10 Fall Festivals to Check Out in Calgary

From pizza and pumpkins to tattoos and documentary films, this fall’s roster of festivals has something for everyone.

Pumpkin Fest at Granary Road. Photograph courtesy of Granary Road.

Fall has officially arrived, and there are plenty of Calgary festivals rolling in with the change in weather. With festivals that celebrate the fall harvest, film, wine and more, there’s bound to be something for all interests. Here are 10 festivals happening this fall in Calgary.

 

YYC Pizza Fest

The lamb sausage pizza at Posto Pizzeria. Photo by Megan Sereda, courtesy of YYC Pizza Fest.

When: September 15 to October 1, 2023

More than 25 Calgary restaurants are participating in this year’s YYC Pizza Fest, with each one offering a pizza creation to be judged in a friendly competition, decided by the public. Stop by restaurants like Posto Pizzeria or Portland Street Pizza to try unique flavours like lamb sausage or chilaquiles pizza. A portion of the proceeds goes to Calgary Meals on Wheels to help fight food insecurity in the city.

yycpizzafest.com

 

Calgary International Film Festival (CIFF)

When: September 21 to October 1, 2023

Now in its 24th year, CIFF is showcasing hundreds of multi-genre feature and short films from across Canada and around the world. In addition to being an Oscar-qualifying festival for short films, CIFF supports local filmmakers by including a selection of Alberta features in its lineup. You can purchase ticket bundles to this 11-day festival online or get single-show tickets for $17.

Multiple venues, ciffcalgary.ca

 

Apple Fest

When: September 30 and October 1, 2023

Hosted by Granary Road’s Farmers’ Market, Apple Fest showcases and celebrates all varieties of apple, with plenty of jams, jellies, syrups and other apple-based treats to taste and enjoy. Sip on a hot apple cinnamon cider, go “bobbing” for apples or enter your apple pie recipe into the event’s baking contest.

226066 112 St. W., granaryroad.com

 

Screamfest

When: October 6 to 31, 2023

Screamfest is Canada’s largest Halloween festival, and a local horror-head’s dream (or nightmare). Throughout the month of October on Fridays, Saturdays and a few special dates, head to the BMO Centre to experience six different themed haunted houses filled with ghouls, ghosts and other spooky creatures, all designed to guarantee a scream. There will also be plenty of games to play if you want to try your hand at winning some prizes. Tickets start at $30 for regular admission.

screamfest.ca

 

Imaginairium by WordFest

When: October 11 to 15, 2023

Considered one of Canada’s leading literary festivals, Wordfest’s Imaginairium strives to connect the “world’s best authors with the world’s best audiences.” This year’s lineup features 40 events and experiences, with a variety of celebrated writers including Ashley Audrain, Michelle Good, Claudia Dey and more.

Multiple venues, wordfest.com 

 

Rocky Mountain Food and Wine Festival

When: October 13 to 14, 2023

One of the city’s premier food events, the Rocky Mountain Food and Wine Festival is back to celebrate Alberta’s dining scene. Every year, this festival brings together some of Calgary’s top restaurants, food purveyors and drink-makers at the BMO Centre for a weekend that highlights many of Alberta’s best things to eat and drink. Tickets start at $33 for admission, with sample tickets available for purchase on-site.

BMO Centre, 20 Roundup Way S.E., rockymountainwine.com

 

Calgary Tattoo and Arts Festival

When: October 13 to 15, 2023

The Calgary Tattoo and Arts Festival gathers some of the best tattoo artists in the world under one roof to celebrate the tattoo industry and everything that goes along with it. Tattoo artists, vendors, performers and more will be in attendance — there will even be opportunities to get a tattoo there, if you’re up for it.

BMO Centre, 20 Roundup Way S.E., albertatattooshows.com

 

Pumpkin Fest

Pumpkin Fest at Granary Road. Photograph courtesy of Granary Road.

When: October 14 to 15, 2023

Celebrate fall by heading to Granary Road for the annual Pumpkin Fest. This autumn festival features a pumpkin hunt, games like mini golf, food and more for the whole family. Plus, on October 15 at 12 p.m., head to the Pumpkin Smash to see how much you can destroy your pumpkin (which gets fed to the animals of Granary Road, afterwards).

226066 112 St. W., granaryroad.com

 

GIRAF Festival of Independent Animation

When: November 16 to 19, 2023

Presented by Quickdraw Animation Society, GIRAF (Giant Incandescent Resonating Animation Festival) showcases and celebrates experimental independent animation, bringing together some of the best animators from Canada and around the world. The full lineup and details will be announced on November 1, but, for reference, 2022’s event featured more that 60 animated short and feature-length films.

giraffest.ca

 

CUFF.Docs

When: November 22 to 26, 2023

Presented by the Calgary Underground Film Festival, CUFF.Docs is showcasing more than 15 feature-length and short non-fiction films this year. There will be documentaries covering a wide range of topics, viewpoints and styles.

calgaryundergroundfilmfestival.org

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