Edmonton hosts countless celebrations year-round, giving the northern Alberta destination the well-deserved nickname “festival city.” From charming winter soirees that make the most of the coldest season to massive summer celebrations – like North America’s oldest and largest fringe fest – there seems to always be a reason for revelry in Edmonton. Read on for top festivals you won’t want to miss.
Deep Freeze: A Byzantine Winter Festival
January 12–13, 2019
This one-of-a-kind free winter festival takes over a January weekend each year with arts, culture, games, and fun. The Deep Freeze fest embraces Edmonton’s northern climate and honors its heritage, including Indigenous, Ukrainian, and Francophone cultures. There’s lots to see and do indoors and out on Alberta Avenue, including world-music performances, ice sculptors and an ice slide, nighttime fireworks, and the popular Deep Freezer Race, involving costumed teams racing in freezers (yes, freezers) for winter glory.
Flying Canoë Volant
January 31 & February 1–2, 2019
Experience everything wonderful about a long winter’s night at this unique nighttime event. The Flying Canoë Volant is based loosely on a legend and French-Canadian, First Nation, and Métis traditions. Festival goers enjoy an adventure along illuminated trails in a local ravine, wandering through artistic lighting installations and watching storytelling and cultural demonstrations. Afterward, more activities await in Edmonton’s French Quarter. Watch bilingual musical performances inside, then bundle up and enjoy the outdoor winter patio, DJ, and snow slide.
Edmonton Heritage Festival
August 3–5, 2019
The tastes, smells, sights, and sounds from 100 countries and cultures emanate throughout scenic William Hawrelak Park for three days each August. It’s all part of the Edmonton Heritage Festival, a must-see celebration of Canada’s multiculturalism. Enter the festival for free and watch performers on stages throughout the river valley park, then buy food tickets and feast at more than 70 pavilions. Come armed with an appetite!
Edmonton Folk Music Festival
August 8–11, 2019
This four-day summer music festival is an Edmonton institution – and for good reason. The Edmonton Folk Music Festival features an extensive line-up of musicians from around the globe, performing on stages located throughout Gallagher Park. The park’s natural amphitheater, plus gorgeous city skyline views, make for memorable main-stage shows. Add in an array of food vendors, spirited beer gardens, and an artisan market, and it’s no wonder locals return to this family-friendly fest year after year.
Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival
August 15–25, 2019
With more than 1,600 performances, you won’t get bored at North America’s largest and longest-running fringe fest. Expect exciting, creative and innovative theater at a range of venues, outdoor activities, buskers, plus KidsFringe, a one-stop-shop for kid-friendly fun, theater, and free family programming. The trendy Old Strathcona neighborhood is the perfect setting for the festival’s main site, and you can follow-up your fringing with food and drinks at nearby restaurants, like El Cortez Mexican Kitchen + Tequila Bar or the Next Act Pub.