In historic times, festivals were more religious based and were ways to ritually observe the seasons, or enjoy sacred feasts. Today we celebrate festivals to commemorate national events and holidays as well as food, music and culture. They also get us outdoors!
According to Festivals and Events Ontario, there are over 2,500 member events happening across the province each year. More locally, the following festivals alone will keep you busy every weekend from now until after Labour Day! Watch each event’s website for updates and the full festival schedule.
Sound of Music Festival
June 9-17 | Burlington
Voted one of the Top 100 Festivals in Ontario by Festivals & Events Ontario since 2000. There are over 130 acts of ticketed and free shows. More acts are yet to be announced but confirmed performances include: Sublime With Rome, Simple Plan, The All-American Rejects, Everclear, and Eve 6. The festival rounds out with live music all weekend, the Grande Festival Parade, Carnival, Vendors and Family Zone.
Oakville Family Ribfest
June 22-24 | Oakville
Sheridan’s campus parking lot turns into a tarmac of tasty ribs and chicken, a flurry of kid’s activities and a community marketplace. There’s something to occupy the whole family all weekend. Admission: $2/person. The PlayZone is free.
It’s Your Festival
June 30 – July 2 | Hamilton
A huge lineup of activities and live entertainment will be happening at Gage Park, with musical performances for young and old. Every year there are food vendors offering cuisine from around the world, plus arts and craft vendors and more. Free admission.
Canada Day Celebration
July 1 | Burlington
Though not officially a festival by name, Canada Day is a more than worthwhile mention and the city puts on a fantastic waterfront event every year at Spencer Smith Park. Free admission.
Rib & Craft Beer Fest
July 6-8 | Milton
Fans of fall-off-the-bone ribs can get their fill again before Burlington’s famous event in September. Enjoy some of the best ribs and barbecue foods around. New this year is the Craft Beer Market, where you can lounge and enjoy some of Ontario’s best craft beer. Other festival fun includes live music all weekend, cooking lessons, a midway and more. Free admission. Tip: download the $6 off food coupon online.
July 8 | Oakville
The Oakville Children’s Festival returns to Queen Elizabeth Park for a full day of entertainment designed to encourage children and families to explore and discover arts and culture. Free admission.
Food Truck Festival
July 20-22 | Burlington
Three full days of 40 fabulous food trucks! Many of your favourite mobile food vendors will be converging on Spencer Smith Park to offer their signature dishes. There will also be a children’s midway, local performers, beer, and eating challenges. Come hungry, leave full! Free admission.
August 19 | Burlington
Celebrate being a kid (and acting like one) at this annual festival that’s been named one of the Top 100 Festivals & Events in Ontario. There will be live entertainment, play zones and inflatables, crafts, a kids’ marketplace and more. Free admission.
August 17-19 | Dundas
Awarded a Top 100 Festival by Festivals & Events Ontario, this year promises another three days of live music, street sales, vendors, a Fun Zone for the kids and more! Free admission.
Canada’s Largest Ribfest
August 31 – September 3 | Burlington
Every year, people from throughout southern Ontario and beyond descend on Burlington for four days of fun, music and great tasting ribs. This event is Burlington’s premier fundraising event proudly organized by the Rotary Club Burlington Lakeshore, and funds raised at Ribfest support countless programs. Free admission.
by Becky Dumais