Taj Express (photo: Alberta Ballet)

Things to Do in Alberta: October 2019

By Sandra Sperounes

October is a smashing month for fans of pumpkins, figure skaters, Bollywood dancers, UFO investigators, and Marvel superheroes. Soar into fall with a cornucopia of events across Alberta.

All aboard the Taj Express! Alberta Ballet is bringing this Bollywood musical revue to Edmonton’s Jubilee Auditorium (Oct. 4 & 5). The production, which tells the tale of a struggling composer trying to break into the film industry, features the music of Oscar winner A.R. Rahman (Slumdog Millionaire) and choreography by Vaibhavi Merchant. Catch it at Calgary’s Jube, too (September 25-28). AMA members save 20% on online tickets.

It’s the Great White North Pumpkin Fair, Charlie Brown! Watch dozens of growers and their orange beasts compete in the 31st annual weigh-off in Smoky Lake (Oct. 5). Last year’s winner, Don Crews of Lloydminster, set a new fair record for with his mammoth 855-kilogram pumpkin. The festivities include a parade, petting zoo, kids’ midway, farmers market, musicians, and a giant pumpkin auction. Tip: Make sure your car is large enough before you start bidding on any of the contestants.

Enjoy pumpkin baking demonstrations, turkey dinner and pie­ during Thanksgiving Weekend at Calgary’s Heritage Park (October 12-14). You’ll need the sustenance as you roam around the historical park’s various locations, including an 1860s fur trading fort and First Nations encampment and a 1910s prairie railway town. Check out vintage automobiles at the Gasoline Alley Museum, ride the rails, and enjoy some midway rides, including a carousel, ferris wheel and The Caterpillar.

Olympic champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir aren’t ready to rest on their laurels. The Canadian figure skaters are hitting the road with Rock The Rink, an ice show starring Patrick Chan, Elvis Stojko, and Edmonton’s world champion Kaetlyn Osmond. Russia’s former Olympic champs, Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov, and musical guests Birds of Bellwood, are also part of the rink rockin’, too. Catch the tour in Red Deer (Oct. 10), Grande Prairie (Oct. 13), Calgary (Oct. 16), Lethbridge (Oct. 17), and Medicine Hat (Oct. 19).

things to do in alberta october 2019 hoodoos badlands
The Badlands’ famous hoodoos (photo: Travel Alberta)

D is for diminutive, dinosaurs, and … ‘doos. As in hoodoos, naturally. Delight in these attractions during a day trip to Drumheller, starting with a collection of 160,000-plus fossils at the Royal Tyrrell Museum. Stop by The Little Church, which only seats six people, and don’t forget to check out the eerie sandstone pillars, better known as hoodoos, between Drumheller and East Coulee. AMA members save 10% on regular admission to the Tyrrell.

UFO investigator Nick Pope, Radiolab host Jad Abumrad, and science broadcaster Jay Ingram are some of the stars of this year’s Jasper Dark Sky Festival (Oct. 18-27) in Jasper. Of course, the real stars of the 10-day event are the ones twinkling overhead. Take a four-day dark sky photography workshop, savour the sights and sounds of Symphony Under the Stars, or soak in the constellations at Lake Annette. 

Are your Spidey senses tingling? No wonder—the web slinger, along with Doctor Strange, Black Panther and the rest of the gang are heading to TELUS World of Science for the Canadian premiere of Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes. Transform into Iron Man, check out more than 300 props, costumes, comics and rare images, and learn about the history of some of Marvel’s most iconic characters (starting Oct. 19). AMA members save 10% on general admission or an annual pass to TWOSE.

Horse-drawn carriages were the scooters of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Saddle up your 180-plus horses and visit North America’s largest collection of equestrian-powered vehicles at the Remington Carriage Museum in Cardston. Explore a collection of 270 carriages, take a tour of the stable and working restoration shop, and ride through Lee Creek Valley in a carriage. AMA members save 10% on admission.