The dog days of summer are upon us, but in Alberta, we call them the festival days of summer—and a lot is happening in the province this month!
Street festivals all around Alberta
July is a great time to get out and enjoy your city—especially when street performers will visit three corners of Alberta to get crowds gathering. The Edmonton International Street Performers Festival takes place July 7-16 and brings incredible aerial artists, dancers, magicians, and firebreathers (and more!) to the city’s downtown core.
But the fun on the street isn’t just in the province’s capital. The performers also head up to the province’s northwest for The Grande Prairie International Street Performers Festival from July 21 – 23, then down to Red Deer for CentreFest Street Performer Festival from July 29-30th.
All three street festivals are free to attend but be sure to bring some cash—the incredible artists rely on crowds’ tips for income.
Yahoo! July is Stampede season for Calgarians, and The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth takes place July 7-16 this year. The Stampede Rodeo features some of the best competitors in the world, a massive agriculture exhibition, its iconic midway (with all the food you can think of!), an incredible two-day Powwow, and a vast artisan market. And as always, the Calgary Stampede kicks off with a parade on July 7. So, gather your friends, or collect the whole family to head out and enjoy one of Calgary’s most iconic weeks.
The incredible K-Days is one of Edmonton’s most anticipated summer events for thrill seekers and foodies. From July 21-30 at the Edmonton EXPO Centre, hit the midway or check out some new attractions, including the world’s largest inflatable obstacle course and a new Cristal Palace Spiegeltent for theatre performances. Big-name performers are also at the free K-Days main stage each evening, including Shawn Desman, Tegan and Sara, and Three Days Grace.
AMA members save 40% on advance adult admission tickets until July 20.
Get your laughs in with some indie comedy and improv
While there’s something to be said about attending a comedy show in a packed arena, all famous comedians who now sell out shows began their careers on their local stage. In Edmonton, head to Rooster Kitchen & Bar on Sunday evenings all summer for Comedy Coop, a free show featuring local favourites and a touring headliner.
Also, in Edmonton, check out The Grindstone Comedy Festival from July 5-9. Some of the country’s top comedians, sketch groups and improvisors will be taking the stage to show off their best routines, plus you might discover some rising local talent. Grindstone Theatre also runs weekly comedy and improv shows, including its popular improvised musical, The 11 O’clock Number every Saturday night.
In Calgary, the Loose Moose Theatre company runs its Secret Impro Show every Saturday evening. The company has had roots in Alberta since 1977 and is a good option if you have older children interested in the show; they suggest their evening shows are appropriate for ages 14+. For Calgary standup, Tea House Comedy brings local laughs every Thursday evening, and its basement location brings a certain speakeasy vibe.
Movies with hype
There are some majorly long-awaited films set to release this July. First off comes the seventh in a familiar series with the release of Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One on July 12 (the second part is expected to be released in 2024). Tom Cruise returns as agent Ethan Hunt—with Cruise, now 60, performing all his jaw-dropping stunts.
On July 21, two films that are both generating massive online buzz release the same day, so it might be an excellent opportunity to escape the heat and do the ultimate double feature:
Visionary director Christopher Nolan is behind Oppenheimer, the story of J. Robert Oppenheimer and his role in developing the atomic bomb, starring Cillian Murphy in the titular role. Alongside Murphy is an ensemble cast that includes Emily Blunt, Matt Damon, Robert Downey Jr., and Florence Pugh.
Meanwhile, expect the unexpected from director Greta Gerwig’s Barbie. Starring Margot Robbie as the bubbly Barbie and Ryan Gosling as Ken, the film used so much pink paint in its production it led to a global shortage. Alongside Robbie and Gosling is—you guessed it, an ensemble cast that includes Kate McKinnon, Simu Liu, Michael Cera, and Will Ferrell.
It’s rare to see two movies with such similar excitement, director hype and star power behind them—so if you choose to see both, make sure you purchase your pass from an AMA centre—members save on both Landmark and Cineplex.
Head to some hidden gem music festivals
Alberta is a massive province that’s well worth exploring, and this July, there are music festivals scattered around in some beautiful spots you might not otherwise experience. So, pack up your bags, bring the fam, and jam out in beautiful, nature-centric settings.
Pembina River Nights music festival takes place July 7 and 8 at Rangeton Park, on the edge of the Pembina River. With a heavy focus on folk and country—as well as bluegrass and rock—this family-friendly festival promises cool vibes. Kids under 14 enter free, and a two-day camping-included pass runs at $150.
In Hinton, the Wild Mountain Music Festival is set for July 14-16, and this year welcomes Juno-winning Canadian band The Strumbellas as headliners. A weekend pass (which runs at $225) includes camping for the weekend—and kids under 12 can enter for free.
In our province’s south, the South Country Fair is a true grassroots folk experience. The festival began in the ‘80s as a camping event but quickly morphed into an annual three-day music extravaganza. This year, the event takes place on July 21, 22, and 23. A complete weekend camping pass is available for $155.