February in Edmonton is for Variety!

Remember to check out ShareEdmonton for a more comprehensive list of events – I usually just choose the ones I’m interested in. Mack already has 30 events for Family Day entered into the calendar!

  • Need something to read? Check out the Winter Blues Books 2 Buy book sale at Stanley Milner, February 5-7.
  • Celebrate Chinese New Year early at the Lunar New Year Extravaganza, at WEM’s Ice Palace, February 6-7, 10am-9pm each day. Performances and a marketplace are highlights.
  • The John Humphrey Centre began a Human Rights Cafe series last month, “to explore critical human rights issues and how these are a part of our daily lives.” They take place monthly at Three Bananas Cafe. The next one takes place on February 7.
  • The Winter 2010 Edmonton Film Society series is titled “Having a Heat Wave”, and hopes to warm up audiences with film settings in warmer climes. The first movie screens on February 8.
  • The New Works Festival at the University of Alberta is always a great way to check out the city’s up-and-coming theatre talent, and all for just $5 a ticket! Head to the Timms Centre February 9-14 for the shows.
  • The next Winter Light event, Hearts of Fire, takes place on February 13 at Boyle Street Park. The family-friendly event will have entertainment, hot chocolate, and of course, campfires!
  • I remember a time when I would have been excited for an Edmonton Oilers autograph session. Sigh. If you’re interested, head to West Edmonton Mall on February 13, 1-2:30pm.
  • Nevermore, Catalyst Theatre’s stunning take on the life of Edgar Allan Poe, runs for a second time February 13-21. I went last year, and it definitely lived up to the hype. Get your tickets soon, as it will no doubt sell out!
  • Free Family Day (February 15) events are a dime a dozen this year, and they include a free multicultural concert at the Winspear Centre, free admission to the Royal Alberta Museum, a Global Village outdoor celebration at Churchill Square, and a Chinese New Year party at Enterprise Square.
  • The Edmonton Community Foundation is presenting a speakers series titled “The Future of Community”. First up on February 18 is Zaib Shaikh, star of Little Mosque on the Prairie.
  • The second Hey Ladies! infotainment show takes place on February 19 at the Roxy. If the performance we attended was any indication, it’s sure to be a hoot!
  • I’m looking forward to the Silver Skate Festival, on February 19-21 at Hawrelak Park. Billed as “Edmonton’s longest running winter festival”, there will be skating, snowshoeing, and other cold-weather activities.
  • Big Winter, the last Winter Light event for the month, will happen on February 26-27. Included among snow soccer and sledding activities will be “Bark in the Dark”, a dog-friendly affair!

October in Edmonton is for Halloween!

Dedmonton, Canada’s Halloween Festival, runs this month. I’ve mentioned some events included under the festival’s umbrella, but for more, check out the website for a great calendar of Halloween-related events.

  • The fifth edition of Pecha Kucha, Edmonton Next Gen’s popular series showcasing everything from design, art and sustainability will take place at the Myer Horowitz on October 2. Mack wrote about the last incarnation here.
  • On October 2-4, the fifth annual Pure Speculation Festival will celebrate science fiction and fantasy. Some of the sessions look like they will be fun, like a tongue-in-cheek session on zombie preparedness.
  • The Edmonton Film Society’s Fall 2009 series, Kings of Cool, continue on October 5. Screenings of these classic films are just $5, and run nearly every Monday at 8pm.
  • Edmonton commemorates 20 years of Read In October 5-9.
  • Did you miss the last Edmonton Tweetup in September? Not to worry, you have another opportunity on October 6 to meet up with other Twitter users, this time at Ceili’s.
  • A family friendly way to celebrate Oktoberfest is taking place on October 6 with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra – sing along with “Bavarian alpine music” and even learn how to yodel! With Robert Bernhardt as the conductor, it’s almost guaranteed to be a fun night.
  • Joining an Edmonton Ghost Tour is a great way to spend the evening, offered October 12-29 this month. I went on one years ago, and it was an entertaining ride, particularly around the Halloween season.
  • Music Wednesdays at Noon continue at the McDougall United Church on October 14, 21 and 28.
  • DedFest: Hellberta’s Horror Festival, showcases the best in independent horror cinema October 15-18.
  • The 17th annual Edmonton Scarecrow Festival rolls into Northlands Park October 16-18. All funds raised go to ABC Headstart.
  • The 2009 North of Nowhere Expo: Festival of Independent Media & Underground Art is a non-profit activist-arts festival and runs October 16-31 at the Edmonton Public Library and Metro Cinema.
  • ChangeCamp asks the question, “How do we re-imagine government and citizenship in the age of participation?” Join other engaged citizens at Lister Hall on October 17 to discuss answers to that question.
  • To mark the worldwide celebration of Home Movie Day on October 17, the Stanley Milner Library is hosting an event where you can chat with archivists about preserving your home movies, and stay for screenings.
  • A cool event is coming to Edmonton for the first time on October 17Timeraiser is a unique event that merges a volunteer fair with a silent art auction. As a means of enticing young people who are looking for a way to explore volunteer options, attendees are able to bid on artwork with their time instead of money. I’m eager to see this in action.
  • Need a reason to go for a stroll? How about the 124 Street Fall Gallery Walk? On October 17-18, at least seven galleries and area businesses participate in this biannual event that showcases local artists.
  • The Pop Culture Fair, featuring the “world’s most popular collectibles” is on October 18 at the Mayfield Inn Trade Centre.
  • LitFest, Canada’s only festival dedicated to creative nonfiction, runs October 21-25. Their theme this year is “Brain Food”, and though it has a more metaphorical meaning, they do have one event intertwined with food (Savouries pairs appetizers with readings).
  • After October 17, the Edmonton Corn Maze is transformed into the Farm of Fear. Check it out October 21-24 and 28-31. Though I’ve never been (I don’t think I could handle it), as it is “not recommended for young children”, I think it’s safe to say peeled-grapes-as-eyes are out of the picture.
  • It’s a play I’ve been waiting to be remounted for years – turns out, patience pays off. The Bone House, Marty Chan’s thriller revolving around the hunt for a serial killer, returns to the TransAlta Arts Barns October 22 –November 7. I’ve written about how that was the play that introduced me to the city’s theatre scene – I can’t wait to see it again.

Enjoy your October!

September in Edmonton has Something for Everyone!

  • The third season of Hey Ladies! kicks off at the Roxy Theatre on September 4. I attended their last show in June and had a blast. If only all variety shows could be so informative and entertaining at the same time.
  • Potentially the last warm weather Movies on the Square take place on September 4 and 5, with Kung Fu Panda and UP being screened. How cool is it that UP is being screened before the movie goes to DVD?!
  • The ever-popular Symphony Under the Sky returns to the Hawrelak Park Amphitheatre September 4-7. Mack and I will be heading to one of the concerts for the first time this year.
  • The 20th annual Labour Day BBQ for unemployed and underemployed Edmontonians is taking place at Giovanni Caboto Park (108 Avenue & 95 Street) on September 7 from 10:30am-3:30pm. Look forward to free food and entertainment.
  • Enterprise Square will be hosting a series of free string quartet concerts over the next few months. The first two are scheduled for September 8 & 22.
  • If you’re around the Legislature on September 10, you might want to stop by for a free hot dog from 11:30am-1:30pm for Grandparents BBQ Day.
  • Tis the season for charities, but I hope you’ll consider coming out to support the Youth Emergency Shelter Society on September 10 at Edmonton’s second annual Twestival. You can read more about it here.
  • Soapathon, the annual improv marathon at the Varscona Theatre is back September 11-13. We’ve missed it in spite of our intentions to make it the past few years, but we are going to try harder this year.
  • The Downtown Edmonton Community League is hosting their annual Corn Fest on September 12 this year at Beaver Hills Park. Mack and I checked it out last year, mostly for the free corn.
  • A neat fundraiser for the Valley Zoo called Art in the Wild will take place on September 12. The evening will include entertainment, a gallery, and talks from interpretive staff.
  • Latitude 53 presents the 10th edition of their performance art festival Visualeyez, curated this year with a theme of water. It runs September 16-21.
  • Edmonton Fashion Week revs up its fall catwalk September 16-27, with runway shows, showcases, and sample sales. My sisters and I checked out one of the shows last spring.
  • Can’t get enough of outdoor film screenings? The Edmonton International Film Festival is hosting two additional Movies on the Square showings on September 17 & 18.
  • September 18-20 will see province-wide celebrations of Alberta Arts Days. Check the listing for local events, but included are special activities at the Royal Alberta Museum, where admission is free for those three days.
  • First there was Opera 101 as a means of making the Edmonton Opera more accessible to the average person, and now, the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra will be offering a similar educational session called Symphony 101 on September 19. I think it’s a great idea – I do hope it helps to introduce more people to the symphony.
  • Love it or hate it, I think it’s encouraging that the new Art Gallery of Alberta is spawning discussion. Join Randall Stout on September 19 at the Winspear Centre for his first public appearance since being named the lead architect on the project. Tickets are $10.
  • Looking to volunteer? Look no further than Everyone for Edmonton, an event in its second year. Numerous non-profit organizations will be providing information about their work at the Shaw Conference Centre on September 20.
  • Alberta’s largest accordion festival, the Accordion Extravaganza, runs September 24-25 at the Central Lions Recreation Centre.
  • One of my favourite fall festivals, the Edmonton International Film Festival, is back September 25-October 3.
  • I can’t believe the Arts on the Ave Kaleido Family Arts Festival is already in its fourth year. It sounds like the organizers will be “taking it to the streets” this year, literally. Check it out September 25-27.
  • I’m so looking forward to this: the Greater Edmonton Alliance has teamed up with the Edmonton Potato Growers to offer The Great Potato Giveaway. From 9am-4pm on September 26, everyone is invited to harvest 50lbs. of potatoes each at Norbest Farms. The day will also include a briefing on the municipal development plan and instruction on how to grow potatoes. Can’t wait!
  • Edmonton Chante, the city’s French song festival, runs September 26-October 3.
  • Need a reason to check out a City attraction? How about free admission? All City of Edmonton attractions and selected recreation centres will be open free of charge on September 27.

June in Edmonton is for Festivals

  • I’ve always wanted to go on a tour of downtown Edmonton led by the Core Crew, but the times have always clashed with my work schedule. In any case, tours will be hosted in the summer every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 1-2pm starting in June. Details here.
  • The Edmonton Food Bank is marking National Hunger Awareness Day on June 2 by hosting a screening of Affirming Diversity: Rural Images and Voices on Food Sovereignty in Rural India.
  • A free screening is taking place on June 6 at the Royal Alberta Museum with a film titled Will the Real Alberta Please Stand Up?, followed by a panel discussion. Details here (scroll to the bottom).
  • Interested in the possibilities of solar power? Think about taking part in free tours of some eco-solar homes on June 6.
  • The Heart of the City Festival on June 7 will see non-stop entertainment and activities for families. Drop by Giovanni Caboto Park (95 Street & 107 Avenue) for the fun.
  • June 9-16 will see the city’s second annual Creative Age Festival, recognizes “the vital contributions of the arts to lifelong learning, creative expression, health and well-being in later life.” Check out the website for listings of many free and low-cost events.
  • NextFest, a celebration of theatre, dance, visual art, music and film, bills itself as “the precocious teenager of Edmonton’s festival family,” heh. It runs June 11-21.
  • The Age of aQUEERious Pride Week is on June 12-21, kicking off with the Pride Awards on Friday night and Pride Parade and Celebration on Saturday afternoon.
  • June 13 kicks off Western Canada’s largest outdoor farmers’ market in St. Albert! Over 250 vendors will be expected to showcase their wares this year.
  • deVines Wines is organizing a very cool event on June 13 – they’re calling it “Al Fresco on 104th Street” to benefit the Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters. Among other things, the street will play host to food vendors, a fashion show, an outdoor movie screening and of course, an open door wine tasting. I’ll be there!
  • Edmonton’s annual River Day kicks off on June 13 with a pancake breakfast, and follows with a whole host of other family-friendly activities, including fishing activities and opportunities to ride in a canoe or raft.
  • Celebrate Africa Day at the African Centre (13160 127 Street) on June 13-14 with activities such as a fashion show, “Taste of Africa”, and African dance and drumming. Call (780) 455-5423 for more information.
  • A free concert titled “That’s Edmonton for You” featuring leading members of Edmonton’s indie rock scene is taking place on June 14 at noon at the Louise McKinney Riverfront Park. Local musicians have composed songs that address the notion of community and sustainability – should be interesting.
  • On June 14, from 10:30am-2pm, the BLIA (10232 103 Street) is organizing a Vegetarian Food Fair, which will offer more than 50 different samples of Asian cuisine. If it’s anything like the vegetarian lunch I had there recently, I’m sure it will be a great event. Call (780) 424-9744 for more information.
  • Activities commemorating National Aboriginal Day will be taking place June 15-22.
  • InterVivos is hosting Jessie Radies of the Blue Pear at Von’s Steakhouse on June 16 for a talk titled “Stick it to the Recession” that will address the importance of keeping consumer dollars in the local economy. I’m sure it will be great.
  • Pecha Kucha is already in its fourth iteration in Edmonton, and will be in its biggest venue yet at the Shaw Conference Centre on June 16. Get your tickets soon if you’re interested – it will undoubtedly sell out early. Check out Mack’s write up of PK3 for a taste of what to expect.
  • Improvaganza will host the best improvisers from around the world during its 10-day event, June 17-27. I haven’t been in a few years, but I’m hoping to check it out again this year.
  • The Dreamspeakers Film Festival, which offers a venue to explore Aboriginal culture, is now in its eighth year and runs June 18-21.
  • Love beer? You’re in luck – the third annual Edmonton Festival of Beer on June 19 & 20 will showcase your favourites alongside entertainment and food.
  • June 19-July 1 will see the Works Festival take over downtown Edmonton with displays and performances of art.
  • June is Bike Month, which means it’s time for Bikeology, a month-long festival to celebrate cycling culture. It all cumulates on Bikeology Festival Day on June 20, with free activities at Beaver Hills House Park.
  • “Find your jazz” at the Edmonton International Jazz Festival, June 26-July 5. I love that they have a glossary of jazz terms up on the site.
  • The Muttart Conservatory opens after extensive renovations on June 27. I haven’t been to the pyramids in a while, but I’m eager to see what they’ve done to the place!
  • The Feats Festival of Dance is on June 27-July 5.
  • The Freewill Shakespeare Festival kicks off its previews on June 30, and runs at Hawrelak Park until July 26. This year’s plays: Comedy of Errors and the “slasher” (or so billed by Chris Bullough) Titus Andronicus.

Enjoy all the city has to offer!

April in Edmonton is for Variety

  • Edmonton Fashion Week returns with its spring 2009 shows and sample sales April 2-9. I’m glad the venue was changed to the TransAlta Arts Barns – more easily accessible by public transit than the Hangar.
  • To launch it’s 2009-10 season, the Winspear Centre is offering a free concert on April 2 at noon.
  • 2009 is the International Year of Astronomy, and to celebrate, the Strathcona Wilderness Centre is hosting a 100 hour Astronomy Marathon, April 2-5.
  • The plethora of craft shows continues with the kickoff of a new monthly show called Handmade Mafia. Happening on the first Saturday of every month, their first is scheduled for April 4 at Savoy and Orange Hall. You could easily make a day of it – brunch, Old Strathcona Farmers’ Market, then craft shopping.
  • I have a soft spot for the MacEwan Centre for the Arts music concerts – they’re inexpensive, and for the most part they’re feel-good shows. They wrap up their Month of Music on April 4 & 5, with their always showstopping Big Band Concert taking place on April 6.
  • The Mayor’s 22nd annual Celebration for the Arts takes place on April 6 at the Winspear Centre. I went last year and found it a great way to sample some of the city’s up-and-coming artists.
  • Want to meet the city’s Twitterati? Consider coming to Edmonton’s fourth Tweetup, planned for April 7 at Vintage Lounge.
  • Comedian Rick Mercer will be stopping by Grant MacEwan on April 8 for what will likely be a very entertaining evening. Tickets are $20.
  • It’s not the Westminster version, but the Edmonton Kennel Club is holding their biannual show and trials on April 17-19.
  • What better way to explore an area of the city than by foot? Swing on by to High Street for their Spring Gallery Walk, April 18 & 19, where eight member galleries will be participating.
  • The Edmonton Poetry Festival runs April 23-26. They have quite a variety of events scheduled – worth a look.
  • The Kiwanis Music Festival starts on April 20. This is their 101st year!
  • The City decided to do away with the more formal annual “community conference” and will be offering an Edmonton Transit System Community Fair in its place on April 25. The event focuses on the grand opening of the Belgravia/McKernan LRT station, but there will also be tours, presentations and activities throughout the day.
  • The Prince of Wales Armouries, which has been closed for renovations for the better part of a year, will be hosting an open house on April 25. I’ve passed by the venue almost every day during my afternoon walks, so I’m curious to see what it looks like.
  • The wiser, older brother of Earth Hour, Earth Day celebrations hit Hawrelak Park on April 26. Performances, exhibits, and family-friendly activities will abound.

November in Edmonton Gears up for the Holidays

  • November has been deemed “Shop Local First” month in Edmonton by Mayor Mandel – something to remember when looking around for those holiday gifts. Check out Keep Edmonton Original for a few ideas of locally-owned shops and services.
  • HomeFest, an annual concert fundraiser and campaign to build awareness of issues around homelessness, is on November 2.
  • If you’re not busy watching the US election coverage on November 4, why not check out a talk by sex expert Sue Johanson at the Myer Horowitz Theatre, a part of the University of Alberta Student Union’s Revolutionary Speakers Series.
  • Also on November 4, Good Earth Cafe is hosting a Science Cafe where you can “debate, debunk, digest!”
  • Dust off your cowboy boots: the Canadian Finals Rodeo returns November 5-9.
  • The Global Visions Film Festival, running November 6-9, “celebrates the passion of film and the diversity, joy, and responsibility of being a global citizen” by showcasing documentaries. I am looking forward to the opening night film, Triage: The Humanitarian Dilemma of James Orbinski.
  • I’ve been meaning to check out Stop and Shop, an event that showcases local designers and artistans, for some time. Thankfully, they have one planned for just around the corner, November 13-15 at the TransAlta Arts Barns.
  • The second annual Exposure: Edmonton’s Queer Arts & Culture Festival kicks off November 14 and runs until November 22.
  • In celebration of its centennial, the University of Alberta is hosting the Festival of Ideas, November 13-16. Salman Rushdie and Thomas King are among the speakers.
  • Hoping to engage local citizens on the subject of city planning and design, the City of Edmonton has been offering a series of “Planning Academy” workshops every spring and fall. More information here. I’ll be attending “Getting a Grip on Land Use Planning” on November 15.
  • For those (like me) who miss the City Centre Market already, there will be a winter reprieve on November 15, where many merchants will be setting up for the Christmas Market on the Square at Churchill Square, 1-6pm.
  • Once you’ve finished picking up goodies from the vendors, stick around on November 15 for the Holiday Light up on the Square at 5pm, where there will be fireworks and Christmas lights galore.
  • Looking for fair trade gifts? Look no further than Just Christmas, November 21 & 22 at the Alberta Avenue Community Hall.
  • For “alternative” gifts, the Taboo…Naughty but Nice Sex Show is on at the Northlands Agricom November 21-23.
  • Bright Nights, billed as “Edmonton’s Winter Family Festival”, begins on November 21 and goes until January 4, 2009 in Hawrelak Park. I would recommend going on the first night, as it is the only pedestrian-friendly day of the event.
  • For more marvels of holiday decor, visit the Shaw Conference Centre for their annual Festival of Trees, November 27-30, a fundraiser for the University Hospital Foundation.
  • City-wide developers, listen up: the annual Edmonton Code Camp will take place on November 29. For more information, click here.
  • As always, there are a multitude of theatre and other cultural events listed on Tix on the Square.

June is for Festivals

It’s been a while since I’ve put together one of these, but here are some upcoming events of interest (many, if not most, are free of charge to attend) in River City.

  • I’ve been meaning to tag along one of the free Discover Downtown Walking Tours since the Downtown Business Association started the promotion a few years ago, but it’s difficult given the weekday hour. At any rate, if you can spare some time during the day, these one hour tours will be offered on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 1-2pm starting June 2 – August 20.
  • The Edmonton Film Society continues their “Ye Olde British Comedy” series through to mid-June. Just $5 a screening!
  • The first ever Creative Age Festival, which runs June 2 – 8, highlights “arts and aging by showcasing arts-based workshops, performances and events, including special film screenings and an Arts Café”.
  • From June 4 – 7, the Dreamspeakers International Film Festival will celebrate the best of Aboriginal films through screenings, workshops and events.
  • Heart of the City: Music & Arts Festival 2008, a community celebration of the diverse music and arts scene in the city’s downtown core, is taking place on June 7 at Giovanni Caboto Park (95 Street & 108 Avenue).
  • Take some time to meet with local producers on June 8 & 9, for the Spring Time Family Drive, where 10 farms open their gates to the public for tours, children’s activities, and shopping. The Summer Family Drive will take place in early August if you can’t make it in June.
  • The now Epcor-sponsored NextFest, taking place June 5 – 15, features 10 (plus the gala) days of performances, visual art displays, and more.  
  • The annual Pride Awards kick off the always spirited Pride Week 2008: Unmasked and OUTrageous. Lunches, film screenings, and of course, the celebrated parade can be attended between June 13 – 22.
  • I had no idea this year would see the 11th incarnation of the City’s River Day, being held on June 14 this year. Free family events include a pancake breakfast, paddling sessions, fishing lessons, and boat demonstrations, all at Rundle Park.
  • Also on June 14 is the Hermitage Park Family Fishing Event – for $5/family, you can fish away!
  • Improvaganza, Rapid Fire Theatre’s annual improvisational comedy festival, runs June 18-29 at the Varscona Theatre. Tickets are $10 for each show (with the exception of the Grande Finale), but there are two pay-what-you-can, family-friendly shows on Saturday afternoons.
  • National Aboriginal Day celebrations will be taking place from June 18 – 24, with everything from drumming performances, art displays, and outdoor barbeques to take part in.
  • The noted Edmonton International Jazz Festival runs June 20 – 29. Though most of the concerts require paid tickets, there are a number of free outdoor events and workshops to look forward to as well.
  • Art lovers have probably been looking forward to the June 20 – July 2 Works Art & Design Festival all year.
  • Airfest, billed as an “aviation extravaganza” has been growing every year, and will be held on June 22 in 2008. Check out the Alberta Aviation Museum website for updates.

Have fun!

EDIT: an ad in Vue Weekly reminded me about a festival I forgot to include: June is also Bikeology month, with drive-in movies, mocktails mixed by blenders hooked up to bikes, and free tune-ups. Check out the website for full details.