Tween and teen

11 cool community festivals across the country

Grab the kids and check out some of the country's best community festivals.

By Bonnie Schiedel

community festivals Photo: Puppets Up! International Puppet Festival

British Columbia

Parksville Beach Fest
July 10–August 16 Held in Parksville on Vancouver Island, Beach Fest’s main attraction is the Canadian Open Sand Sculpting Competition & Exhibition. Check out incredible sand sculptures and take part in events like a fireworks display, kite festival, art in the park and concerts.

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Tofino Lantern Festival August 16 2015

The Tofino Botanical Gardens offers a dazzling one-day light show worthy of the trek to Vancouver Island. Lanterns from past festivals have varied in design from star constellations to planets to even local mushrooms! Be on the lookout for some funky shapes lighting up the sky this year. The event also includes a children’s lantern parade, music, dancing, a laser show and fire spinning.

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Marda Gras Street Festival August 9

The colourful Mardi Gras-themed festival takes place in Calgary’s Marda Loop neighbourhood, but you’ll really feel like you’re in New Orleans. Come and enjoy delicious Creole food, live music, street performers and art. Don’t forget to check out the kids’ quarter for some bouncy castle fun, face painting, crafts and games.

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Whoop-Up Days Family Festival August 18 – 22

Held in Lethbridge, this annual festival, exhibition and rodeo is fun for the whole family. The five-day event includes a parade, daily concerts (including three-time Juno award-winning artists The Sheepdogs) and the CPRA Pro Rodeo. The kids will especially love the Water Fun with Wobbly Balls attraction, which lets you walk on water in an orb ($10 for 10 minutes of water walking)!

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Standing Buffalo First Nation Powwow
August 7–9 Listen to pulse-quickening music and singing, watch competitive dancers clad in traditional garb, and even sample some buffalo meat at one of Saskatchewan’s oldest powwows. It’s held in Fort Qu’Appelle, about an hour from Regina.

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Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival – Kids Fringe July 16 – 26

There’s a theatre performance for everyone at Winnipeg’s Fringe Theatre Festival. With more than 100 shows for all ages. Tots will love Kids Fringe, a special 10-day event geared toward little theatre lovers. Come to Old Market Square and enjoy an array of free children’s activities, including storytellers, songwriting workshops, a colouring contest and a juggling how-to from Sleepy the Clown. Check out the Kids Venue for child-friendly shows by international children’s performing companies with titles like Squirrel Stole My Underpants.

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Puppets Up! International Puppet Festival
August 7–9 Based in the scenic small town of Almonte, southwest of Ottawa, this festival hosts puppet troupes performing everything from classic tales like Peter Pan to original works about an intergalactic band, an underwater fantasy and pigs in a canoe.

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Woofa-Roo Pet Fest August 8 – 9

This festival in Amherstburg, near Windsor, is for pets and pet lovers alike. The event includes a doggy relay race, a pet costume contest, live music and face painting. This year the festival will also host exotic animals such as sweet little sugar gliders and creepy-crawly tarantulas. Kids will love the new children’s zone inside the Libro Complex, where they can join storytime or hang out with superheroes. You won't want to miss Kira, the Enchanted Princess, who will be singing well-known Disney songs.

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Les Fêtes de la Nouvelle-France
August 5 – 9

Travel back in time to the 17th and 18th centuries for this unique event that takes you inside the walls of Old Québec. Get ready for dancing, parades, colourful shows and street performers. If you’d like, dress your crew up in period costumes for a truly authentic time.

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Atlantic Canada

Southern Shore Shamrock Festival July 25 – 26

Celebrating its 30th anniversary, this Celtic-themed festival in Ferryland (about an hour from St. John’s) boasts a fantastic fireworks show. Experience the best of Newfoundland and Labrador and Irish music with a lineup that includes The Dunne Family, Middle Tickle and Jackie Sullivan. Bring the kids out on Sunday for plenty of fun activities like a bouncy castle, a dunk tank, face painting and ice cream.

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Dieppe International Kite Festival
August 12–16 Hundreds of kite fliers from around the world meet at Dover Park in Dieppe, NB, to send their intricate kites soaring. Try your hand at “Rokkaku” (combat flying in which you knock down other kites) and take part in a bunch of kid-friendly activities.

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A version of this article appeared in our Summer 2015 issue with the headline “Make This Your Best Summer Ever,” pp. 91-96.