There is no shortage of summer festivals right here in Hamilton. From arts and music to beer and family fun, a proper fest gets us outdoors and enjoying the city. Here are some of the upcoming events to look forward to this summer:
Because Beer: Craft Beer Festival
July 13 – 15
Sonic Unyon Records and Distribution brings back (for three full days this year), Hamilton’s Because Beer Craft Beer Festival at Pier 4 Park. Spend an easy weekend on the scenic west harbour and sample hundreds of craft beers and ciders. Food trucks will also be on hand as well as great live music, an arcade, and a homebrew competition. Tickets: $19.99 – $54.99.
July 19 – 29
Way, way, way off Broadway is often the place you’ll see the greatest, most outlandish, most unforgettable performances. Hamilton Fringe Festival is an 11-day non-juried event where the community can view a unique, wide selection of musicals, dance, comedies, magic shows, and dramas. This year’s event has 53 companies participating in almost 400 performances by seasoned and emerging artists. The best way to get a taste of the festival and perhaps make a note of performances you’ll want to see is at Fringe Kick-Off on July 18 at the Lincoln Alexander Centre.
To catch the ongoing action and be at the hub of it all, the Fringe Club at Gore Park is the social gathering spot where Fringe artists and audiences can mix and mingle (plus eat and drink together too). Hang out here even if you’re not seeing a show on any given evening since there will be nightly entertainment at the Fringe Club.
Festival of Friends
August 3 – 5
The Festival of Friends is a free annual summer music and craft festival held on the long weekend of August in Hamilton and said to be the largest annual event of its kind in Canada. The event takes place in Gage Park and for those who love to shop local, over 90 per cent of the vendors are small business owners right from within the community.
As a city, Hamilton is expertly adept at embracing the arts with this and other events, including the recent Hamilton Arts Week. The Festival of Friends has something for everyone, including an indoor and outdoor area just for kids. There will be opportunities to view lizards and other amphibians with Little Ray’s Reptile Zoo and Camp; or you can have photos taken with costumed characters; and more. The lineup of musical performers will be officially announced on July 3. Watch their website for updates!
ArtsFest Waterdown Summer Festival
August 18 – 19
ArtsFest transforms the historic streets of Waterdown into public galleries and a world-class open-air entertainment venue. This fantastic event promises family friendly fun, art and music – including jazz, classical, folk and world. It features a one-of-a-kind curated craft show and makers’ market, plus family friendly activities and more. Check their website for a list of performers and activities and mark your calendar!
September 13 – 16
In September, festival-goers can look past the fact that school will be starting and instead look forward to Supercrawl, which will be celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. Supercrawl showcases works in a variety of media and provides opportunities to local, regional and national artists and performers at both early and established stages of their practices. Art-loving festival-goers will also find around two dozen gallery spaces and artists’ studios in and around Supercrawl’s James Street North neighbourhood. To mark the celebration, many past performers will return along with many new artists from in and around Hamilton. This ever-evolving event continues to be recognized by the community itself but also within professional associations. Last year was the biggest event yet: the festival stretched 17 blocks, and this year Supercrawl has received a Top 100 Festival award from Festivals and Events Ontario. You don’t want to miss it!
by Becky Dumais