30 Days of Free (Or Really Affordable) Events In Calgary
You can get out of the house and participate in seasonal activities without spending too much money. Think pie tastings, corn mazes, improv comedy and outdoor concerts.
The Kinkonauts' "Much Ado From Nothing"
Photograph by Kenneth Locke
Free events in the next month
Until October 1
Free concerts come to C-Square in the East Village every Saturday afternoon until the beginning of October (depending on the weather, of course). The outdoor concert series began with the T. Buckley Trio and this Saturday’s outdoor concert will be the Scott Duncan Celtic Project. The music runs from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., and afterwards, check out the exhibits in the nearby Studio Bell, home of the National Music Centre.
East Village’s C-Square, 7 Ave. and 4 St. S.E., 403-543-5115, studiobell.ca
For one day only, a variety of local institutions and buildings are opening their usually-closed-to-the-public doors and letting Calgarians peek inside to see how things work. You can get free tours of the Calgary Stampede, Assumption Ukrainian Catholic Church, the Calgary Food Bank, KidSIM Simulation Centre at the Alberta Children’s Hospital and many others. As well as tours, the venues will offer special activities and other behind-the-scenes experiences.
Various locations, doorsopenyyc.org
Admission is free to this 60-minute dance piece. You’ll want to catch this show. It was choreographed by Peggy Baker, an icon in the dance world, and it was first performed at Scotiabank Nuit Blanche in 2009. This piece is performed by University of Calgary dance students, faculty and staff, as well as professional dancers from the Calgary dance community.
Rozsa Centre, University of Calgary, 2500 University Dr. N.W., scpa.ucalgary.ca
September 30 to October 1
The sixth annual Print It Yourself Festival is a must-attend event for artsy types — and it’s entirely free. On Friday, catch printmaking demonstrations in Olympic Plaza. Then if you’re interested in trying to art form yourself, head to the Alberta Printmakers Studio and Gallery on Saturday for workshops led by professional artists.
Olympic Plaza, 228 8 Ave. S.E.; Alberta Printmakers Studio and Gallery, 4025 4 St. S.E., 403-287-1056, albertaprintmakers.com
October 1 to 5
When admission to the Glenbow is just 50 cents, it's as good as free. For five days only, the Glenbow presents a special exhibition of 50 artworks that represents the scope of the collection — the works were selected from more than 30,000 items. The 50 cent admission is valid only for these five days.
October 7 and 8
This event isn’t entirely free — it’s entry by donation, but it’s for a really good cause. This annual pie-tasting event happens every Thanksgiving weekend and the funds raised support the Calgary Food Bank. This year, there are five Calgary Farmers’ Market vendors competing in the pie competition, each trying to the win the title of “Best Pie” at the market. Sample slices of pie from A Taste of Quebec, Big T’s Smokehouse, Delissitude, Innisfail Growers and Simple Simon Pies. There’s something for everyone, from maple pumpkin pie to blueberry rhubarb pie to coconut cream pie.
Calgary Farmers’ Market, 510 77 Ave. S.E., 403-240-9113, calgaryfarmersmarket.ca
This family-friendly festival has free admission and includes a pumpkin carving contest, seasonal activities and food trucks. There’s also a pumpkin pie contest that’s open to amateur and professional bakers.
Strathcona Square, 555 Strathcona Blvd. S.W., facebook.com
Spend your Saturday seeing as many of Calgary’s top art galleries as you can. The event, presented by the Art Dealers Association in Canada, aims to raise awareness of the visual arts in Canada and stimulate Canada’s art market. During the day, stop by galleries including the Herringer Kiss Gallery, Loch Gallery, Newzones Gallery and others.
Various locations in Calgary, facebook.com
Affordable events you should know about
Tickets from $15
This affordable show is sure to be high-energy and entertaining. It’s a multi-disciplinary show with a range of performances on stage during the evening. There’s music and dancing and more, and each performance corresponds to a different region of Africa.
University Theatre, University of Calgary, 230 University Ct. N.W., ucalgary.ca
Not only will you be able to join in the conversation about multi-unit housing, private amenities and inclusiveness, and dense communities, but for this talk you’ll also get a peek inside the renovated, recently re-opened St. Louis Hotel. For this conversation, panelists include an urban planning consultant and two architects.
St. Louis Hotel, 430 8 Ave. S.E., dtalks.org
Shows from October 1
This local improv troupe performs two monthly shows, both of which cost only $10 to see. Much Ado From Nothing is an untraditional Shakespearean show. The group dresses like the Bard’s characters, but the storyline grows based on suggestions from the audience rather than Shakespeare's scripts. You can catch this show the second Saturday of every month. One Lions sees Stephen Kent and Covy Holland also create a story based on audience suggestions, and it can get weird. (There are talking tigers and a giraffe that’s also a doctor.) This show is on the first Saturday of each month.
The Lab, 112 16 Ave. N.W., kinkonauts.com
October 1 and 2
Adult admission $7
Reptiles aren’t for everyone, but for those who are interested in these scaly beasts, there’s an affordable weekend-long event. The expo includes more than 30 reptile and amphibian vendors as well as educational information for people interested in keeping reptiles as pets. Your admission fees support the Alberta Reptile Society’s operating budget and conservation and education efforts.
Cedarbrae Community Centre, 11024 Oakfield Dr. S.W., albertareptilesociety.org
October 1 to 23
After you pay admission for this seasonal festival, there are plenty of activities inside the grounds that won’t cost you anything extra. Visit the petting zoo, race through the corn maze and play some mini golf.
Calgary Corn Maze, 284022 Township Rd. 224, 403-648-2719, calgarycornmaze.com