The joys of summer
Your to-do list for the next two months
From big-ticket entertainment and annual festivals to sports and food and everything in between—read on for our favourite summer events. (Plus a few opportunities to get out of town.)
Halifax Jazz Festival
Chicago rapper Common and Canadian hip-hop artist Shad open this year’s festival. Over the next five days you can catch Canadian folk musician Bahamas; Afro-Caribbean, prog rock-jazz fusion outfit Ms. Lisa Fischer & Grand Baton; and a diverse array of acts. Ticketed shows are at the waterfront main stage, St. Paul’s Church, The Seahorse, and The Carleton. Free concerts and matinees happen across the city.
Halifax Busker Festival
July 31–Aug. 5
Over six days and 300 shows, fire breathers, acrobatics, comedians, magicians, and contortionists from around the world strut their stuff on the waterfront. This year’s roster includes mime Jenny Jupiter, contortionist Alakazam, and Toronto Raptors’ drummers Rhythm Works.
Sackville, New Brunswick, is only a two-hour drive from Halifax, but feels a world away. This charming small town hosts an annual indie music and art festival known across the country. Acts include Apollo Ghosts, Deliluh, FET.NAT, Joyfultalk, and more.
Dartmouth Comic Arts Festival
This free two-day festival celebrates comics and cartooning. Stop by Alderney Landing to meet artists, watch drawing demos and Q & A sessions, plus discover art and books vendors.
Four days celebrating soil, soul, and society in Tatamagouche, N.S., through artisan fairs and demonstrations, music, and food. It’s the only place you’ll find an ice-cream social at a lavender farm and a sock-knitting competition.
Aug. 29–Sept. 8
The city’s uncensored performing-arts festivals celebrates 29 years. See cutting-edge shows at venues across the city, featuring local, national, and international talent.
The Lebanese Festival
Food, folk dance, music and church tours mark this long-standing cultural festival at Olympic Hall on Cunard Street. Pro-tip: Parking is at a premium around the hall; take public transit or walk so you can visit a patio on the way home.
Halifax Pride Festival
Artistic and educational events, parties, performances, and more mark this long-standing Pride celebration. Local trans entertainer and activist Chris Cochrane is parade marshal as the July 20 event marks the 50th anniversary of the landmark Stonewall Riots.
This annual event celebrates the cultural heritage and artistic works of African-descended Nova Scotians. Find food, drummers from around the world, and arts and crafts at this three-day event at Sackville Landing on Lower Water Street. Blues-rocker Carson Downey headlines the live entertainment.
Nova Multifest 2019
Explore Nova Scotia’s cultural diversity as dozens of communities rally together to share food, music, art, and live performances at Alderney Landing in Dartmouth.
Millbrook Annual Competition Powwow
The 20th annual powwow offers three days of dance and regalia. This is a great opportunity to experience Mi’kmaw culture and tradition. This year’s host drum will be The Boyz–TBZ from St. Paul, Minn.
Climb walls, squirm through a fisherman’s net, and traverse muddy lagoons during this day of 6-km and 10-km obstacle-course runs at Debert Airfield. The events finish with the Mud Bash featuring live music, barbecue, and beverages.
Lolë White Tour on the Road 2019 **Cancelled July 3**
Join hundreds of yogis dressed in white at DeWolf Park in Bedford to embrace meditation and yoga with live music and guided sessions.
J24 Canadian Nationals
The Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron hosts Canada’s speediest keel boats as sailors race for the national title.
Race to Bridge the Gap
Teams of two will race across Dartmouth and Halifax completing mental and physical challenges. This inaugural event raises funds for the We Are Young Association, a non-profit granting wishes to Nova Scotian elders.
All summer long
Wednesdays at 7 p.m.
Cozy up in Good Robot Brewing Co.’s MouseTrap bar on Robie Street to watch some of your favourite films family-style. Movie goers under 19 are welcome with guardians and the purchase of food from Rumblefish Food Co.
Saturday Night Swing Factory
Saturdays at 6:30 p.m.
Dance the night away to a live band with the DalKing’s Swing Dance Society at First Baptist Church on Oxford Street. Entry is $5 and includes lessons for beginners before the main dance. No experience necessary.
Hatfield Farm Family Round-Up
Saturdays and Sundays at 11 a.m.
A day of fun is waiting in Hammonds Plains. Ride a horse-drawn wagon to Fort Clayton; visit goats, donkeys, and alpacas in the petting pen; play mini golf and ride the zipline. Your ticket includes all-you-can-eat hot dogs and non-alcoholic beverages.
North by Night Market
July 12, Aug. 9, Sept. 14
Street food, local artisans and vendors, and DJ-driven dance parties come together on Gottingen Street for this monthly summer celebration of Halifax’s North End.
Friday evenings in July
Bring snacks and a lawn chair or blanket to the Public Gardens to watch a movie en plein air on an inflatable screen. “The Summer of Sing-Alongs” is this year’s theme: Grease (July 5), Mamma Mia! (July 12), The Rocky Horror Picture Show (July 19), and Bohemian Rhapsody (July 26).
Mopar Canadian Superbike Championship Round 4
The fourth round of this national competition visits Atlantic Motorsport Park’s 2.56-km track in Mill Village, N.S.
Get to the Point—Where it all began
Lawrencetown Beach hosts this event highlighting the longevity of this popular local surf spot. Surf heats won’t be judged, but there will be live commentary.
Spring Garden Children’s Festival
Visit Victoria Park for a day of face-painting, a petting zoo, bouncy castles, live entertainment, and more.
Old Home Week P.E.I.
Since 1888, Islanders gather in Charlottletown, P.E.I. to fête the best in local agriculture. Miniature horses, tractor pulls, parades, 4-H demonstrations: get a taste for country life. Each evening finishes with live bluegrass, country, or Celtic music.
2019 Sackville Street Chalk Art Festival
Find your artistic streak in Sackville, N.B. This festival hosts workshops, kid’s activities, and live demos by professional chalk artists from around the world.
Don your leather and tease your hair to maximum height, the British 1980s-vintage hard-rockers of “Let’s Get Rocked” fame join Tesla to storm the stage at Scotiabank Centre for a night of headbanging hits.
An Evening with David Sedaris
Best-selling humorist and frequent This American Life contributor David Sedaris takes the stage at the Dal Arts Centre. Sedaris will host a Q&A during the show and sign books after.
Joel Plaskett at Lunenburg Folk Harbour Fest
Dartmouth’s favourite singer song-writer takes to the stage in his hometown at one of the region’s largest folk festivals, running
Aug. 8–11. Catch his set at 7 p.m. or stay all day to take in toe-tapping tunes in the salty air.
Cirque de Soleil Crystal
Aug. 28– Sept. 1
World-class ice skaters and acrobats take to the ice surface at Scotiabank Centre for Cirque’s first show on ice.
Eat, drink, and be merry
July 2, Aug. 20, Sept. 17
On the ultimate N.S. wine adventure, you’ll start in Halifax, and bus to Blomidon Estate Winery, Domaine de Grand Pré, and Gaspereau Vineyards, plus stop at Le Caveau for a traditional lobster lunch with Chef Jason Lynch.
100-Mile Farm Food Festival
Fill your reusable bags and baskets with farm-fresh Annapolis Valley fare. On-site you’ll find ready to eat options and entertainment from wagon rides and live music to a hay lifting competition.
Halifax Seaport Cider and Beerfest
Aug. 9 and 10
Atlantic Canada’s largest beer and cider show returns for its 13th year. Taste over 300 beers, ciders, and meads from around the world. Plus, Seaport hosts the Maine Beer Box, a 40-foot container featuring 78 taps of fresh Maine craft beer.
Full Moon Market
Amid the cozy confines of the Halifax Brewery Market, food and drink vendors gather from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. to fill your belly with local nosh.
This story was originally published in Halifax Magazine.