10 Winter Festivals to Check Out in Calgary

From food and drink events to cultural celebrations, here are 10 Calgary festivals coming up this winter.

Chinook Blast 2023. Photo by Neil Zeller/Tourism Calgary.

High Performance Rodeo

When: January 15 to February 4, 2024

One Yellow Rabbit’s High Performance Rodeo is a multidisciplinary arts festival with an array of live productions featuring dance, music, theatre, puppetry and more. Don’t miss your chance to check out one of the many experimental and contemporary works on offer. Single event tickets are available, or you can purchase a flex pass, which includes four tickets for the performances you want to see. Check out the full lineup online.



MS Calgary Whisky Festival

When: January 18, 2024

Whisky fans, unite! Held in support of the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada, the MS Calgary Whisky Fest features hundreds of different whiskeys to sample from whisky makers around the world. “Master Class” ticket holders will also be able to attend classes and learn about how whisky is made, what makes different whiskeys special and more. There will also be a silent auction, vendor tastings, snacks throughout the evening and more.



Big Winter Classic

When: January 24 to 28, 2024

Born as a way to celebrate Calgary’s live music scene even in the depths of winter, Big Winter Classic brings music, arts and culture together in the Beltline. As one of the festival partners of Chinook Blast, Big Winter Classic consists of five days of music, arts, comedy and performance — as well as workshops and panel discussions — at local bars and breweries in the Beltline to get Calgarians out of their homes for some winter fun.



La Poutine Week

When: February 1 to 7, 2024

Love poutine? Of course you do. There’s no better food combination than crispy fries, melty cheese curds and warm gravy. Started in Montreal more than a decade ago, this celebration of poutine has now spread across Canada, including here in Calgary. During La Poutine Week, local restaurants will offer an array of creative poutine options. A full list of participating restaurants will be released closer to the event date.



YYC Hot Chocolate Festival

When: February 1 to 29, 2024

Held in partnership with Meals on Wheels, YYC Hot Chocolate Fest is an annual event where local restaurants, cafés and chocolatiers compete to create the best hot chocolate in the city, as decided by Calgarians. Partial proceeds from the hot chocolate sales go towards supporting Meals on Wheels, with nearly $100,000 raised for the charity in 2023.



Chinook Blast

When: February 2 to 19, 2024

One of the city’s biggest and brightest winter festivals, Chinook Blast returns for its fourth year of lighting up Calgary’s downtown core. The massive celebration features live music, light installations, art presentations, cultural performances, sporting events and more, all taking place throughout the downtown area. From February 2 to 19, head to Stephen Avenue and the surrounding area to take in the festival’s popular (and instagrammable) light and art installations, or check out high-adrenaline events like the Nitro Rallycross or the Snow Rodeo.



Exposure Photography Festival

When: February 2 to March 3, 2024

Celebrating its 20th anniversary, this popular event showcases the work of local and international photographers. This year’s festival is hosted by Contemporary Calgary, where the annual Emerging Photographer’s Showcase and International Open Call exhibitions will be held, along with plenty of other exhibitions at partner venues throughout the month. Keep an eye on the festival website for more information being released in January.



Ethnik Festival of Arts & Culture

When: February 9 and 10, 2024

One of the local events marking Black History Month, Ethnik Festival of Arts & Culture celebrates the voices and cultural traditions of Alberta’s African and Caribbean communities. For the Calgary Food War portion of the festival on February 9, four local chefs will compete in a friendly culinary competition, judged by a to-be-announced international food celebrity. The main event will take place on February 10, with art, dance, music and other cultural presentations.



Block Heater

When: February 15 to 17, 2024

Presented by Calgary Folk Fest, Block Heater, now in its ninth year, defies the idea that music festivals should only take place in the summer. This year’s event consists of 27 musical performances by artists such as Jesse Roper, Matt Holubowski and Dustbowl Revival. Shows will take place at venues throughout the city, including The Palace Theatre, Ironwood Stage & Grill and the free stage at Olympic Plaza. See the full 2024 lineup of musicians online.



Winefest Calgary

When: March 1 and 2, 2024

Head to the BMO Centre on March 1 and 2 for Winefest Calgary, a celebration of all things vino. Have a wine in mind you’ve always wanted to try, but can’t bring yourself to buy a full bottle? Here, you can sample hundreds of different wines from regions around the world while also enjoying a selection of small bites from local restaurants and food producers. Tickets include all-inclusive wine samples, hors d’oeuvres and sample glass to take home.


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