10 hot and tasty summer food festivals in Calgary

The city’s summer season features a delicious dance card of culinary festivals and events. Many, such as Stampede-time pancake breakfasts, are easy to access the day of, but the various tasting and tippling shindigs listed here can fill up quickly, so purchasing tickets sooner than later for these foodie festivities is recommended. Image credit: iStock.com/kasto80.

Hotel Arts

119 12 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2R 0G8

A fundraiser for Calgary Meals on Wheels, the Pig and Pinot Festival on June 16 is a porky party thrown by City Palate magazine. The annual dinner event features dishes by city chefs representing restaurants such as Anju, Pampa, Tango Bistro and Hotel Arts’ own Yellow Door Bistro. Providing pairings, wine shops in attendance include Metrovino and Kensington Wine Market. The event also features live music, a silent auction and raffle. Tickets, $130.

Righteous Gelato

110-221 19 St Se, Calgary, AB T2E 7M2

A mobile-munchies social club launched by Fiasco Gelato boss James Boettcher, YYCFoodTrucks presents Picnic in Vic Park from June 17 to 19. This circling of the wagons in Haultain Park will feature 15 or more truckin’ vendors as well as the musical accompaniment of BassBus and refreshments by Village Brewery. Entry fee, $5.

Billingsgate Seafood Market

1304 10 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T3C 0J2

A Father’s Day weekend feast, the entry fee to YYC Lobsterfest includes one lobster and the crustacean kit with which to devour it. This buttery bash also features a beer garden by Village Brewery. Staged by Billingsgate Seafood Market, the event is held June 18 and 19 at Market on Macleod, with proceeds going to the Firefighters Burn Treatment Society. Tickets, $35.

Calgary Downtown Association

720-304 8th Avenue SW, Calgary, AB T2P 1C2

Escape your desk and the hump-day doldrums with a sunshiny lunch in the city centre. Calgary Downtown Association presents Pop-Up Picnics in Downtown Calgary on Wednesdays from June 22 to August 24. A series of 10 noon-hour events, these outdoor happenings will be staged throughout the downtown at locations that include Harley Hotchkiss Park, Suncor Energy Centre and Bankers Hall Turtle Park. Arrive with your own bagged lunch at these family-friendly social events and seating will be provided. As will games and live entertainment based on each event’s unique theme (the first one is “magic”). Free.

Hotel Fairmont Palliser

133 9th Avenue SW, CALGARY, AB T2P 2M3

Craft cocktails are all the rage. Sippers love to sip ’em, and the city’s bartenders love to make ’em. And so it is that Made With Love, a craft cocktail contest held at the prestigious Fairmont Palliser hotel on June 27, has come to feature 16 cocktail creators battling to best each other in food-and-drink pairings. Contestants include Model Milk’s Madeleine MacDonald, The Derrick Gin Mill & Restaurant’s Savanah Beach and MARKET Calgary’s India Dmytriev. Tickets, $65 in advance, $75 at the door.

Calgary Exhibition & Stampede Ltd

729 24 Ave SE, Calgary, AB T2G 1P5

Calgary flips out once a year during Stampede time. The spatulas fly from July 8 to 17 as the city’s annual round of pancake breakfasts draws hungry cowboy-hat-clad locals and tourists alike to form massive breakfast queues across parking lots and up city streets. For a complete list of pancake events, visit stampedebreakfast.ca. The majority of these are free.

Calgary Telus Convention Centre

120 9 Ave Se, Calgary, AB T2G 0P3

A giant among pancake breakfasts, The 43rd Annual Bullshooters Breakfast takes place July 12, the first Tuesday of Stampede. Held, but just barely, within the Telus Convention Centre, it’s a sprawling affair featuring country music performances and plenty of requisite two-steppin’. Booze and breakfast buffet are included in the entry package, and attendees are given VIP entry to the Cowboys Dance Hall tent. Tickets, $140.

Eau Claire Market

202-200 Barclay Parade SW, Calgary, AB T2P 4R5

Celebrating two decades of food and fun just a stone’s throw from the Bow River, Taste of Calgary takes place in Eau Claire Market’s Festival Plaza from August 11 to 14. Midway-style ticketing permits attendees to ride a roller coaster of snacks and beverages by a wide assortment of city restaurants. The event features a live music stage and, fingers crossed, plenty of delicious sunshine. Admission is free. Food and beverage tickets, $1 each.

Pumphouse Theatres

2140 Pumphouse Ave SW, Calgary, AB T3C 3P5

The most savoury of food festivals, Brewery & The Beast takes place in Victoria, Vancouver and Calgary. Held in Pumphouse Park adjacent to the Bow River Pathway system just west of downtown, this high-calibre culinary celebration sees top city chefs serving ethically raised Alberta and BC farm products, with a juicy focus on meat. Sample servings by the likes of The Nash, Native Tongues, Shokunin and Charbar. A licensed event held on August 21, this bash is adults only, with dinner music by Electric Timber Company and guests. Tickets, $89.75.

Calgary RibFest

Calgary RibFest is all about the sticky, sweet ’n’ savoury phenomenon that is barbecue. Held in Eau Claire Market’s Festival Plaza on August 25 to 28, the event’s designated “ribbers” will serve ribs, ribs and more ribs, but also pulled pork and barbecue chicken dishes. Watch for eating contests. Admission is free, the food is not. Proceeds support Kiwanis Kids.

The quintessential Mexican meal, tacos are also a relatively scarce commodity in Calgary. However, we’ve done some digging and unearthed the select few restaurants that make truly marvelous versions of these hand-held snacks.
The city’s pathway system is one of the longest in North America. Given its lengthy stretches, the occasional rest and snack stop, though few and far between, are a welcome sight when walking, biking and inline skating. Here are a few restaurants, cafés and snack shacks located on or near our scenic cycling system. Image credit: iStock.com/mihailomilovanovic.
The annual YYC Taco Fiesta bursts upon Calgary’s restaurant scene like the tastiest piñata ever invented. From April 28 to May 7, restaurants across the city will serve bargain-priced individual tacos as well as platters, with a portion of profits being donated to local charities. Here are a few of the participating taco competitors. Image credit: iStock.com/rez-art.
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