40 of the Best Arts and Cultural Festivals in North America in 2018

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North America is home to endless opportunities to explore—and become a part of—the local culture.

 

Each year, events across all of the United States and Canada are held to showcase the diverse offerings that this continent is known for. Whether it’s a celebration of Hispanic culture in the Deep South, a summer escapade along the shores of British Columbia, or artists painting the next great masterpiece in the Grand Canyon, there is quite literally something for everyone and every taste in this region. And we salute the volunteers and organizers who strive to tell those stories each and every day, and invite their fellow citizens to bask in the beauty of each other’s culture.

With that being said, we here at FlightNetwork, North America’s leading travel agency, have been spending the last few weeks collecting and exploring the many great arts and cultural events that are happening here in 2018. The result is this: a must-see guide to some of the best arts and cultural events in North America this year. They’re happening in Ottawa and Ontario, Brooklyn and British Columbia, and Tucson and Toronto. And we cannot wait for you to check them all out—all 40 of them. Have any plans this summer? Well, now you might.

 

Check out the 40 best arts and cultural festivals happening in North America here:

June

1. June 6-10: Northside Festival2. Various dates in June, July, & August: Art on the Rocks  |  3. June 8-10: New Orleans Pride Festival  |  4. June 9: Magic City Caribbean Food & Music Festival

5. June 21-24: Tim Horton’s Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival  |  6. June 22-24: The Toronto Pride Festival

7. June 22-24: Redpath Waterfront Festival  |  8. June 23: Wienerfest Home County Festival

9. June 24, September 23: Embracing Your Journey Expo  |  10. June 29 – July 1: Canada Day in Kanata

 

July

1. July 2 – August 18: A Company of Fools Torchlight Shakespeare Series  |  2. July 5-8: TD Sunfest ’18  |  3. July 5-15: Indian Summer Festival

4. July 6-15: Calgary Stampede  | 5. July 13-15: Lakefield Literary Festival

6. July 13-15: Hillside Festival  |  7. July 14-15: Sloss Music & Arts Festival  |  8. July 17-22: Tales of the Cocktail  |  9. July 19-22: Saskatchewan Festival of Words

10. July 20-22: Capital Ukrainian Festival  |  11. July 27-29: Chinatown Night Market  |  12. July 28-29: 9th Annual Garlic Festival

 

August

1. August 1-5: New France Festival  |  2. August 1-6: Halifax Busker Festival  |  3. August 3-6: Icelandic Festival of Manitoba

4. August 4-5: Twins Days Festival  |  5. August 5: 40th Annual Pride Parade and Sunset Beach Festival  |  6. August 8-12: The Southeast Arizona Birding Festival

7. August 9-19: Ottawa Greek Festival 8. August 10-12: The Great India Festival

9. August 17-19: Dundas Cactus Festival  |  10. August 31 – September 2: MuslimFest  |  11. August 31-September 3: Steam-Era

 

September to November

1. September 7-9: SKOOKUM  |  2. September 8: 10th Annual Grand Canyon Celebration of Art  |  3. September 29: Fiesta

4. September 29: Pride in the Desert  |  5. October 11-13: Nocturne: Art at Night  |  6. October 13: 2018 Glassner Autumn Challenge

7. November 17: Mobile International Festival

 

***

June

1. June 6-10: Northside Festival – Brooklyn, New York

 

Over the last decade, Brooklyn, New York, has become the quote-unquote capital of cool, and to honor that tradition, there’s Northside. This five-day festival in early June brings together over 100,000 creative forces who are rethinking the status quo, for a marathon of performances, speaking engagements, and events. The location varies; Northside takes place in a number of North Brooklyn neighborhoods, through a network of small clubs, outdoor spaces, boutique hotels, movie theaters, and even on a boat this year. If something huge is happening in Brooklyn, it likely made a splash at Northside.

Tickets are available in a few packages, and prices depend on what you’re looking for: single shows, or badges that get you in to a variety of events. To find out more, you can check the site here.

 

2. Various dates in June, July, & August: Art on the Rocks – Birmingham, Alabama

Birmingham, Alabama, has long had a rich cultural history; one that still lures artists and musicians to this Deep South capital. Art on the Rocks taps into that hometown spirit with three Friday nights of fun to the Birmingham Museum of Art. Open to a diverse group of people, attendees can come enjoy artist collaborations, a number of immersive performances, great local food, live mural painting, and music from bands both from Birmingham, and beyond. This year, musical guests include The Suffers, Seratones, and Tank and the Bangas.

General admission tickets go for $25, but museum members get in for $15. The dates include: June 8th; July 27th; and August 17th. For more information on this year’s offerings, check out the site here.

 

3. June 8-10: New Orleans Pride Festival – New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans is already a city known for its raucous parties, so, naturally, its annual pride festival is no different. For one epic weekend in early June, over thirty events take over the city, everything from the Pride Glow — a huge party with six national acts and DJs — to the PrideFest, an open-air bazaar that features live entertainment, food, and fun for the whole family. Then, of course, there’s the parade through the Historic French Quarter, which, this year, will see 23 floats in the Mardi Gras fashion, and over 40,000 people walking to represent over 60 groups.

And guess what? It’s entirely free. So there’s really no reason to miss it. To find out more about the weekend’s many events, check out its site here.

 

4. June 9: Magic City Caribbean Food & Music Festival – Birmingham, Alabama

 

If you’re already in Birmingham, don’t go too far—that same weekend, the city also welcomes the Magic City Caribbean Food & Music Festival. An ode to the home of the Civil Rights Movement, the festival seeks to bring people of all backgrounds together for an inclusive, welcoming event. The afternoon and evening is organized by both Caribbean nationals and the local community in Birmingham, in an effort to bring together everywhere. It features a wide variety of delicious Caribbean food, native music, and a host of cultural traditions from the countries represented. Not to mention it’s free, and family-friendly.

To find out more about Magic City, you can check out coverage here.

 

 

5. June 21-24: Tim Horton’s Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival – Ottawa, Ontario

 

Since 1993, the Tim Horton’s Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival has taken over Canada’s capital for four days of entertainment, competition, and outdoor leisure. With tens of thousands of visitors and 200 registered teams—be it competitive, corporate, or from the community—the event is home to the largest dragon boating festival in North America. With admission, attendees have their fair share of concerts, performances, multi-cultural attractions, sports demos, artwork, delicious artisanal food, and exhibits to explore. And if you’re ready for a race, there’s also practically non-stop racing throughout. Just be sure to get a good seat.

There’s a children’s area for parents, and entry to get in is entirely free. So, in other words: what’s stopping you?

 

 

6. June 22-24: The Toronto Pride Festival – Toronto, Ontario

 

The largest LGBTQ+ pride festival in Canada returns again this year, with even more artist performances, educational events, vigils, marches, and, of course, the big parade on the corners of Bloor and Church Streets. This year, the opening night will feature a huge free concert in the middle of Yonge and Dundas Square, where DJs, drag queens, and other performers will take the stage for a night to remember. Over the weekend, the street fair in the village is open for anyone to shop, explore, and wander, as it displays a number of artisan and commercial wares. Aside from shopping, there’s also exhibits set up to teach attendees about advocacy happening in the local LGBTQ+ community. Because it has a license, Pride Toronto will also have a “Drinks on the Go” program outside for those above the legal drinking age. 

Per tradition, the festival is free to enter! Find out more here.

 

 

7. June 22-24: Redpath Waterfront Festival – Toronto, Ontario

 

Located along Toronto‘s shores, Redpath Waterfront Festival is, essentially, a festival all about summer. Sponsored by the Billy Bishop Airport, there’s a massive beach ball installation called HTO Pendulum Wave, made up of six, nearly seven-feet-tall beach balls to bounce on. There’s a circus performance called Aqua Cirque, which gathers its inspiration from the water. There’s a ton of summer treats and drinks at the Waterfront Artisan Market, and Wine & Spirit Festival. And there’s even the Royal Canadian Navy cruising up to shore on the legendary HMCS Oriole training vessel.

Parents: there are plenty of educational activities, carousel rides, acrobatic displays, and games for kids in the Family Fun Zone. And oh, the best part: it’s all free. Check out the site here.

 

 

8. June 23: Wienerfest Home County Festival – Embro, Ontario

 

As the organizers say, Wienerfest is “the only place you can come show your wiener, and not get arrested.” But in all seriousness, this celebration of all things Wiener (the dog) features the world-famous Wiener races, where over 100 Wiener dogs come out to compete for the title of Ontario’s fastest Wiener. But the festival isn’t just to watch Wieners—it doubles as a fundraiser to help dogs in need. Every dollar at this outdoor family event goes to a good cause, and attendees are invited to bring their pet to shop at the multitude of craft and artist booths on site.

Admission to the festival is entirely free. For photos of the Wieners in action, and more information on the event, check out the site here.

 

 

9. June 24, September 23: Embracing Your Journey Expo – Phoenix, Arizona

 

The Embracing Your Journey Expo in Phoenix, Arizona, is all about exploring alternate ideas, and healthier lifestyles. For one day in June and September, family and friends are welcome to browse the latest products on the market, and meet practitioners from all over the country, all in one place. Over sixty vendors are on site, featuring a wide variety of organic food, Aura photos, oils, and other clairvoyant services. With admission, attendees can participate in eight free lectures, hourly raffles, and free gift bags with swag for the first 100 guests.

In terms of ticket price, it’s $4.29 EUR in advance, and $6.86 EUR at the door. Kids 10 and under are allowed to enter for free. For more information, check out the expo’s site here.

 

 

10. June 29 – July 1: Canada Day in Kanata – Kanata, Ontario

 

Come celebrate Canada at this annual event in Kanata, Ontario. The three-day festival, which is open to everyone, is all about Canadian pride, and history. The midway takes attendees through a cluster of attractions, and entertainment booths. There are concerts showcasing local and national talent, with a family fun zone where children can participate in a host of arts and crafts, educational activities, and games. And then at night, the skies of Ontario come alive with firework shows that will have everyone in awe. And each year, over 30,000 people come out to see it.

To encourage an inclusive environment, the festival is free, and family-friendly. To see what’s in store this year, check out the site here.

 

Jump back to the 40 best arts and cultural festivals happening in North America here:

June

1. June 6-10: Northside Festival2. Various dates in June, July, & August: Art on the Rocks  |  3. June 8-10: New Orleans Pride Festival  |  4. June 9: Magic City Caribbean Food & Music Festival

5. June 21-24: Tim Horton’s Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival  |  6. June 22-24: The Toronto Pride Festival

7. June 22-24: Redpath Waterfront Festival  |  8. June 23: Wienerfest Home County Festival

9. June 24, September 23: Embracing Your Journey Expo  |  10. June 29 – July 1: Canada Day in Kanata

 

July

1. July 2 – August 18: A Company of Fools Torchlight Shakespeare Series  |  2. July 5-8: TD Sunfest ’18  |  3. July 5-15: Indian Summer Festival

4. July 6-15: Calgary Stampede  | 5. July 13-15: Lakefield Literary Festival

6. July 13-15: Hillside Festival  |  7. July 14-15: Sloss Music & Arts Festival  |  8. July 17-22: Tales of the Cocktail  |  9. July 19-22: Saskatchewan Festival of Words

10. July 20-22: Capital Ukrainian Festival  |  11. July 27-29: Chinatown Night Market  |  12. July 28-29: 9th Annual Garlic Festival

 

August

1. August 1-5: New France Festival  |  2. August 1-6: Halifax Busker Festival  |  3. August 3-6: Icelandic Festival of Manitoba

4. August 4-5: Twins Days Festival  |  5. August 5: 40th Annual Pride Parade and Sunset Beach Festival  |  6. August 8-12: The Southeast Arizona Birding Festival

7. August 9-19: Ottawa Greek Festival 8. August 10-12: The Great India Festival

9. August 17-19: Dundas Cactus Festival  |  10. August 31 – September 2: MuslimFest  |  11. August 31-September 3: Steam-Era

 

September to November

1. September 7-9: SKOOKUM  |  2. September 8: 10th Annual Grand Canyon Celebration of Art  |  3. September 29: Fiesta

4. September 29: Pride in the Desert  |  5. October 11-13: Nocturne: Art at Night  |  6. October 13: 2018 Glassner Autumn Challenge

7. November 17: Mobile International Festival

 

July

1. July 2 – August 18: A Company of Fools Torchlight Shakespeare Series – Ottawa, Ontario

 

 

If you live in the Ottawa area, you’ve might’ve heard of a Company of Fools—or even seen one of their shows yourself. But if not, then let this be an introduction: a Company of Fools is the city’s oldest professional Shakespeare company, touring parks around the Ottawa area with creative 90-minute spins on Shakespearean classics. Throughout the summer, their Torchlight Shakespeare Series invites people of all ages to come out to catch one of the 50 outdoor performances, sprinkled throughout the city. They happen rain or shine, six days a week (including Saturday matinées), and are pay-what-you-can. And anyone can come!

A show ticket goes for $20 CAD, and the summer schedule can be found here. Don’t miss a show this summer!

 

2. July 5-8: TD Sunfest ’18 – London, Ontario

 

Each year, over 220,000 visitors come out to London, Ontario, for TD Sunfest—an arts festival that features an array of well-known global music acts, and visual art media that is meant to be immersive, and expansive. This is its 24th year in business, and 2018 will see performances by Cuba’s Alain Pérez y su Orquesta and Mali’s Sidi Touré, as well as L.A.’s Las Cafeteras and Brazil’s Liniker e Os Caramelows. The year’s theme is “Roots, Riddims & Reggae,” a tribute to the Caribbean. But what TD Sunfest is, perhaps, most known for is its price—or lack thereof. The festival is entirely free, and meant to draw visitors from across the globe. And each year, that mission is a success.

To find out more about the event, check out the website here.

 

3. July 5-15: Indian Summer Festival – Vancouver, British Columbia

Where to begin with this eleven-day multi-faceted festival in the heart of British Columbia… perhaps with the Opening Party, where the city’s top chefs come together to let visitors taste-test the best dishes Vancouver has to offer. Another night, you can watch one of the world’s greatest flute players at the famous Orpheum Theatre; the next, high tea in the Ismaili Centre’s gorgeous gardens, with high orchestra playing in the background. There are talks and conversations with some of Canada’s leading figures around current events, and this year, the festival will see its first-ever free programming hub, PAUSE, which will feature work from South Asian and indigenous populations.

Ticket prices vary by event, from free to $125. For more details on what to expect this year, go to the Indian Summer Festival website here.

 

4. July 6-15: Calgary Stampede – Calgary, Alberta

 

Photo Credit: Shaun Robinson / Calgary Stampede

 

As organizers say, the Calgary Stampede is recognized worldwide as ‘The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth,’ for its vast size, diversity, and annual celebration of the region’s western heritage since 1912. Now, what that all means for you, the visitor, is massive rodeos, Chuckwagon racing, a nightly variety show, and concerts on four stages featuring over 80 renowned acts from the local, national, and international music scene. Aside from that, visitors are welcome to explore the festival’s midway, with a host of entertainment and activities to lose yourself in. Because in early July, this is where the energy of Calgary can be found.

Ticket prices vary: general admission goes for $18 CDN, seniors (65+) get in for $9 CDN, youth (7 – 12) pay $9 CDN, and children (6 and under) are free. There are also days with reduced fares, and special entry. To find out what’s happening, check out the site here.

 

 

5. July 13-15: Lakefield Literary Festival – Lakefield, Kawarthas

 

Featuring award-winning writers from the First Nation, local scene, and nationwide, the Lakefield Literary Festival falls right around Margaret Laurence’s birthday, in mid-July. Attendees are invited to a variety of conversations with authors, book signings, and other meet-and-greet opportunities throughout the town of Lakefield, less than two hours east of Toronto. In addition, there are workshops, a historical walk, an event for children’s authors and illustrators, and a writing contest for high school students in the area. In other words: there’s something for everyone.

A single ticket costs £15, while full event passes go for £72. To find out more, search the site here.

 

 

6. July 13-15: Hillside Festival – Guelph, Ontario

 

 

The Hillside Festival may appear to be an ordinary music festival, but it’s anything but that. It’s “an alternative island festival for the culturally adventurous,” says organizers. And in fact, the event has been led since the 1990s, featuring some of best up-and-coming indie and folk sounds around. With indie, indigenous, and world music playing across five stages, attendees are invited to participate in an Indigenous Circle, a Children’s Area, and a Drum & Dance copse. It prides itself off being eco-friendly, progressive, and arts-intensive, with a curated menu of food and drinks that Hillside has become known for. And what better place for this to all go down than on an island in southwestern Ontario?

Single day tickets start at $59, and full passes at $139. To prepare yourself for this year, check out the festival site here.

 

7. July 14-15: Sloss Music & Arts Festival – Birmingham, Alabama

 

 

As we mentioned before, Birmingham has a creative energy to it that the city has long thrived off of. And Sloss Fest is another major celebration of that — this two-day event is held at the Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark, an age-old industrial relic. On four stages, 44 bands are set to jam, amidst craft beer and imaginary cocktails, arts demonstrations and exhibits, and, since we are in an old furnace, live iron pouring demonstrations. That, and much, much more.

The single day tickets start at $75, and full weekend purchases can be grabbed starting at $130. For photos of that live iron pouring, check out the festival site here.

 

 

8. July 19-22: Saskatchewan Festival of Words – Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan

 

 

 

The Saskatchewan Festival of Words is the ultimate tribute to Saskatchewan culture in Canada; a four-day event that aims to bring the authors to the audience. Located in a four-block area in Moose Jaw‘s downtown area, the Festival of Words opens the floor to award-winning and new authors from across the country. There are a number of cultural events to attend, which include poetry slams, films, dramatic readings, concerts, theatre, author panels and discussions, workshops, and more. The setting is intimate, but the message is powerful.

A single ticket can be purchased for 7.68$, and weekly tickets can be bought for 135$. For more information on literary events to attend, check out the Festival of Word’s website here.

 

9. July 17-22: Tales of the Cocktail – New Orleans, Louisiana

When Tales of the Cocktail started 16 years ago, cocktail culture was a niche sensation, only beloved by connoisseurs and those in the know. A lot has changed since then. Now, craft cocktails are everywhere, and Tale of the Cocktail is a representation of that newfound love. Thousands descend on NOLA for this annual cocktail conference each year to participate in its competitions, seminars, demonstrations, and networking events with some of the most important players in the industry. Much of the proceeds of the festival go to the Tales of the Cocktail Foundation, which promotes the hospitality industry and its host communities. And this year will be particularly New-Orleans-themed, with a celebration of the city’s triennial.

Tickets depend on the event; for specific prices, check out the festival’s website here.

 

 

10. July 20-22: Capital Ukrainian Festival – Ottawa, Ontario

 

 

Ottawa celebrates its Ukrainian community with this weekend-long festival that invites people of all ages to musical performances, dances, and events, all aimed at honoring the Ukrainian tradition, and culture. (And yes, there are pirogies.) In addition, attendees are welcome to enjoy cooking demonstrations by an award-winning chef to see how the Ukrainian cuisine is made, as well as workshops on traditional beadwork, egg painting, and embroidery. At night, the after party goes into the late hours, with enough partying and eating to keep you up until dawn. There is also a significant amount of children’s activities, making the event truly one for everyone.

And finally, the kicker: the festival is free admission, and open to everyone. For more information on what to eat, drink, and see, check out the site here.

 

11. July 27-29: Ottawa Asian Night Market – Ottawa, Ontario

For those who haven’t experienced themselves firsthand, one of the great pleasures in life is the outdoor food markets in Asia, where vendors hawk their delicious eats in a massive open-air environment. Luckily, for those living or visiting Ottawa, they don’t have to venture that far to experience one. With the Chinatown Night Market, which is located at the stunning Chinatown Royal Gateway, the best chefs in town offer their dishes up to the public, with cultural performances and enough aromas to keep you around for a while.

And the best part: entry into the market is entirely free. To start salivating, check out the information and details here.

 

12. July 28-29: 9th Annual Garlic Festival – Dragoon, Arizona

 

Did you know that a good amount of North America’s garlic is grown in southwest America? Well then, the 9th Annual Garlic Festival is sure to enlighten you. This two-day event is the only garlic-centric festival in Arizona, featuring garlic-based foods of all sorts, all for you to try, and enjoy. There’s a farmers market where shoppers can explore local goods, and wine tasting of nearby vineyards. In addition, attendees can browse through many gift and craft booths that feature a variety of wares.

The festival is put on for charity, but attendees are asked to make a donation of $3.00 per car. To see how much garlic you’re in store for, check out the 9th Annual Garlic Festival’s site right here.

 

Don’t forget these arts and cultural festivals happening in North America this year here:

June

1. June 6-10: Northside Festival2. Various dates in June, July, & August: Art on the Rocks  |  3. June 8-10: New Orleans Pride Festival  |  4. June 9: Magic City Caribbean Food & Music Festival

5. June 21-24: Tim Horton’s Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival  |  6. June 22-24: The Toronto Pride Festival

7. June 22-24: Redpath Waterfront Festival  |  8. June 23: Wienerfest Home County Festival

9. June 24, September 23: Embracing Your Journey Expo  |  10. June 29 – July 1: Canada Day in Kanata

 

July

1. July 2 – August 18: A Company of Fools Torchlight Shakespeare Series  |  2. July 5-8: TD Sunfest ’18  |  3. July 5-15: Indian Summer Festival

4. July 6-15: Calgary Stampede  | 5. July 13-15: Lakefield Literary Festival

6. July 13-15: Hillside Festival  |  7. July 14-15: Sloss Music & Arts Festival  |  8. July 17-22: Tales of the Cocktail  |  9. July 19-22: Saskatchewan Festival of Words

10. July 20-22: Capital Ukrainian Festival  |  11. July 27-29: Chinatown Night Market  |  12. July 28-29: 9th Annual Garlic Festival

 

August

1. August 1-5: New France Festival  |  2. August 1-6: Halifax Busker Festival  |  3. August 3-6: Icelandic Festival of Manitoba

4. August 4-5: Twins Days Festival  |  5. August 5: 40th Annual Pride Parade and Sunset Beach Festival  |  6. August 8-12: The Southeast Arizona Birding Festival

7. August 9-19: Ottawa Greek Festival 8. August 10-12: The Great India Festival

9. August 17-19: Dundas Cactus Festival  |  10. August 31 – September 2: MuslimFest  |  11. August 31-September 3: Steam-Era

 

September to November

1. September 7-9: SKOOKUM  |  2. September 8: 10th Annual Grand Canyon Celebration of Art  |  3. September 29: Fiesta

4. September 29: Pride in the Desert  |  5. October 11-13: Nocturne: Art at Night  |  6. October 13: 2018 Glassner Autumn Challenge

7. November 17: Mobile International Festival

 

August

1. August 1-5: New France Festival – Québec City, Québec

 

 

Step back in time at this festive historical event in the heart of Québec City, where visitors are transported to the 17th and 18th century, when this area was still considered “New France.” The Fêtes de la Nouvelle-France (or “New France”) Festival opens to a number of gastronomic activities, and over 400 shows, reenactments, and lectures about the pomp and decor of this city and region’s cultural past. The beautiful cobblestone streets of the Canadian city come alive with hundreds of artists, crafters, and interpreters. As organizers say, “festive, historical, gastronomical are the three words that summarize the idea behind this festival.” You won’t even realize it’s 2018.

Tickets are only $10, and everyone’s welcome. For more information on the French festival, check out the site here.

 

2. August 1-6: Halifax Busker Festival – Halifax, Nova Scotia

 

Image made By Scott MunnImage made By Scott Munn

 

Seeing the famed Halifax Waterfront is already a trip worth making, but in early August, it takes on a whole new meaning with its annual Busker Festival. Over the course of six days, nearly 300 world-renowned street performers—ranging from magicians and acrobats, to comedians and flame-throwers—put on dazzling live shows there from noon to 10pm each day. Attendees can marvel at the various acts, while enjoying carnival rides and a traditional midway, featuring a variety of stalls and vendors. 2018 marks the Halifax Buster Festival’s 33rd year in existence, and this circus is expected to be as big as ever.

 

 

Entry is free, but tipping is encouraged. For more information on this year’s performers, check the site here.

 

3. August 3-6: Icelandic Festival of Manitoba – Gimli, Manitoba

 

 

Icelandic culture in Manitoba? Really? People often forget that this part of Canada is said to have roots in Viking past, but The Icelandic Festival of Manitoba, or Islendingadagurinn, is here to remind everyone that the tradition is still alive. With traditional Icelandic food, live music, events, and other cultural activities, attendees are welcome to enjoy this four-day volunteer-run event that aims to raise and deepen awareness in Icelandic culture. The backdrop of the beautiful, serene beach of Gimli may not feel Icelandic, but it’ll do. And hey, there are even Viking re-enactors around.

The cultural festival is entirely free to enter, and people of all ages are welcome to join. To see what’s in store for 2018, check out the site here.

 

4. August 4-5: Twins Days Festival – Twinsburg, Ohio

Alright, now this is one we’ve really never heard of before. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the Twins Day Festival in Twinsburg, Ohio, is the “largest annual gathering of twins in the world. Yes, that’s right—twins. Thousands of same-age siblings converge on this town 25 miles southeast of Cleveland every year for its Double Take parade, contests, talent shows, research area, and all the other makings of a good carnival: food, fireworks, entertainment, activities, and amusement rides. And don’t worry: non-twins are welcome to.

The two-day festival is only $4.00 to enter, and twins are encouraged to register for the official count upon arrival. You can check out the website for more info.

 

5. August 5: 40th Annual Pride Parade and Sunset Beach Festival – Vancouver, British Columbia

 

 

Each year, over 600,000 tourists and locals come to Vancouver for its annual Pride Parade and Sunset Beach Festival — a one-day extravaganza that celebrates the city’s diversity, and inclusiveness of the LGBTQAI2S+ community. So what will the 40th anniversary bring? This year, the parade is slated to be bigger than ever, which is then followed by the Sunset Beach Festival. The beach-side Pride festival features a main stage for performances, a Vendor Village, a number of delicious food trucks, roving performers, a Family Fun Zone for children, and, of course, the stunning view of the North Shore Mountains in the background. What’s not to like?

Keeping with tradition, the 40th annual celebration will be entirely free, and open to anyone. For more information on what to expect this year, check out the festival’s site here.

 

 

6. August 8-12: The Southeast Arizona Birding Festival – Tucson, Arizona

 

Paging all Audubon obsessives: the Southeast Arizona Birding Festival is back at it this year, returning as one of North America’s most prominent birding events. Birders from across the globe come to Tucson to see the diverse species, like the Elegant Trogon, in southeast Arizona. Each day of the event, attendees are offered a number of field trip opportunities to see exotic birds in the field, and this year will include a new overnight birding trip to the Sky Islands! If you’re a bird lover, this one is not to miss.

Prices vary by activity. To find out more about this exciting event, check out The Southeast Arizona Birding Festival’s website here.

 

7. August 9-19: Ottawa Greek Festival – Ottawa, Ontario

 

 

Opa! If you’ve heard the expression in Ottawa, it must be that time of the year again for the Ottawa Greek Festival. Get the chance to “Live a Day the Greek Way” with this days-long event, featuring incredible Greek food like gyro and souvlaki, music, cultural traditions, and dance. Don’t miss the sweets that the Mediterranean nation is known for, like loukoumades and baklava. Visits to the ornate Orthodox Church are encouraged, and attendees are told to be ready for the Zorba Show, which features famous fire and plate breaking. You’ll be back in Greece in no time.

Admission to this event is free, and people of all ages are welcome. To find out where the baklava is hiding, check out the festival’s website here.

 

8. August 10-12: The Great India Festival – Ottawa, Ontario

 

 

Around that same time in Ottawa, don’t forget to pay a visit to another major cultural event happening nearby: the Great India Festival. The cultural marathon strives to establish inter-cultural interaction and understanding by creating a festival that everyone can enjoy. India’s rich heritage is put on display through the performing arts, workshops, food, embroidery and handiwork, as well as famous movies, and documentaries. It is a chance for everyone to dive into Indian culture, and come out knowing—and loving—more.

The event is run by volunteers, and costs nothing to enter. So what are you waiting for? Go to the website today.

 

9. August 17-19: Dundas Cactus Festival – Dundas, Ontario

 

 

For the last 42 years, the Dundas Cactus Festival has invited visitors and locals to the historic streets of this Ontario city. There, attendees of all ages are invited to enjoy the three-day street festival, which highlights the history, arts, and culture of the Dundas scene. Activities span from multi-disciplinary arts and demonstrations, to free musical and interactive performances. It also is on a mission to be green: the festival strives to be zero-waste, and has increased its diversion from 12 to 68 percent in just three years.

Be a part of the Dundas Cactus Festival for no cost at all: tickets are free. And find out what’s happening this year on the site here.

 

10. August 31 – September 2: MuslimFest – Mississauga, Toronto

 

 

Perhaps more important now than ever, MuslimFest (or better known as MFEST) strives to make facets of Muslim culture mainstream, with a lineup of young musicians, poets, artists, painters, and comedians that aim to not only entertain the audience, but, also, establish a dialogue with Canadians of all shapes, and sizes. There is also an emphasis placed on artistic heritage, with a resulting fusion of Islamic traditions  a

nd the modern way of life in Canada. Each year, the event draws 45,000 visitors to Mississauga, Ontario; 2018 is its 15th anniversary, and expected to be its biggest one yet.

The volunteer-run event is free, and open to everyone. Check out what’s in store here.

 

11. August 31-September 3: Steam-Era – Milton, Ontario

 

 

We know what you’re thinking: no, this isn’t a steampunk-themed festival. On the contrary, Steam-Era is a long-running annual celebration over Labour Day weekend thrown by Ontario’s Steam & Antique Preservers Association. The idea is to educate the public on the region’s agrarian past, with a host of exhibits and demonstrations on members’ antique models, and cars & trucks. You can even learn how to drive a tractor, join in on the daily parades, participate in a threshing competition and tractor pull, and browse the many crafts, vendors, and activities on display.

Tickets cost $9.68 USD, or 12.50 CAD, for a single day entry. Interested? Find out more here.

 

Jump back to the 40 best arts and cultural festivals happening in North America here:

June

1. June 6-10: Northside Festival2. Various dates in June, July, & August: Art on the Rocks  |  3. June 8-10: New Orleans Pride Festival  |  4. June 9: Magic City Caribbean Food & Music Festival

5. June 21-24: Tim Horton’s Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival  |  6. June 22-24: The Toronto Pride Festival

7. June 22-24: Redpath Waterfront Festival  |  8. June 23: Wienerfest Home County Festival

9. June 24, September 23: Embracing Your Journey Expo  |  10. June 29 – July 1: Canada Day in Kanata

 

July

1. July 2 – August 18: A Company of Fools Torchlight Shakespeare Series  |  2. July 5-8: TD Sunfest ’18  |  3. July 5-15: Indian Summer Festival

4. July 6-15: Calgary Stampede  | 5. July 13-15: Lakefield Literary Festival

6. July 13-15: Hillside Festival  |  7. July 14-15: Sloss Music & Arts Festival  |  8. July 17-22: Tales of the Cocktail  |  9. July 19-22: Saskatchewan Festival of Words

10. July 20-22: Capital Ukrainian Festival  |  11. July 27-29: Chinatown Night Market  |  12. July 28-29: 9th Annual Garlic Festival

 

August

1. August 1-5: New France Festival  |  2. August 1-6: Halifax Busker Festival  |  3. August 3-6: Icelandic Festival of Manitoba

4. August 4-5: Twins Days Festival  |  5. August 5: 40th Annual Pride Parade and Sunset Beach Festival  |  6. August 8-12: The Southeast Arizona Birding Festival

7. August 9-19: Ottawa Greek Festival 8. August 10-12: The Great India Festival

9. August 17-19: Dundas Cactus Festival  |  10. August 31 – September 2: MuslimFest  |  11. August 31-September 3: Steam-Era

 

September to November

1. September 7-9: SKOOKUM  |  2. September 8: 10th Annual Grand Canyon Celebration of Art  |  3. September 29: Fiesta

4. September 29: Pride in the Desert  |  5. October 11-13: Nocturne: Art at Night  |  6. October 13: 2018 Glassner Autumn Challenge

7. November 17: Mobile International Festival

 

September to November

 

1. September 7-9: SKOOKUM – Vancouver, British Columbia

 

 

We know what you’re thinking: what is SKOOKUM? Let’s start with the basics: SKOOKUM is held every year in Vancouver’s idyllic Stanley Park, minutes away from the city centre. It is a festival that mixes modern music with delectable food, and immersive art. Across the grounds, festival-goers can enjoy the sounds of legendary and new talent, while exploring multimedia installations created by local artists. Come hungry to enjoy the many food trucks that hold down the fort here, with dishes from some of Vancouver’s best chefs. And while you’re at it, try some spirits from British Columbia’s many vineyards, distilleries, and craft breweries.

A single day pass can be purchased for prices starting at $114 CDN, and a regular weekend pass goes for $319 CDN. Now you know what SKOOKUM is, check out the site here.

 

2. September 8: 10th Annual Grand Canyon Celebration of Art – Grand Canyon, Arizona

 

 

None of us need a reason to go to the Grand Canyon—it’s already one of the most mystifying, sublime natural areas in the world. That’s why every year, the Celebration of Art there invites artists to paint “en plein air,” or outside on location,” for an entire week. The works produced during that time are displayed alongside other studio-produced pieces at the famous Kolb Studio, in a sale and exhibition that lasts four months. The festival encourages attendees to bask in the beauty of the Grand Canyon, with proceeds going to the Kolb Studio.

Because nature has no price tag, the event, which is now in its 10th year, is entirely free. However, visiting the Grand Canyon itself costs $35 per car for a week-long visit; those who have a National Parks pass enter for free. Find out more here.

 

3. September 29: Fiesta – Birmingham, Alabama

 

 

Because what good would a list of best arts & cultural festivals be without one dedicated to Hispanic heritage, and pride? Case in point: Fiesta. Alabama’s largest Hispanic-centric festival takes place in Birmingham (we told you about this city…), and invites over 15,000 patrons to engage with 20 represented countries. The best of Latin American culture—its art, music, food, and dance—is on display, with all proceeds going to fund scholarships for Hispanic students. The 16th year is expected up to be bigger and better than ever, with two live music stages featuring exciting Latin American talent, food from the best Latin restaurants in Birmingham, and villages for family, culture, health, and community.

Tickets for this one-day event go for $10 at the gate, with children under 10 entering for free. To find out more about this event, check out the site here.

 

4. September 29: Pride in the Desert – Tucson, Arizona

 

Founded in 1977, Tucson Pride is the oldest LGBTQI+ organization in this southwestern state, and each year, they throw their annual Pride festival. Last year marked 40 years, and 2018 will start a new chapter, with the theme of “Tucson Pride: New Beginnings,” focused on where the organization can go from here. In addition to the massive parade through Tucson, at least 50 vendors and exhibitors are available for browsing, with major headliners and local talent expected to amaze the crowds. Several food and drink sellers are also on site for day-long festivities, which saw over 3,500 people last year.

A ticket for the Pride in the Desert event is $20. To see who’s playing this year, check out the festival’s website here.

 

5. October 11-13: Nocturne: Art at Night – Halifax and Dartmouth, Nova Scotia

 

Nocturne: Art at Night may be three days long, but the one night not to miss is Saturday, October 12. That’s when over 35,000 people take over the streets of these two Nova Scotian towns for what’s considered the largest arts night east of Montreal. The standout events include the Ferry-oke—or, essentially, karaoke on the Halifax Ferry—as well as the Anchor Project Program, which brings together both nationally and internationally recognized artists for events throughout the day, and night. The festival prides itself on patronage, having supported hundreds of artists through grants in the past. And on this one night, the general public is invited to take part in the fun.

Last but not least, the event is entirely free to enter. Sound good? Then check out the festival’s site for more details here.

 

6. October 13: 2018 Glassner Autumn Challenge – Montgomery, Alabama

 

 

And furthermore, what festival guide for arts and cultural events would be complete without a bike ride? The Montgomery Bicycle Club of Alabama will celebrates its 11th ride of the year, with a “Tour de River Region” Cycling Safety Party that aims to raise awareness for cycling safety, and rider information. The safety is the focus of the event, and music helps cyclists get amped up for the morning ride. And along the ride, attendees can check out the Rusty Nuts Band playing live 50s and 60s tunes. If you miss them on the road, you can catch them at packet pick-up later that night. See you on the road!

It’s $60 to enter this race, and at least 500 people attend each year. For more information on how to get involved, you can check the site here.

 

7. November 17: Mobile International Festival – Mobile, Alabama

 

 

Not far from Birmingham lies Mobile, Alabama—another destination for rich lessons in history, culture, and ethnic diversity. That’s where the Mobile International Festival comes in. Attendees are invited to see the world in a day, as the event features over 70 countries, with a host of cultural exhibits and entertainment from each representative nation. But let’s not forget the most popular part: the food. Each country offers visitors a taste of its culinary cuisine, with samplings abound. If you’re lucky (and hungry), you can hit all 70.

The single-day event costs $12 to enter, and some 20,000 people come each year. To find out more about what countries will be represented this year, check the website here.

 

 

Jump back to North America’s best arts and cultural festivals here:

June

1. June 6-10: Northside Festival2. Various dates in June, July, & August: Art on the Rocks  |  3. June 8-10: New Orleans Pride Festival  |  4. June 9: Magic City Caribbean Food & Music Festival

5. June 21-24: Tim Horton’s Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival  |  6. June 22-24: The Toronto Pride Festival

7. June 22-24: Redpath Waterfront Festival  |  8. June 23: Wienerfest Home County Festival

9. June 29, September 23: Embracing Your Journey Expo  |  10. June 29 – July 1: Canada Day in Kanata

 

July

1. July 2 – August 18: A Company of Fools Torchlight Shakespeare Series  |  2. July 5-8: TD Sunfest ’18  |  3. July 5-15: Indian Summer Festival

4. July 6-15: Calgary Stampede  | 5. July 13-15: Lakefield Literary Festival

6. July 13-15: Hillside Festival  |  7. July 14-15: Sloss Music & Arts Festival  |  8. July 17-22: Tales of the Cocktail  |  9. July 19-22: Saskatchewan Festival of Words

10. July 20-22: Capital Ukrainian Festival  |  11. July 27-29: Chinatown Night Market  |  12. July 28-29: 9th Annual Garlic Festival

 

August

1. August 1-5: New France Festival  |  2. August 1-6: Halifax Busker Festival  |  3. August 3-6: Icelandic Festival of Manitoba

4. August 4-5: Twins Days Festival  |  5. August 5: 40th Annual Pride Parade and Sunset Beach Festival  |  6. August 8-12: The Southeast Arizona Birding Festival

7. August 9-19: Ottawa Greek Festival 8. August 10-12: The Great India Festival

9. August 17-19: Dundas Cactus Festival  |  10. August 31 – September 2: MuslimFest  |  11. August 31-September 3: Steam-Era

 

September to November

1. September 7-9: SKOOKUM  |  2. September 8: 10th Annual Grand Canyon Celebration of Art  |  3. September 29: Fiesta

4. September 29: Pride in the Desert  |  5. October 11-13: Nocturne: Art at Night  |  6. October 13: 2018 Glassner Autumn Challenge

7. November 17: Mobile International Festival

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