Check out this season’s harvest of art exhibitions, music festivals and family fun!
HAVE FALL FUN ON A FAMILY FARM
An agrarian adventure awaits at The Jungle Farm, which is well known in Red Deer for its wide-ranging celebration of the fall harvest. Visitors can pick their own pumpkin, navigate a corn maze, play human foosball and more. October 1 adds live music, fresh food and farm demos to the mix during a daylong Fall Festival, while Halloween preparations get serious with Extreme Power Tool Pumpkin Carving on the final weekend in October. Sept. 3-Oct. 30
GET SOME HOT HOUSE PRODUCE
The summer farmers’ market season may be winding down, but you can still get a fresh-produce fix. Drive to Redcliff: The sunny town on the outskirts of Medicine Hat is known as the “Greenhouse Capital of the Prairies” for its collection of, well, greenhouses—which grow tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and more. Most of the greenhouses have self-serve market shops to help you get Alberta-grown veggies any time of the year.
REVEL IN REPEAT VIEWING
They may be prairie kitsch, but en masse the paintings of Levine Flexhaug reveal much about art culture. The Art Gallery of Grande Prairie has gathered hundreds of pieces by “the travelling salesman of Canadian art,” who roamed the West making and selling variations on the same landscape—a lake scene framed by conifers and snowy mountains. The pictures are quaint, but they’ve gained an odd sort of cachet and the artist himself has earned post-humous respect for his remarkable consistency. Sept. 6-Dec. 11
ENGINEER SOME EXCITEMENT
The art of science is on full display during Beakerhead, a mash-up of the STEM disciplines—science, technology, engineering, math—and creative ingenuity at venues across Calgary. More than 100,000 curious minds are expected to take in this year’s spectacle, which transforms the city into a giant hands-on laboratory. Highlights include chefs doing molecular gastronomy experiments, science buskers on the Stephen Avenue Walk, and amateur cryptographers (i.e. members of the public) sending messages through a “Space Bass” installation. Sept. 14-18
ROCK OUT TO A VARIED PLAYLIST
Garage rock. Synth pop. Post punk. If these are your genres of choice, Edmonton’s Up + Downtown Music Festival is for you. This year’s salute to indie music promises 60-plus acts trafficking in all manner of tuneage. Folk-rock crooner Basia Bulat, raucous punk band White Lung and alt-country elder statesmen The Sadies are among the lineup’s Canadian contingent. The fest also branches out into comedy, with shows by The Kids in the Hall alum Bruce McCulloch. Oct. 7-9
ENJOY A NEW AURAL EXPERIENCE
Studio Bell, the new home of the National Music Centre, is now open. The marquee addition to Calgary’s transforming East Village boasts five floors of exhibitions that celebrate our collective connection to songwriting, recording and performance. The stories of Canadian musicians are a major focus, while other “stages” offer further immersion: Step into the Rolling Stones’ mobile studio; discover instruments like the room-sized TONTO synthesizer; or try on different vocal styles with interactive software.
INDULGE IN LOCAL FLAVOURS
Follow up your Thanksgiving feast by indulging in even more food and fellowship during Dig In, St. Albert’s fledgling but already much-loved “horticulinary” festival. The gastronomic gaiety begins with a walking tour to city eateries, and culminates at a gala five-course dinner prepared—with local ingredients, naturally—by some of Alberta’s most sought-after chefs. For those who want to improve their own culinary skills, weekend workshops offer advice on urban gardening, sausage making and more. Oct. 12-15
“MEAT” UP IN A SMALL TOWN
Coaldale, just east of Lethbridge, has long been a destination for Southern Alberta meat lovers, who flock to Wiebe’s Delicatessen for its Mennonite sausages, handcrafted with local pork. Recently renovated and reopened under new owners, the store’s regional roots remain strong. In addition to its famous franks, Wiebe’s also stocks other Alberta meats plus products from Lethbridge-area purveyors.
CROSS A CLASSIC FORD
Drive the North Dinosaur Trail (Highway 838) outside of Drumheller and you may come across a quirk of history. For more than 100 years, the road has spanned the Red Deer River not with a bridge, but the Bleriot Ferry. Named for Andre Bleriot, who built the 105-metre crossing’s first timber raft, it’s now a free-to-use cable-towed deck for up to 13 mid-size cars. This artifact of a bygone era is not alone: Alberta has seven such ferries that operate from late April to early November. And while you’re in the area, why not spend some time at the Royal Tyrrell Museum? AMA members save 10% on admission.