8 Calgary Food Festivals and Events to Check Out This Summer
Attend a vegan festival, watch a hot sauce eating competition or explore a local farm during one of these events.
Photograph courtesy of Taste of Calgary
During the summer, one of the best things about Calgary is the variety of food-related events happening around the city. From vegan food festivals to a province-wide event that lets you explore local farms, here are some of the food festivals and events worth checking out in Calgary in the coming months.
VegFest, a festival focused on vegan food and lifestyle, returns to Calgary for its second year on June 16th. This year's theme is “Beets, Beats, Beers” and there will be speakers, cooking demonstrations and a vegan-certified beer garden with Cold Garden Beverage Company. Speakers include former Green Party of Canada deputy leader and NHL hockey player Georges Laraque, hosts of the Vegan Warrior Princesses Attack podcast Nichole and Callie, and 10-year old activist and TEDx speaker Genesis Butler. This all-day event also features food vendors and food trucks, and non-profits like the Calgary Humane Society will be present. Admission is free but you can make voluntary donations at the door.
Millennium Park, 1220 9 Ave. S.W., vegfestcalgary.com
Featuring restaurants from Avenue's annual Best Restaurants list, this dinner series invites Calgarians to experience some of the best dining spots in the city. This year, six of the 25 best restaurants are participating to bring you exclusive, multi-course dinners throughout the summer. Partial proceeds from these dinners are donated to The Alex Community Food Centre. The next dinner will be hosted at Charbar on June 26th and features a menu of ceviche negro, grilled Italian radicchio salad, ultra dry-aged porterhouse and spiced dark chocolate pudding with popped caramel grains. If you can't make Charbar's dinner, there will also be dinner series events at Alloy on August 15th, Rouge on September 18th and Pigeonhole on October 17th.
Don't miss the first year of Mexifest, a new festival focused around Mexican culture that runs from July 6 to 7. While it isn't specifically a food festival, it has several events that feature Mexican food and drinks. Attendees can buy snacks and drinks like margaritas from local food vendors or participate in a competition to determine the best salsa at the festival. Mexifest is also holding a taco showdown and a hot sauce eating competition. There will be plenty of non-food related activities too, including live music, an artisan market and a wrestling ring.
Eau Claire Plaza, 3 Street and Riverfront Avenue S.W., mexifest.ca
While Stampede offers dozens of new and exciting foods on the Midway each year, the classic pancake breakfasts around the city are also a highlight in July. Community associations, businesses and even politicians host pancake breakfasts that are almost always free to attend and include fun activities for young children and families. So far this year, there are breakfasts scheduled every day from July 5 to 15. This year's breakfasts include an event on July 6th at Raw Canvas, where an artist will make a pancake based on a design you bring in. You can also check out the Stampede festivities on 17 Ave. S.W. on July 7 and 14. They'll be serving breakfast and bringing in live musicians, a petting zoo and a mechanical bull for entertainment.
Various locations, stampedebreakfast.ca
Taste of Calgary has been attracting Calgarians for more than 20 years. The outdoor food and drinks festival is one of the biggest in Calgary and brings together restaurants and beverage companies, as well as local musicians, for a weekend of entertainment and tasty fare. You can buy sampling tickets for a $1, which can be used to try any dish at the festival like butter chicken or sterling silver braised short ribs. Taste of Calgary runs from August 9 to 12 this year.
Eau Claire Festival Plaza, Barclay Parade and 3 Street S.W., tasteofcalgary.com
During last year's inaugural Summer Feast event, Calgarians could get special three-course, prix fixe menus at participating restaurants. The event returns this summer from August 9 to 18 to feature creations by some of the top chefs in the city. Last year's roster included restaurants like Market, Pigeonhole, Klein Harris and Model Milk. This year's participating restaurants will be revealed later this summer and they'll be offering prix fixe menus from $20 to $45.
Various locations, summerfeast.ca
Returning for its sixth year on August 18 and 19, this province-wide event provides the opportunity to visit Alberta farms and learn about where our food comes from. Participating farms offer free admission but you may want to bring cash to participate in other activities like corn mazes or to buy fresh produce. The finalized list of farms and culinary events for this year will be available later this summer, but 101 farms participated in last year's event.
Various locations, albertafarmdays.com
This annual event is an outdoor BBQ competition and festival that has been going on for years. Admission is free and the event aims to be a family-friendly gathering with fun activities for all ages. This year's event, which runs on September 1 and 2, has no shortage of food and barbecue-related activites. There's a barbecue competition for adults and children, food demonstrations, food trucks where you can grab a bite and beer gardens. There will also be a market, live music performances and an area for children.
Montgomery Community Association and Shouldice Park, 5003 16 Ave. N.W., bbqonthebow.com