2017 Summer Festivals in the Waterloo Region

It’s summertime and the Kitchener-Waterloo area is, once again, hosting a flurry of exciting and intriguing festivals. It is, almost certainly, hosting one for you.

If it’s music that gets you moving there is a summer load of toe tapping choices. Check out Kultrún, billed as the region’s biggest dance party, July 9-10 at Victoria Park in Kitchener. The family-friendly free festival features local, national and international world music bands and more. The Hillside Festival rocks Guelph Lake Conservation Area July 14-16. The festival is in its 34th year with an eclectic lineup of musicians and on-site camping.

Uptown Waterloo Jazz FestivalThe Uptown Waterloo Jazz Festival takes over downtown Waterloo July 21-23. This free event is celebrating its 25th year. Take it easy at the Mill Race Festival of Traditional Folk Music in downtown Galt August 4-6. This diverse celebration of music focusing on the cultures present in the Cambridge area is also free to enjoy. The eclectic selection of local and international artists of Riverfest rocks Elora’s Bissel Park August 18-20. There’s camping around the corner and lots of good eats.

You’ll find that many of the festivals that aren’t focused on music still offer musical entertainment so put on your dancing, or maybe just listening, shoes.

Tasty food is standard at almost any festival. Take it to the next level and celebrate the succulent BBQ  and the indomitable rib. The Kitchener Ribfest & Craft Beer Show gobbles up the downtown July 14-16. Ribfest takes a bite out of Riverside Park in Cambridge August 11-13 and Guelph’s Riverside Park rejoices in the rib August 25.

Kidspark - Victoria Park KitchenerMany of the area’s festivals are family friendly and offer much for the little ones but Kidspark, August 20 at Victoria Park in Kitchener, makes them the centre of attention. This year’s theme is Happy Birthday Canada with a full day jam packed with activities, entertainment, music, art, crafts and more.

The diversity of the K-W area is reflected in the art and cultural festivals to be appreciated this year. Cambridge hosts a Scottish Festival July 14-15 and Fergus the 72nd annual Fergus Scottish Festival and Highland games August 10-13. The Cambridge Arts Festival takes place July 22 at Cambridge City Hall. This family friendly free festival includes interactive art displays, live music, performance and an artist and vendor market. Downtown Galt brings on a full day of entertainment August 12 with Grandfest and if street entertainment makes you stand up and take notice check out the Waterloo Busker Carnival downtown Waterloo August 24-27. The venerable Stratford Festival, of course, runs all summer long for those who appreciate all things thespian.

If you didn’t get enough fireworks on Canada Day have a blast at the Mount Forest Fireworks festival July 14-16. Two nights of fireworks, a car show and midway are part of the fun.

If shining chrome and rumbling engines are your passion there are plenty of chances to get your motor running this year. Cruising on King transforms downtown Kitchener into one giant street party of classic car show and parade on July 7. Rock and Rumble takes over Carl Zehr Square in Kitchener on July 22 with live music and a focus on custom and vintage motorcycles from across Ontario and the US. Craft beer from one of Brentwood Livery’s partners Abe Erb will be featured. Chrysler muscle cars will roar into New Hamburg August 19-20 at Moparfest.

Car shows are common all summer long. You can likely find a collection of shiny automobiles every week somewhere in the area.

We’ve touched on the major festivals in the area but there is so much more to see. Perhaps, Carrot Fest is up your alley or you would like to Go Shuck Yourself at an oyster and wine celebration. Whatever your delight have a fantastic, festive summer.


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