Free Events In Calgary: Huge Street Festivals, Night Markets and Tulip Gardens
There are numerous free (or really affordable) events running in the next 30 days. Here are just a few you should put in your calendar.
This year, Lilac Festival is on June 4.
Photograph courtesy of Lilac Festival
Free events you should know about
This Victoria Day will mark the sixth year in a row that tweed-wearing cycling enthusiasts band together for a bike ride. The ride begins at Village Ice Cream in Victoria Park, where riders can have tea and a cone before going on a casual, 10-kilometre ride through the city. Be sure to dress in tweed or some other vintage attire, because there are prizes for the best dressed. The ride ends at Oak Tree Tavern, where there is also a wrap-up party with prizes and a raffle. This event is free but donations for Bicycles for Humanity are accepted.
Village Ice Cream, 431 10 Ave. S.E., eventbrite.ca
This free event is for the contemporary art lovers. Contemporary Calgary screens the feature-length documentary Urbanized. It’s about various urban design issues and urban design strategies. Then Jordan Allen, a founding partner of Bioi Design + Build, will discuss future design challenges that Calgary is facing.
Contemporary Calgary, 117 8 Ave. S.W., 403-770-1350, eventbrite.ca
By the end of May, hundreds of red and white tulips will be blooming at the Botanical Gardens of Silver Springs. The tulip garden was planted in celebration of Canada 150 and Calgarians can visit the gardens whenever they’d like. But May 27 is the unveiling event, which includes music, trivia and a birthday cake.
Botanical Gardens of Silver Springs, botanicalgardensofsilversprings.ca
June 2 and 3
The first Calgary Night Market of the summer season took place on May 12, but the markets run roughly once a month until August. The market on June 2 and 3 will be even bigger than the one in May. It’s taking place in an entirely new location this year — the Southcentre Mall parking lot — and will include food trucks, food stalls, live entertainment, vendors and even karaoke.
Southcentre Mall, 100 Anderson Rd. S.E., facebook.com
The first big street festival of the season kicks off at the beginning of June. The free, family-friendly festival begins with a parade. Afterward, wander 4th Street S.W. to watch street performers and musicians, shop at vendors’ booths and make the most of the beginning of festival season.
4 Street S.W., lilacfestival.net
June 9 to 24
See new, one-act Canadian plays during the run of this free theatre festival. This festival has been running at Lunchbox Theatre for three decades now — that’s three decades of helping create and produce Canadian theatre. Chances are, you’ll see a show that will later premiere on the Lunchbox Theatre stage.
Lunchbox Theatre, 115 9 Ave. S.E., 403-265-4292, lunchboxtheatre.com
The third annual Bridgeland Cultura Festival is a showcase of the history and diversity of one of Calgary’s oldest neighbourhoods. The free, one-day festival has live music, shopping and food sampling.
1 St. N.E., 403-263-5755, brcacalgary.org
Really affordable events in the next 30 days
This documentary about the privatization of public schools in the USA makes its Canadian premiere at the Globe Cinema. As well as the screening, this event includes a Q&A with the film’s two producers, Sarah Mondale and Vera Aranow.
Globe Cinema, 617 8 Ave. S.W., 403-262-3309, eventbrite.ca
$20 per car
Spend a Saturday night staring up at the starry night sky. The next open house event at the University of Calgary’s Rothney Astrophysical Observatory is at the end of May, an ideal time to see Virgo. (It’s the second largest constellation that can be seen from Earth.) Use the venue’s telescopes and ask astronomers your questions.
Rothney Astrophysical Observatory, Priddis, 403-931-2366, ucalgary.ca
May 27 and 28
Adult admission $7
If you’re not already a lover of lizards and snakes, you might be after you attend this family-friendly expo and learn a little more about them. More than 30 vendors will be displaying goods, products and educational information about reptiles and amphibians, helping you learn what makes them great pets.
Cedarbrae Community Centre, 11024 Oakfield Dr. S.W., facebook.com
Adult admission $5
This event highlights comic creators of all kinds, in all stages of their career and from all disciplines. There are workshops, panels and more, from different Canadian talent. This year, the festival sees local talent as well as Canadian comic book artists who are living in Ireland, Scotland and Singapore.
Hillhurst Sunnyside Community Association, 1320 5 Ave. N.W., facebook.com
June 10 and 11
Over Father’s Day weekend, visit the Military Museums to travel back in time to witness Viking raids and medieval duels. Learn about different kinds of warfare by watching scripted battle reenactments and demonstrations. Take a break from the costumes and the drama to purchase lunch from one of the food trucks that will parked on-site.
The Military Museums, 4520 Crowchild Tr. S.W., themilitarymuseums.ca