25 Best Things to Do This June
It’s officially festival season.
The annual Clothesline Festival and Art Sale is at the Leighton Art Centre on June 3 and 4.
Photograph courtesy of the Leighton Art Centre
Summer is here. June in Calgary is the month for food festivals (like craft beer festivals and oyster festivals and lobster festivals), outdoor art festivals and cultural festivals. But, there’s more going on than just the festivals, too.
Here are our 25 suggestions for a fun-filled June.
[Update: Granary Road has delayed its opening by one week. Opening day is July 7]
There’s a new farmers’ market meets dining experience meets active learning park. It’s called Granary Road and it’s scheduled to open June 29. It’s located just outside of Calgary and you’ll find a 21,000-square-foot public market with vendors such as Luc’s European Meats, Calgary Mini Donuts and Crafted. There’s a bakery and there’s a bistro restaurant with a rooftop bar. And, there’s a huge, family-friendly active learning park. Walk three kilometres of trails to see 11 exhibits over 36 acres. There’s everything from a petting zoo to an orchard tree house to a bat cave walk-through, complete with animatronic bats and an echolocation labyrinth.
Granary Road, 226034 112 St. W., 403-453-7623, granaryroad.com
Each year, after Lunchbox Theatre stages its final show of the season, the RBC Emerging Director’s Showcase comes to the stage. It’s a chance for Calgarians to support an up-and-coming Calgary director by attending a show that the new director has worked on with help from Lunchbox Theatre. This year, Lunchbox Theatre’s emerging director is Paul Welch and he directs Ride by Australian playwright Jane Bodie. Catch the show on June 1 or 2.
Lunchbox Theatre, 115 9 Ave. S.E., 403-265-4292, lunchboxtheatre.com
Everyone is invited to Eau Claire Plaza on June 2 to celebrate Canada 150 through dance. But don’t expect a flash mob — the Sharing Dance Day event is an initiative of Canada’s National Ballet School and includes dance performances, free dance classes and other activities.
Eau Claire Plaza, 200 Barclay Parade S.W., sharingdance.ca
The Okotoks Film Festival Society was formed in March 2016, and after more than a year of work, Okotoks’ inaugural film festival is launching this month. During the festival, there will be short film screenings in a range of different genres, screenings for kids and a look at the work produced during the 48 Hour Film Challenge. There will also be a few film-related talks going on, covering topics like lighting a film when you’re on a budget and how to get your film made. The festival runs June 2 to 4 this year.
Rotary Performing Arts Center, 3 Elma St. E., 780-862-6306, okotoksfilmfestival.ca
When you mix the 1986 hit film Pretty in Pink with punk music and black light bowling, you get a “Pretty in Punk” Punk Rock Bowling Prom. Attend the Major Minor Music Project event on June 3 and you’ll hear punk music performed live by groups including Forbidden Dimension, The Real Sickies and Trashed Ambulance. You’ll be able to go black light bowling for four hours. And, because it’s a prom, you’ll come dressed to impress, 1980s and Pretty in Pink-style.
Paradise Lanes, 3411 17 Ave. S.E., eventbrite.ca
Clotheslines aren’t just for hanging and drying clean clothes. On June 3 and 4, clotheslines are used for displaying artwork too. At the 42nd annual Clothesline Festival and Art Sale, more than 1,000 pieces of original artwork will be hung from a clothesline at the Leighton Art Centre. Admire the work and purchase your favourites. (This year, there is work for sale by more than 80 artists.) The weekend is mostly about the art, but there is also live music, art demonstrations and local food vendors.
Leighton Art Centre, 282027 144 St. W., Millarville, leightoncentre.org
photograph courtesy of lilac festival
Lilac Festival is the first really, really big festival of the season and the day kicks off with a parade down 4th Street, starting at 10 a.m. After the parade, stick around the neighborhood because there are six stages with performances all day, there are more than 500 vendors for shopping and there is a whole lot of community spirit.
4 St. S.W., lilacfestival.net
Calgary has a week dedicated to burgers, a week dedicated to pizza and a week dedicated to tacos. Now there’s a week dedicated to craft beer, too. The inaugural YYC Beer Week runs June 5 to 9 and is a celebration of all the local craft beer that is being brewed right here in Calgary. During the festival there will be special craft beer-related events and tastings. There will also be special dishes prepared at participating restaurants specifically for the festival that are meant to be paired with a certain craft beer.
Vote for your favourite and know that a portion of the proceeds will support different local charities, like Allies for Autism Foundation and the Mustard Seed. (Each participating restaurant chooses which charity to support.) A few of the participating venues include Last Best Brewing and Distilling, Craft Beer Market, Trolley 5 and others.
Various locations across Calgary, yycbeerweek.com
When you attend AARCS’ A Tail to Remember fundraiser on June 10, you’re making sure that AARCS can continue to rescue cats and dogs that have been abandoned, abused and surrendered in rural areas. The evening includes live paintings, art auctions, wine and hors d’oeuvres.
Best Western Plus Village Park Inn, 1804 Crowchild Tr. N.W., 403-250-7377, aarcs.ca
It’s called Ox Bar de Tapas now, but this restaurant was formerly Ox and Angela. The restaurant has been revamped, but still offers Spanish dishes like paella, crisp-crusted potato, cod cakes and lamb ribs. And, since patio season is here, try to have your meal out on the street-side patio. Ox Bar de Tapas has two patios. One side is covered and private while the other side is open and sunny.
528 17 Ave. S.W., 403-457-1432, oxtapas.com
photograph courtesy of the paddle station
The new company, The Paddle Station, is making it really easy for Calgarians to float down the Bow this season. The new company has three mobile rental stations with kayaks and rafts — you'll find those stations at Shouldice Park, Prince’s Island Park and St. Patrick’s Island — and guests can collect and drop off their gear between those rental stations. There’s also a small shuttle bus that you can take back to your car for $7.
On a warm summer night, it’s hard to beat an outdoor concert. Pops in the Park returns to Heritage Park on June 14 and 15, and this year, the program includes hits from Broadway musicals and films — you’ll recognize songs from Chicago and Pirates of the Caribbean — as well as lively classical songs.
Heritage Park, 1900 Heritage Dr. S.W., 403-571-0849, calgaryphil.com
June 17 marks Calgary’s fourth annual Neighbour Day. Show your community spirit by attending various organized events, like the block parties, the afternoon teas and the community clean-ups.
photograph by karin olafson
Smithbilt Hats has moved and its new space is pretty amazing. It’s located inside the historic Fletcher Elevator building in Inglewood, which was originally built in 1914. You’ll find the retail space and an event space on the main level, and the production facility is on the lower levels. If you’re not looking for a new cowboy hat but you’re still interested in the space, book an “art of the hat making” tour and demonstration to learn more about how these hats are made.
Smithbilt Hats, 101, 1015 11 St. S.E., 403-244-9131, smithbilthats.com
The Millarville Run to the Farmers’ Market race is on June 17. It’s a half marathon, but if you’re not too keen to run 21.1 kilometres, you can register for the Cobs Cinnamon Bun Run 8-Miler instead. During this 12.8 kilometre race, runners have to stop at two separate checkpoints to eat a Cobs cinnamon bun. (There’s also the option to just run the shorter distance, without the cinnamon bun stop. After all, not everyone can run right after eating two 200-calorie treats.)
Oilfields Arena, 3 St. S.W., Black Diamond, 403-931-3411, millarvillehalfmarathon.com
This two-day food festival runs June 17 and 18. If you’re still looking for a present for Dad, consider taking him to the Market on Macleod for the fourth annual YYC Lobsterfest. Cost of admission includes a one-pound lobster, side dishes, beer gardens and live music. This is also a charity event — you’ll be supporting Mealshare.
The Market on Macleod, 7711 Macleod Tr. S.E., yyclobsterfest.com
This year’s Shakespeare by the Bow show is the comedy As You Like It. The audience will see emerging Alberta artists act out the story of Rosalind, Cecila and their escape to the Forest of Arden. The show launches on June 20 and runs until August 27, with a brief intermission at the end of July when the Calgary Folk Music Festival takes over Prince’s Island Park.
Prince’s Island Park, 403-294-7447, theatrecalgary.com
Sled Island, the annual music, film, art and comedy festival, runs June 21 and 25 this year. When you’re planning which artists you’re going to see perform and which events you’re going to attend, be sure to pencil the Sled Island Poster Show into your calendar. It’s been running since Sled Island first launched and is a chance to purchase a limited-edition piece of artwork — each musician attending Sled Island is paired with a local artist, and the result is a unique, hand-silkscreened poster. The poster show runs every day of Sled Island.
Phil and Sebastian Coffee Roasters — Mission, 2207 4 St. S.W., sledisland.com
photograph by karin olafson
That’s right, a flying trapeze just like in the circus. It’s run by Rocky Mountain Flying Trapeze and the public is invited to try it out, all summer long. You can register for one-time course or a series, or just drop-in and try one “fly” for $15. (If you’re kind of scared of heights, there are also bungee trampolines here.)
Wild Wild West Event Centre, 67 Commercial Crt., rockymountaintrapeze.ca
Fiestaval returns to Calgary from June 21 to 23. Attend the free, family-friendly festival to sample authentic Latin American food and see Latin dancing and performances.
Olympic Plaza, 228 8 Ave. S.E., fiestaval.ca
The annual speaking event TedxYYC is similar to previous years in that it brings a range of inspirational speakers to Calgary. And like before, the event will cover a range of topics. But there is a difference this year. In honour of Canada 150, this year’s TedxYYC event on June 23 sees only speakers from Canada and will cover topics specific to this country. For the very-Canadian event this year, speakers include Olympic athlete Hayley Wickenheiser, quantum physicist Wolfgang Tittel, comedian Peter Oldring, human rights advocate Marni Panas, and others.
Jack Singer Concert Hall, Arts Commons, 403-294-9494, tedxyyc.ca
Now that the weather is nice, you’ve probably cleaned the dust off your bike and taken it out for a spin. But if you’re sticking to the pathways and are not entirely confident when biking on the road yet, sign up for one of Bike Calgary’s urban cycling skills courses. The course covers basic bicycling skills to help you get that confidence up the next time you’re out on two wheels. The next course is on June 24.
CommunityWise Resource Centre, 223 12 Ave. S.W., eventbrite.ca
photograph by john gibson
A 5 Peaks race at Sikome Lake.
See why trail running has fitness enthusiasts excited and try it out for yourself. If you’re new to the sport and want to ease into trail racing, consider registering for Mountain Equipment Co-op’s Trail Race Two. The event is on June 24 and there are 5 kilometre, 10km and 15km distances on offer. (There’s also a 5 Peaks trail race in Canmore on June 10, if you’re up for a drive out of town.) These grassroots events aren’t intimidating for newbies but are still challenging for seasoned racers.
The inaugural Alberta Oyster Festival takes place at Rodney’s Oyster House on June 25. Your $25 ticket includes two drink tickets and one food ticket. And, you’ll watch as some of the province’s fastest oyster shuckers compete against each other — the winner will head to Toronto later in the year to compete in the Ontario Oyster Festival.
Rodney’s Oyster House, 355 10 Ave. S.W., eventbrite.ca
Come June, all the seasonal outdoor farmers’ markets are up and running. Stay in town and visit the Calgary Grassroots Deerfoot Farmers’ Market or the Marda Loop Farmers’ Market. Or, head out of town to visit the Canmore Farmers’ Market, Cochrane Farmers’ Market or Strathmore Farmers’ Market.