Free Events in Calgary from Now Until September 17
Artist studio tours, farm visits and massive displays of public art and pride are all coming up and free to enjoy.
West of Mabou performs in East Village on Sunday, September 3 as part of the National Music Centre's free outdoor concert series Sundays in C-Square.
Photograph courtesy of National Music Centre
Tuesdays to Sundays until Sunday, August 27
Find a spot on the grass and settle in for an outdoor presentation of Shakespeare's pastoral comedy. Theatre Calgary is behind the production that showcases some of Calgary's up-and-coming acting talent.
Prince's Island Park, theatrecalgary.com
Wednesdays until August 30, 6 p.m.
Heritage Park holds weekly free concerts just outside the park gate in the Engineered Air Bandstand. Bring a blanket, pack a picnic or dine on the patio of the Selkirk Grille while enjoying two hours of live music. If it is raining, the concert moves inside to the Gasoline Alley Museum.
Heritage Park, 1900 Heritage Dr. S.W., heritagepark.ca
Fridays at 12:10 p.m. and Saturdays at 10 a.m. and Sundays at 9:30 a.m. until October 1
East Village Junction has several free activities through the week and, partly because Lululemon is a resident, many of them are active. On Fridays from 12:10 to 1:10 p.m., Lululemon leads a yoga session. On Saturdays at 10 a.m., Connie DeSousa leads 5 kilometre run with the Hot Behind Run Crew and that is followed by yoga with Lululemon. And, on Saturdays, Lululemon's own run crew leads a run followed by yoga. EV Junction also has plenty of outdoor music and arts presentations throughout the weekend.
Corner of 4th Street and 8th Avenue S.E., evexperience.com
Saturday, August 12 and Sunday, August 13, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Art in the Gardens is an outdoor art show and sale. Art is both framed and unframed and in a range of mediums and styles. A few of the artists in attendance include Rosemary Bennett, Shelagh Tranter and Rex Beanland. Spend the day enjoying the artwork and the gardens, and enter to win a door prize. Donations for the Calgary Food Bank will be accepted.
3443 Kerry Park Rd. S.W.
Sunday, August 13, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
More than 35,000 visitors from around Calgary drop visit Marda Loop each summer for the annual Marda Gras Street Festival. The celebration of Marda Loop includes live music, dance and cultural performances, alongside shopping options, food vendors and an area specially for the kids. Marda Gras lasts all day.
33 and 34 Avenues S.W., mardagras.ca
Sundays, August 13, 20, 27 and September 3
The National Music Centre is hosting concerts in the open-air urban square right near it (aka the corner of 4th Street and 7th Avenue S.E.). It's that space along the CTrain tracks that was designed for just such a public gathering. From 1 to 4 p.m. you can listen to The Heirlooms, Hi-Strung Downers, The Doll Sisters and West of Mabou, depending on the Sunday. And then you are right by the music centre, East Village Junction or the Riverwalk to make a day of it.
4th Street and 7th Avenue S.E., studiobell.ca
Thursday, August 17, 5 to 8 p.m.
On the third Thursday of August, Bow Habitat Station is staying open a little later and admission is free to the Discovery Centre. Tour the exhibits and look at the aquariums. From 5 to 8 p.m., it's first-come, first-served to feed the fish for $2. You can also rent a fishing rod for $5.
1440 17A St. S.E., bowhabitat.alberta.ca
Friday, August 18, 6 to 9 p.m.
Happenings 9 is themed Heritage and Canadian Dreams to go along with Canada's sesquicentennial year. From 6 to 9 p.m., Arts Commons hosts an art party with music, workshops, panel discussions and hands-on art activities. The gallery spaces will highlight work from artists including Terrance Houle, Jake Klein-Waller and Kerry Maguire.
To really make it a party, there will be a cash bar.
Arts Commons, artscommons.ca
Saturday, August 19 and Sunday, August 20
More than 100 farms across the province participate in this open house-style weekend. Take to the highway and stop in to see how a working farm operates and chat with the producer. Most farms are free to visit and there are guided tours, special dinners and other events that are ticketed. The website sorts all the participating locations by region and tells you when each farm is open for visitors. And, the entrance to farms are usually well-signed so you won't get lost.
Sunday, August 20, 8 p.m.
The Calgary International Film Festival is adding a late show series to its September festival. The series will include darker, creepier movies than what might otherwise be screened. To give the audience a teaser, CIFF is screening the horror movie, Feast, about people trapped in a bar surrounded by blood thirsty monsters in a remote area of Nevada. The screening is at The Ship & Anchor so drinks and snacks are an option.
The Ship & Anchor, 534 17 Ave. S.W., calgaryfilm.com
Friday, August 25, 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.
A massive section of Southcentre Mall's parking lot is taken over by food trucks, market stalls and live entertainment. Grab a bite to eat and wander the stalls.
Southcentre Mall, 100 Anderson Rd. S.E., marketshoplocal.com
Saturday, August 26
The party starts at 9:30 a.m. at Olympic Plaza where a parade of partiers dance their way to Shaw Millennium Park where Caribbean entertainment and food fills the rest of the day.
Olympic Plaza and Shaw Milennium Park, facebook.com
Saturday, August 26, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Sample vegan and vegetarian dishes from around the world at this fest. In addition to food, a section of the community centre is set aside for other businesses that similarly support a healthy lifestyle.
Bowness Community Centre, 7904 43 Ave. N.W., cvff.ca
Sunday, September 3
Calgary Pride has several free and ticketed events, but the biggest and brightest is the parade that starts at 6th Avenue and 3rd Street S.E. at noon and ends at around 1:30 p.m. in Prince's Island Park where the rest of the afternoon turns into a party with music, a family fun zone and a beer garden.
Sunday, September 10, 2 p.m.
Bring your blanket at find a spot on the grass for this afternoon concert in the park wraps up the international music festival. The concert will be about one hour and 40 minutes and includes performances by pianists Luca Buratto, Katherine Chi and Dmitry Nesterov as well as trumpet player Jens Lindemann and members of the Kensington Sinfonia. The playlist includes works by Debussy, Rachmaninov and Brahms. It's also worth getting tickets to some of the other Honens events for the festival that takes place September 7 to 10.
Central Memorial Park, honens.com
September 13 to 17
This crazy mash-up of engineering and art events gets better each year. There are ticketed events, but Beakerhead also turns the inner city into a free spectacle. This year, Beakerhead uses downtown Calgary as the backdrop for a giant snakes and ladders game. The "board" includes 14 public art exhibitions that you can see on their own or follow the prompts from one location to the next. A 168-foot-long, fire-breathing serpent, 15 giant see-saws and 5,000 white balloons spilling out of Legion No. 1 are a few of the stops.
September 16, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Burns Visual Arts Society, Artpoint Gallery & Studios, Heritage Weavers and Spinners, Jeff DeBoer Studio and Studio 4 all open their doors to the public. Stop into the spaces to see work from more than 80 artists including painters, sculptors, and artists who work with metals, textiles and ceramics. Several artists will be on hand to talk about their work and demonstrate how it is done. Wander at your own pace.