Photo: Tourism Calgary/Travel Alberta

Things to Do in Alberta: August 2022

By Allison Bench

It’s been a busy summer in Alberta, with festivals and events abound and eager attendees ready to enjoy the finale of our warm season. There’s so much going on in August that it might be hard to decide what to do, but here are some ideas that will cement a summer to remember.

Get Fringing

Both Edmonton and Calgary are set to play host to their annual Fringe Festivals during August. The Calgary take on the fest kicks off before August begins—running from July 29 to Aug. 6. The Calgary Fringe Festival—the smaller of the two events—should satisfy your theatre cravings with its 20 shows. But if it doesn’t, the mammoth Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival has more than 160 shows, with artists coming in to perform from more than 10 countries, including Japan, Algeria, Australia, Germany, Israel, and South Africa. The Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival runs from Aug. 11 to Aug. 21.

Eat breakfast with a gorilla

If your ideal start to the day includes a bamboo shoot snack and hanging from a low branch, you may want to consider spending time with a gorilla. But in all seriousness, that’s an actual early-morning activity at the Wilder Institute/Calgary Zoo. The zoo’s gorilla breakfast program lets you enter the facility before it opens for an early morning meal, interpretive talk, and an exclusive visit to the troop. All ages are welcome, but you need to book your tickets online in advance. Gorilla breakfasts run every Saturday in August and begin at 7:30 a.m. If you want to sleep in and see the gorillas on your own time, you can skip breakfast and use your AMA membership to save 20% on regular admission at the gate.

Edmonton Folk Music Festival

It’s an Edmonton tradition: gather with thousands of fellow music lovers to groove in Gallagher Park for the city’s 43rd annual folk fest. The Edmonton Folk Music Festival takes place from Aug. 4 to Aug. 7, and this year brings dozens of artists and groups to the city for the 2022 lineup. The big headliner this year is The National, along with The War on Drugs, Allison Russell, Buffy Sainte-Marie, and Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats. Tickets are sold out, but the fest plans to offer an official ticket exchange platform that could get you a coveted pass.

Explore rural life

Alberta Open Farm Days takes place from Aug. 12 to Aug. 14 and invites city-dwellers to head out to the country and check out what life on the farm is like. Farmers and ranchers across the province invite visitors into their barns and pastures to learn about the essential work done right here in Alberta. There’s much to explore and there’s a wide variety of local options to check out, including beekeeping, dairy farming, hemp farms, and wineries. Several ticketed farm-to-table events will also allow you to truly experience the local fares.

Enjoy Alberta food

August will be an excellent month for foodies. The Alberta on the Plate celebration from Aug. 12 to Aug. 21 sees restaurants from all over the province offering multi-course, fixed-price menus highlighting local producers and growers. Plus, it goes beyond food—Alberta breweries are also participating. The event coincides with Alberta Local Food Week and truly aims to connect the dots between the farm and your plate. Look at the options online and start planning your ultimate Alberta-focused meal.

Escape the heat with theatre thrills

Escape the blistering late-summer heat with an air-conditioned theatre to catch a flick on the big screen. Get on board Bullet Train, in theatres Aug. 5. The fast-moving film stars Brad Pitt as Ladybug—a seasoned but unlucky assassin who finds himself on a mission on a turbo train. If you like your action mixed with some serious tension then the survival thriller Beast, out Aug. 19, might be more your style. Idris Elba leads as a recently widowed father travelling through the wilderness of South Africa with his two teenage daughters. But all is not well on their trip—you’ll be on the edge of your seat when a lion starts hunting the family in a Cujo-esque faceoff.

As an AMA member, you can save on Cineplex and Landmark movie passes if you pick them up from an AMA centre. You can also grab a Cineplex gift card from an AMA centre and earn 5% cash back. 

Celebrate the Caribbean

Take in the sights and sounds of the Caribbean with food, dancing and music at Edmonton’s Cariwest Festival (Aug. 5 to Aug. 7 at Sir Winston Churchill Square) or at Carifest Calgary (Aug. 12 to Aug. 13 at Shaw Millennium Park). Both events feature a colourful carnival parade, musical performances, and a plethora of food to try from different Caribbean nations.

Continue the rodeo spirit

While the Stampede is over, Alberta still has ample opportunity to enjoy some late-summer rodeo fun. The Whitecourt Woodlands Rodeo takes place Aug. 5 to Aug. 7 and has everything you’d want from a western weekend: bareback, bull riding, chuckwagon races and games for the kids. And don’t worry, the rodeo opportunity continues later in the month: the Pincher Creek Pro Rodeo takes place from Aug. 18 to Aug. 21. It’s one of the most significant summer events in Pincher Creek, bringing together professional riders and cowboys in the southwestern Alberta community.