Saddle up, Alberta, we’ve got a lot to ground to cover in just one short month. July is filled to the brim with fun and unique events around our province, and we don’t want you to miss a thing. From rodeos to races, music festivals to culinary events, the list is endless. Grab your calendars; they’re about to fill up fast, and enjoy another amazing month in Alberta!
The Calgary Stampede
It’s that time of year again, folks! From July 7th to July 16th, “The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth” will kick off. You can expect music, rodeo events, a jam-packed midway, entertainment, shopping, food, drinks, and so much more. If you haven’t been, you need to see it for yourself. The whole event kicks off with the iconic Stampede Parade on the morning of Friday, July 7th. You can watch as floats, horses, and marching bands parade through the city. It’s the perfect way to get into Stampede spirit! If you can’t make the parade, don’t worry, there are so many days filled with so much action, and you’re sure to have a blast and be entertained no matter how you decide to enjoy the Stampede this year.
2023 Badlands Passion Play
Have you ever been to the Badlands Ampetheter? It’s Canada’s largest outdoor stage and a destination in its own right. Every weekend from July 1st to July 16th, a group of actors, crew, and volunteers come together to perform the story of the life of Christ at this remarkable venue. The show takes place on over 6 acres, surrounded by some of the most gorgeous scenery imaginable. This play and the whole experience are special and a cool way to enjoy the outdoors with your family and friends.
Vegreville Pysanka Festival
If you’re ready to experience Ukrainian Culture at its finest, you should probably ensure you’re in Vegreville from July 7th to July 9th. The Vegreville Pysanka Festival is a massive celebration that brings together captivating grandstand shows, tons of musical and dance performances, dance competitions, folk art displays and demonstrations, a pioneer village, games, crafts, shopping, all the food, evening parties, and more. Are you ready to eat your weight in pirogies and cabbage rolls? You’ll love this.
Harry Hill Rodeo
Obviously, we’ve got some serious rodeoing to do this summer in Alberta. The Harry Hill Rodeo is taking place on July 7th and 8th for the 33rd year. You can expect a super fun weekend filled with rodeo events, dancing, and a few extra special events like the Kid's Wild Pony Race and Heavy Horse, which are always a hit among attendees. Camping is free if you want to make a weekend of it, or you can just pop in to witness the action.
Grindstone Comedy Festival
So, you love to laugh? Us too. The Grindstone Comedy Festival is back for another hilarious year in Edmonton. The annual independent stand-up, improv, and sketch comedy festival is hosted at Edmonton’s Grindstone Theatre. The festival brings in national performers and rising local talent at the main venue and two additional venues. There are performances, a comedy battle, open mic nights, parties, workshops, and more. Check out the comedy, laugh until your face hurts, then dance the night away at one of the three parties. The event takes place from July 5th to July 9th, so you won’t want to miss a second.
Ukrainian Village Music Fest
Can’t get enough of Ukrainian culture? Good! Located about 25 minutes east of Edmonton in Lamont County, you’ll find Ukrainian Village. This cool and historical venue is hosting Ukrainian Village Music Fest on Sunday, July 16th, and you can get your fill of both contemporary and traditional Ukrainian-Canadian music. The festival features a perfect mix of emerging and established musical acts and many other fun things to keep you entertained throughout the day. What a fun opportunity to learn more about Ukrainian culture in Alberta!
Bonnyville Airport Drag Races
Ready to experience two days of exciting racing? From July 7th to July 9th, the Bonnyville Airport Drag Races will be taking place at the Bonnyville Regional Airport. The weekend kicks off with a meet & greet and show & shine in the pits. Once the event is underway, you’ll get to witness two full days of wild races. The event is open to races of all levels with all types of vehicles, so you’re sure to see a mixed bag. It’s totally free to the public for spectating, and there are several different types of races to check out.
Plamondon Mud Bogs
While we’re on the topic of racing vehicles, let’s talk about Plamondon Mud Bogs. The Canadian Mud Racing Organization sanctions this event, and you’re about to witness these drives getting really, really dirty. From July 7th to July 9th, you’ll watch drivers take on the mud bogs in mud races, and you’ll get to check out a monster truck exhibition and small and big-vehicle demo derbies. Of course, there are also the Slo-Pitch tournament play-offs featuring live music and tons of good food. There will be a beer garden and even some local tattoo artists to ink you up if you feel so inclined.
High Tea at the Zoo
We love a unique reason to visit the Calgary Zoo, and this high tea event is just the thing. Enjoy a full day of summer fun that’s perfect for all ages. You’ll be treated to scones, finger sandwiches, and snacks while sipping on a selection of incredible tea. Meanwhile, you can gaze out at the gardens from where you sit in the beautiful ENMAX Conservatory. Or, you can sit outdoors and enjoy the sun. These special High Tea events occur several days throughout the month, including July 4, 13, 16, 27 & 30. You can choose your timeslot, but be sure to book soon so tickets don’t sell out!
Gran Fondo Badlands
This is an unbeatable opportunity to get your sweat in while surrounded by the awe-inspiring Albertan Badlands. Gran Fondo Badlands is a bike race that is taking place on July 8th. The race has riders passing through the prehistoric hoodoos and the lush river valley. Open to all types of riders, there are four different distances that you can sign up for, and even e-bikes are welcome. The shortest distance you can register for is 50 km, so this isn’t a casual ride by any means. But, if you’re up for the challenge and want to participate in an unforgettable race, this is the race for you.
Sunnyside Summer Nights
Starting on July 5th and running until September 13th, live music will be taking place at containR Art Park in northwest Calgary. Presented by Keith’s Hootenanny and Springboard’s containR, we couldn’t think of a better way to spend a mid-week evening in the city. You will get to enjoy the musical stylings of an array of grassroots musicians in a truly beautiful setting. Each week, you’ll get to see a different lineup of musicians and join together in community and celebration. Of course, there are also tacos! You can buy a general admission ticket, tickets that include tacos, or you can purchase a table reservation for up to eight people.
Lac La Biche Wife Carrying Championship
We are pleased to introduce the Lac La Biche Wife Carrying Championship. Yes, you read that correctly. This was the first Alberta Competition sanctioned by the North American Wife Carrying
Championship in accordance with the North American rules and regulations. We know, it’s weird. The event is held in conjunction with the Lakeland Country Fair on Saturday, July 15th at 2:00 PM at the Lac La Biche Agricom Rodeo grounds. Teammates don’t have to be legally married, but they do need to be above the age of 20. The winners get the wife’s weight in beer and 5 times her weight in cash. The runner-up gets half of that. If you want to see this oddity for yourself, tickets are $25 and include a meal after the race. You should probably see this for yourself.
The Ultimate Car Show
Hosted at the Reynolds Museum in Wetaskiwin, the Ultimate Car Show is a bucket list event for all car enthusiasts in Alberta. You can walk around the grounds to see an amazing lineup of cars and chat with owners along with way. There are demonstrations of Museum vehicles from the early 1900s, food trucks, a live band, photo ops with vintage vehicles, and more!
Calaway Comic Fest for Kids
Let’s give the kids some time in the spotlight! From July 14th to July 16th, Calgary’s theme park, Calaway Park, is hosting a Comic Fest for Kids. During the festival, you’re invited to dress up in your best costumes and head to Calaway! There will be character meet and greets, special activities, SuperDogs performances, and more. Of course, there are all of the rides, games, food, and fun that you’d expect from a normal summer day at Calaway!
Whyte Avenue Art Walk
Mark your calendars! The Whyte Avenue Art Walk is an incredible event that features 400 artists lining the streets of Old Strathcona in Edmonton. Taking place from July 7th to July 9th, you can buy and browse the art, watch the artists and work, and enjoy the talents of countless talented creatives from Edmonton and beyond. The area is transformed into an open studio where you can look over the shoulders of remarkable artists as their work comes to life. If you’re ready to dive into arts and culture this summer, this event is the perfect place to get your fix.
Bashaw Medieval Faire & Artisan Market
Calling all noble knights, brave warriors, ladies, lords, sages, peasants, and fantastical beings! The Bashaw Medieval Faire & Artisan Market is back for its 4th year and it’s going to be unforgettable. From July 15th to 16th, you’ll get to enjoy interactive displays, shopping from talented vendors, music, magic, storytelling, performances, costumes, games, entertainment, and more. If you’re fascinated by all things medieval, you’re going to love this. Folks of all ages are welcome, and it’s an excellent activity for the whole family.
Taste of Edmonton
Okay, foodies, this one’s for you! From July 20th to July 29th at Sir Winston Churchill Square, this amazing food festival will bring together the best food and drinks that the city has to offer. You can sample all different types of food and sip on some delicious beverages while enjoying live music and great company. Get ready to eat burgers, cabbage rolls, sushi, tacos, perogies, lobster rolls, curry, poutine, and so much more. Trust us when we tell you that you better come hungry!
2023 Afro-Caribbean Food Festival
We’re coming at you with more delicious programming. The 2023 Afro-Caribbean Food Festival is taking place from July 22nd to July 23rd in Celebration Square in Calgary. This special event is a Celebration of the Caribbean, Africa, and everything in between through food, music and culture. You can enjoy food from dozens of different vendors, enjoy live music and dancing, and learn more about Caribbean and African culture. This festival is filled with energy and amazing things to eat and experience. You don’t want to miss it.
Calgary Folk Music Festival
We love festival season! The incredible Calgary Folk Music Festival is back for another year from July 27th to July 30th. Taking place at the beautiful Prince’s Island Park, you can listen to over 70 musical acts, shop at the artisan market, indulge in various offerings from a wide selection of food vendors, and sip ice-cold drinks across the all-site licensed island. There’s also a family zone and tons of other activities and entertainment to check out. This year’s lineup features Bahamas, The Paper Kites, Andrew Bird, and more. This is sure to be one to remember!
The Wetaskiwin Arts & Music Festival
The Wetaskiwin Arts & Music Festival is back for another year in a brand new location. This year, the event will take place in Wetaskiwin Jubilee Park, a beautiful and centrally located venue. The festival is taking place on July 15th from 10 am to 7 pm to showcase all the talent that can be found in the area. The event includes many different types of artists ranging from oil, water and acrylic painters to sculptors, photographers, woodworkers, crafters, quilters, fibre artists and many more incredible genres. Also, there are a bunch of captivating demonstrations taking palace, such as Karate, Tae-Kwon-Do, Yoga, Kiln Firing, Piano students, Jugglers, kids art and many more. This event is free, and attendees of all ages are welcome.
Britanny Burr is a freelance writer and a contributor to Great West Media. This story was written for the 2023 Hot Summer Guide advertising feature. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff.