Best Edmonton Festivals

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Best Edmonton Festivals

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Also known as Festival City, Edmonton hosts over 50 annual festivals. Which for a city with only 1.1 million people and six months of winter, that’s quite something. From family friendly puppet shows, to wine and beer tastings, there is something for everyone in Edmonton.

And in no particular order, these are the best Edmonton festivals:

Edmonton International BeerFest

Since March 2007 debut, this annual two day festival has won multiple awards. Come and learn all about beer and its history, enjoy live entertainment, indulge in local dishes, participate in workshops, and most of all, taste over 300 different beers. The event takes place at Edmonton Convention Centre in downtown Edmonton during early spring, usually in March. About 25, 000 local and international participants show up and with numerous fun activities and with tickets starting at only $13.18 it’s easy to see why. Find the complete, up-to-date schedule here.

YEG Color Fest

This glow in the dark color festival brings international and local DJs together for an electric Saturday in March. A blend between a Holi Festival and a rave, YEG Color Fest is better suited for the younger crowds. Tickets can range from $19 to $90 and the event is held at the Edmonton EXPO Centre. Make sure to wear white.


Held in early May since 1983, Northwestfest is Canada’s longest running documentary film festival. Initially the focus was on international development documentaries, but nowadays Northwestfest also showcases music, art, and media in addition to local and international non-fiction films on all sorts of topics. All films show at The Metro Cinema in the historic neighborhood of Garneau. You can buy tickets and find out more about Northwestfest here.

Taste of Edmonton

The most popular food festival, the Taste of Edmonton gives you the chance to sample the hottest foods from the best restaurants in town. Spanning 11 days in late July, the festival also features concerts and live performances in addition to food. Small and large bites, sweet or savoury, hot or cold, there is something for every taste at the Taste of Edmonton. See the current menu and buy tickets here.

Taste of Edmonton

Downtown Spark

Held over two weekends in late May to early June, Downtown Spark provides free fun activities for the whole family. There are art installations from around the world, concerts, street performances, food trucks, beer gardens and more. Find more about Downtown Spark and other events taking place in the downtown core here.


Since 1996, this multi-disciplinary arts festival has been promoting young, emerging local artists. The goal of Nextfest is to offer experience and mentorship. The 10 day festival is held annually during early June at the Roxy Theatre. There are over 50 interesting events, and you can get tickets to see them for as little as $12. You can find more info here.

Edmonton Downtown Dining Week

During the third week of March Edmonton Downtown Dining Week celebrates the innovation of the downtown chefs. Menus cost $20, $35, $50, and $65 and are available for lunch or dinner. There are 50 participating restaurants where you can sample burgers, steak tartare, meat dishes, seafood, craft beer, and more. Find out more here.


If you’re in Edmonton during the last 10 days of July, head over to the Edmonton EXPO Centre & Exhibition Grounds. With a multitude of rides, games, activities & exhibits, concerts, food & drink options K-Days is the place to be! Founded in 1979 and with 800,000 visitors, K-Days is one of the oldest and largest festivals in Edmonton. Although it is great for any age, I’d say K-Days is better suited for the younger ones. Spending a whole day running around in the sun can get exhausting. You can find a full list of events and tickets here.


Edmonton Fringe Festival

During mid-late August over 800,000 people come to Old Strathcona neighbourhood to attend the largest and longest running Fringe Theatre Festival in North America. Since 1982, local and international artists put on over 210 shows and 1,600 performances every year. Held over 11 days, Edmonton Fringe Festival consists of both paid and free performances in the nearby theatres and on the street. You can find a complete schedule and tickets here.

Edmonton Mountain Bike Festival

Calling all sporty people, this festival is for you! Over three days in early September you can participate in group rides, live music, river valley races, obstacle courses, beer tasting, a fundraiser, and more. This event is great way for the whole family to spend quality, outdoors time together. Find out more about the Edmonton Mountain Bike Festival here.

Edmonton International Film Festival

Over a 10 day period in late September, come and be the first to enjoy new, independent films from around the world. All films are completed within 20 months of the festival and they must be Edmonton premiers. Most films presented at the Edmonton International Film Festival show at the Landmark Cinema in downtown, but some also show at the Metro Cinema in Garneau. Tickets cost $10 to $15 or you can purchase a 10 movie pass for $99. You can also share the movie pass with as many people as you like, which is a nice option. Find out more about EIFF here.

Flying Canoë Volant

In early February head to La Cité francophone to celebrate and learn about French-Canadian and First-Nations legends. During the Flying Canoë Volant festival you can enjoy live music, obstacle courses, exhibits, dancing, art walks, good food, shows, and more. There are also Flying Canoe Races where you and your team launch yourselves on the river by sliding down a frozen hill in a canoe. Find out more about this festival here.

Silver Skate Festival

Also known as winter wonderland, Silver Skate Festival brings together arts, sports, and culinary delights. The longest running winter extravaganza, the Silver Skate Festival has been running for more than 30 years, every year during a 10 day period in mid to late February. You can enjoy family skiing, ice skating, obstacle courses, snow sculptures, food & beer tasting, and more. If you’re not from Edmonton, keep in mind that it can get very cold in the winter season, so bundle up with multiple layers. Additionally, if you have cold weather sensitivities and aren’t going to participate in sporting events, this may not be the festival for you. You can read more here.


From late November to late December, head over to the University of Alberta Botanic Garden for a magical evening festival. The garden is adored with beautiful lights, a Christmas Market and outdoor dining area where you can enjoy delicious treats, music, fire pits, and more. Tickets must be booked in advance and cost $24 for adults and $17 for seniors and youth over 12 years of age. Find out the up-to-date opening days here.

Edmonton International Ice Carving Competition

Every year in late January since 2003 Edmonton International Ice Carving Competition has been promoting the appreciation of arts and culture. Teams of local and international ice carving artists are given 34 hours and 15 blocks of ice to complete their sculpture. After that, the exhibit is open to the public to observe and vote for their favorite sculpture. For those interested, there are also ice carving workshops throughout the duration of the festival. It is free to attend the Edmonton International Ice Carving Competition, however cash donations are highly appreciated. Find out more here.

Freewill Shakespeare Festival

Starting out as a small event in 1989, Freewill Shakespeare Festival has become a summer favorite among Edmontonians of all ages. Every year, the non-profit Free Will Players Theatre puts on two productions of William Shakespeare’s play. This outdoor festival takes place at the Amphitheatre in Hawrelak Park between mid June to mid July. In addition to Shakespeare al fresco, you can also enjoy good food & drinks, music, puppet shows for kids, and more. Tickets are $35 for adults and $25 for students and seniors. Additionally you can attend preview days where you pay what you can. Find out more here.

Edmonton International Jazz Festival

Appreciate the world’s best jazz musicians between late June and early July. The event started back in 2005 as a means to promote Edmonton jazz music, but it quickly grew to also include international artists. Edmonton International Jazz Festival is spread between multiple downtown venues, so make sure to check the website for a complete up-to-date list of venues.

Edmonton Heritage Festival

If you ask any Edmontonian what the largest festival in the city is, they will all say it’s the Heritage Festival. During a 3 day long weekend, every year in early August pretty much everyone heads to Hawrelak Park for the largest celebration of multiculturalism in the world. Although there are lots of cultural activities like dances and music, this is a mainly food-focused event. Volunteers from over 90 countries come together to prepare their country’s most popular dishes. It is free to attend but you need to purchase tickets to acquire the food. Find the full menu and ticket prices here.

Edmonton Folk Music Festival

This four day outdoor event is held every year on the second weekend of August, and it was established in 1980. Thousands of local and international performers and attendees come to Gallagher Park where the sloping hill creates a natural amphitheatre. As one of the largest folk festivals in the world, Edmonton Folk Music Festival aims to promote diverse, affordable, and inclusive music. Buy tickets and find out more info here.

Rocky Mountain Wine & Food Festival

Come to Edmonton Convention Centre in November for wine, beer, and delicious, innovative foods prepared by local chefs. Since 1998 Rocky Mountain Wine & Food Festival has been Alberta’s largest alcoholic beverage festival. This festival takes place in both Calgary and Edmonton on different days, so if you wanted to, you could attend both. Find out more here.

And there you have it, the best Edmonton festivals. These are just some of the largest and most popular. However, there are many I skipped otherwise this article would have been too long. So Edmonton does deserve the tile Festival City after all.

Do you have a favorite festival I missed?

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