Spring officially begins on March 20 this year, and its arrival means that Calgarians will soon have some exciting new and beloved festivals to check out again. Here’s a run-down of a few of the biggest festivals happening this spring in the city, and one in Banff, too.
Festival of Animated Objects
When: March 14 to April 2
Now in its 12th year, this festival celebrates all forms of performance that breathe life into the inanimate. From smaller traditional puppets to large-scale, fantastical creatures, this festival brings the best of puppetry and mask performers to Alberta. Check out performances, workshops and movie screenings at various locations around the city.
YYC Food & Drink Experience
When: March 17 to 26
This celebration of Calgary’s incredible dining scene invites you to visit participating restaurants for special prix-fixe menus. Enjoy a special lunch ($25 or $35), three-course dinner ($35 or $45) or gourmet dining experience ($65 or $75).There will also be special events throughout the food festival, like a brunch experience at Fortuna’s Row with Top Chef Canada winner Tre Sanderson.
Made With Love – Banff Food and Cocktail Festival
When: April 10 to 23
This mountain culinary festival features more than 25 Banff restaurants (including Bluebird, Lupo and Magpie & Stump) and offers special cocktail and food pairings during the two-week event. There’s also a number of noteworthy food and beverage events happening — stop by the Wildlife Cocktail Competition at Rundle Bar, attend the Cocktail Festival on Bear Street or the industry symposium with talks from food and beverage industry experts.
Calgary Underground Film Festival
When: April 20 to 30
Every year, Calgary Underground Film Festival (CUFF) brings the best in independent documentaries and films of all genres to the stage for one of the city’s biggest celebrations of film. This year, the festival has been expanded to 11 days for the 20th anniversary of CUFF, set to be the largest iteration yet. The full lineup of films will be announced on March 30.
When: April 27 to 30
The Calgary Expo brings together all fandoms to celebrate sci-fi, horror, video games, comics and anime under one roof. During this four-day expo, meet and have your photo taken with guests and celebrities, take part in gaming tournaments, or dress up and show off your best cosplay.
Calgary International Beerfest
When: May 5 and 6
This yearly event gathers some of the best craft breweries around under one roof. Try samples from some of the hundreds of participating breweries to find your new favourite hoppy beverage. Plus, there will be food pairings from local restaurants and you can even try your hand at making your own beer by taking in one of the many seminars.
When: June 4
The popular Lilac Festival is back for another year to celebrate the arrival of warm weather in Calgary. With 4th Street S.W. in Mission (between 12 Avenue S.W. and Elbow Drive S.W.) open only to foot traffic, festival-goers can expect activities for all ages. Multiple stages will host performances throughout the day while hundreds of vendors serve up food and sell local handmade goods.