Alberta Summer Festivals To See In 2016

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SLED ISLAND CALGARY
Sled Island attendees take in a concert in Calgary. | Sled Island/Facebook
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Summer festival season is coming into full swing and there are so many wonderful things to see and do around the province.

Yes, there's the Calgary Stampede and Edmonton's K-Days, but there are so many more diverse and exciting festivals to check out.

Here are some of the best festivals to help you maximize your fun in the sun in Alberta this summer:

Waterton Wildflower Festival (June 19 to 24)


Waterton National Park is one of Canada's most beautiful destinations, and it's also the country's wildflower capital.

The park is home to over 1,000 plant species, some of which are rare and only blossom in the Waterton area.

But you do more than just gaze at perennials at a wildflower festival.

Creative types can try out photo workshops, while scientific-minded visitors can learn about the important roles that bears play in wildflower ecosystems.

Sled Island (June 22 to 26)


Sled Island might be Alberta's most eclectic festival. From music of all genres, to art, film and comedy, it has something for everyone.

Peaches is the festival's guest curator this year, and she has some exciting picks joining the 250 bands that will play in Calgary venues in June.

One of the best parts of Sled is its bike-friendly vibe. A noise band is wrapping up at an art gallery just 15 minutes before you need to be an an intimate, acoustic set in a hot dog joint? No problem. Just cycle over — there's bike parking provided at nearly every venue.

Lethbridge Dragon Boat Festival (June 24 to 26)


Ready, set, row.

Lethbridge is home to the largest dragon boat festival in Alberta, attracting over 60 teams to compete from around western Canada.

Just as exciting as the races are the drum performances and dragon dances on the main stage.

Cyclepalooza (July 1 to 10)

Cyclepalooza is a DIY bike festival — that means anyone can create an event. Want to organize a pub crawl along the bike lanes? How about a game of bike polo? It can be whatever you make it.

One of the festival's most enjoyable staples every year is Bike Prom, where attendees dress up in their snazziest prom wear and ride to the party together.

Edmonton International Street Performers Festival (July 8 to 17)


A wild whirlwind of tightrope walkers, breakdancers and improv actors have taken over Edmonton in July for the past 30 years.

The festival attracts some of the world's top street performers, and admission is free (but tips are appreciated).

Kanfest (August 5 to 7)


Not every summer festival has to involve loud bands and cold beer (although that sounds pretty great). Kanfest — or the Kananaskis Whitewater Kayaking Festival — is perfect for those seeking a bit more adventure.

There are plenty of activities for both beginners and pros, including races, workshops, and style competitions.

Cariwest (August 5 to 7)


Cariwest initially started as part of Edmonton's Klondike Days for Caribbean immigrants to celebrate their culture. Now, it's grown to a three-day extravaganza that attracts tens of thousands of visitors each year.

Enjoy some incredible jerk kebabs while checking out the spectacular costumes and steel drums at the Great Parade.

Edmonton Airshow (August 6 and 7)


Canada's first airport was located at Edmonton's Blatchford Field. It's the perfect city to learn all about the history of aviation, and watch pilots perform death-defying feats.

If you've always wanted to be a pilot (or have a kid who dreams of taking to the skies), there are opportunities to chat with the navigators and check out their planes first-hand.

Calgary Omatsuri Festival (August 13)


"Omatsuri" is Japanese for "traditional festival." Visitors will have the chance to enjoy and learn about traditional Japanese culture, including music, cuisine and martial arts demonstrations.

Paro, a brand of robo-seals popular in Japan (yes, that's right) will be making an appearance. It's worth grabbing a selfie with one of the world's cutest droids.

Globalfest (August 18 to 27)


Dozens of countries from around the world serve up incredible eats at this international event. But the real fun starts after dark. Globalfest is a primarily a fireworks competition — countries compete with elaborate, explosive displays set to music.

The dazzling shows shine over Calgary's Elliston Park, giving it an ethereally beautiful dimension.

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