Canadian festivalgoers, never fret! You may have missed a few early summer heavy hitters, but August is packed with fun-filled festivals for music lovers, families, foodies, art enthusiasts and yes, even the odd Viking fans (and no, we're not talking about the sports team). From coast to coast, the party is on and Canadians are flooding the streets to celebrate with BBQ corn in tow.
August often starts off with a bang thanks to epic fests like Montreal’s Osheaga Music and Arts Festival, Toronto’s Caribana and the Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival. But what about the lesser known festivals? Well, the good news is that they're as diverse as this nation.
They may not be the most famous or celebrated, but the following festivities radiate pure summer joy for the whole family. Enthusiastic crowds, lively entertainment and exciting activities guaranteed!
August's Forgotten Festivals. Slideshow text follows for mobile readers.
Islendingadagurinn, August 3rd -5th
More commonly known as the Icelandic Festival of Manitoba, attendees of Islendingadagurinn will get a thorough taste of Icelandic culture and heritage in Gimli, Manitoba, located just over one hour north of Winnipeg. This year marks the 124th anniversary of Iselendingadagurinn. Activities include a parade, traditional costume displays, a Viking village and tasty Icelandic treats.
Rastafest, August 24th
Book your dreadlock appointment early because the international reggae concert Rastafest is coming back to Toronto. The celebration of Rastafarian lifestyle, music, food, art, dance and history culminates into one colourful day at Downsview Park. Headliners Queen Ifrica, Everton Blender and ScrewDriver join an ensemble of talented Reggae performers from around the world. Families and friends should also take advantage of the free Rasta workshops in African drumming, dance and dub.
Festival De La Poutine De Drummondville, August 22nd – 24th
Celebrate the mouthwatering combination of crispy fries, savory gravy and squeaky cheese curds at the annual Poutine Festival in Drummondville, Quebec. Enjoy nightly musical performances (Radio Radio, Karim Ouellet, Lisa Leblanc, Cœur de Pirate, and more) while gorging on Quebec’s culinary speciality from six of the region’s best restaurateurs.
Chocolate Fest, August 3rd –10th
Satisfy your sweet tooth in St. Stephen, New Brunswick. The 29th annual ChocolateFest delights the senses and lets you discover everything you ever wanted to know about the cocoa treat. Chocolate making workshops, chocolate themed-dinners, chocolate heritage walking tours and let’s not forget, tons of tastings make this weeklong event oh-so-sweet!
Balloonapalooza, August 17th – 18th
Windsor, Ontario’s most colourful festival yet, the 3rd annual Balloonapalooza is a family festival featuring over 80 cold and hot air balloons and inflatables up to 50 feet (over 15 meters) wide. Live music, circus acts and even Canada’s most talented balloon artists are on deck to entertain visitors, big and small.
Pirate Festival, August 3rd – 5th
"Ahoy, me hearties!" Calling all pirates, scallywags and wenches. You won’t get seasick on this pirate adventure hosted in the landlocked town of Milton, Ontario. Patch-eyed performers and hilarious storytellers stage a great show for young and old pirates alike. Let your imagination run wild as you learn the art of being a buccaneer. Costumed magicians, jugglers, actors, musicians and even a few burlesque dancers are also on deck.