7 things to do in Edmonton this summer

by | May 15, 2023 | Arts & Life

Edmonton has the nickname “The Festival City” as there is a festival going on almost every day in the summer. More than 50 festivals are held annually, so there’s something for every Edmontonian. The city hosts entertaining music festivals, tasty food festivals, and celebrates cultures from around the world. There are also unique festivals that take over the streets for art and comedy. With so many exciting festivals lined up, Edmonton is preparing for a fun-filled summer. 

1. UFest-Edmonton Ukrainian Festival (May 26 – 27)

Borden Park will be host to the largest Ukrainian Festival in Western Canada. Ukrainian dance groups, choir groups and live musical performances from bands, soloists and duets will grace the stage and entertain. Festivalgoers can indulge in traditional food and drinks or workshops like “Reverse Glass Painting,” where you can learn traditional techniques to create Ukrainian art. A party called “UFest After Dark” with live performances from local bands will have people dance the night away.

2. Downtown Spark (May 25 – June 4)

A blue inflatable monster sits above a white building. The monster has yellow eyes and green horns.
Photo via Downtown Spark

Downtown Spark returns with larger-than-life art installations taking over six locations throughout Edmonton. Some of the festival showcases include sculptures from a Sydney-based art practice in Churchill Square and spectacular inflatable installations created by a UK-based design firm on display throughout downtown. There are also “designs for experience” on display in Alex Decoteau Park that were created by a local art and design agency. This festival features dance parties, food trucks, guided scooter tours, street concerts and beer.

3. Alberta Circus Arts Festival (June 22)

The contemporary circus North X Northwest Cabaret will be in Edmonton for one night only. The circus will be hosted at the Firefly Theatre and Circus by the theatre’s co-founder John Ullyatt. Edmontonians will be delighted with an evening of impressive aerial and acrobatic performances. This performance will showcase talent from all across Canada including a few local performers. Make sure you tune in on the 22nd, as the festival moves on to other cities with different shows every night after.

4. Edmonton International Street Performers Festival (July 6 – 17)

A woman in a yellow wig and colourful skirt blows a giant bubble. The bubble covers three people.
Photo via Instagram @edmontonstreetfest

In July, Churchill Square will be transformed into a circus. Local, national, and international street performers will bring Edmontonians laughs, food and fun. Entertainment will reach new heights with performers walking on stilts and balancing acts. There will be live musical performances, art installations, food and craft vendors and “busker” workshops to help people unleash their inner-circus performing skills. Crowds can gather for “circle shows” to see many acts including jugglers, acrobats twirling with hula hoops and more.

5. Taste of Edmonton (July 20 – 30)

More than 50 locally owned restaurants and food trucks will take over Churchill Square for Taste of Edmonton, Western Canada’s largest food festival. There are a variety of dishes to satisfy your sweet and savoury cravings, making it a staple to showcase Edmonton’s food and culture. The festival also showcases art, music and heritage with musical performances from Canadian talents. This year’s festival will have guided food walk tours, bike tours and pianists will duel every night.

6. K-Days (July 21 – 31)

K-Days has a long history in Edmonton. People gather together to celebrate summer at the Edmonton EXPO Centre & Exhibition Grounds. Expect to see rides and games like the Century Wheel, strongman competitions and the famous Superdogs. For the shoppers, try the Indigenous Hall or the Maker Faire. Dare to try new foods and celebrate the end of every night with fireworks. 

7. Edmonton Folk Music Festival (August 10 – 13)

Four people dance on the top of Gallagher Hill. There are tents and crowds of people in the background and the sun is setting.
Photo via Travel Alberta

Gallagher Hill has been home to this festival every August since it began over four decades ago. It is one of the world’s leading folk music festivals and features musical performances from the top performers in Edmonton, Canada and around the world. This festival has four days of music, food vendors making a variety of international dishes and a beer garden. Gallagher Hill also has a nice view of the city skyline for people watching bands performing on the main stage. 

Cover photo via KDays

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