latino August 5-7
Calgary Globalfest August 18-27