Fresh, freaky or fun food. Summer is the time to taste it all


Fresh, freaky or fun food. Summer is the time to taste it all

The first day of summer is rapidly approaching and with it comes festival season and all the delicious food and drink they have to offer. With food festivals happening almost every weekend, it may be overwhelming to decide which ones to fill your calendar with. Check out these events happening across western Canada that put food at the forefront and do it with a unique twist.

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Freaky Food in Calgary

Each year, over a million people travel to Calgary from all over the globe to take in the sights and sounds of the famous Calgary Stampede (July 6 -15). Not surprisingly, one of the most anticipated aspects of the event is the food, as Stampede is well-known for its outlandish, calorie-laden, and typically deep-fried fare. This year’s food lineup includes 50 new and unusual treats such as sushi doughnuts, cricket grilled cheese sandwiches, and wine-infused cake balls. Not to worry — tried and true favourites such as mini doughnuts, caramel apples, and popcorn will be available too.

From the Range Food

Since you are in Southern Alberta, pop down to Head Smashed In Buffalo Jump to enjoy bannock and bison burgers. Learn more about the food and events at Head Smashed here.

Fresh Food during Alberta Open Farm Days – All over Alberta (August 18 – 19)

This August, rural communities across Alberta will be opening their gates to their urban neighbours and shining a spotlight on some of the province’s most talented chefs. With over 100 farms participating, you can get a glimpse into the day-to-day responsibilities of some of Alberta’s farmers and ranchers, watch demonstrations and hear stories about life on the farm. Several culinary events showcasing Alberta-grown food will also be available to attend. If you are planning to visit several farms on the route, visit Travel Alberta for travel tips on places to stay in the province and other recommended sights along the way.

If you are near Medicine Hat, check out the Big Marble Farm and taste carrots straight from the ground then stick around for the Farm To Table Feast at Neubauer Farms. Want to get lost? Head to the Lethbridge Corn Maze. Are you checking out the Dinosaurs in Drumheller? Stop at the Rosebud Valley Honey farm to tour the hives and taste some of the sweet bee syrup.

Castle Mountain Huckleberry Festival – Castle Mountain Resort, AB (August 24 – 26)

Back for its 23rd year, Castle Mountain Resort celebrates a Rocky Mountain-grown fruit – the huckleberry. The sweet and tart berries grow in abundance throughout the Rockies and make for excellent pie filling, jam, and snacking. Spend the day celebrating the huckleberry at the beautiful Castle Mountain Resort while listening to live music, enjoying delicious BBQ and drinks, and, of course, picking berries. If you’re not quite ready to head home after the festival, stop in some nearby towns for more sightseeing. Not too far from the resort are the beautiful and scenic Lethbridge (1.5 hours) and Waterton Lakes National Park (1 hour).

Vancouver Island for Fresh or Fun Food

On July 21, the Vancouver Island Vegan Association will be showcasing delicious meat-free food that herbivores and meat-eaters alike will love. Victoria’s Centennial Square will be home to veggie heaven for the Vegtoria Day, with over 50 animal-free food vendors, live entertainment, and locally made artisanal goods to peruse. Spend the day sampling vegan treats, hearing animal rights organizations speak, and purchasing cruelty-free items like soaps, clothing, and jewellery.

Oh, this you’ll love. Have you done the self-guided Nanaimo Bar Trail through Nanaimo? Take the stroll and enjoy as many varieties of the bar as you can before the sugar overload hits you. There are bars, fudge, ice cream, cocktails and spring rolls to try. Spring Rolls??? Check out Tourism Nanaimo for ideas then put on them walking shoes!

South Cariboo Garlic Festival – Lac La Hache, BC (August 25 – 26)

While garlic may seem like an unusual food to honour with a festival, the South Cariboo Garlic Festival has been enthusiastically celebrating the pungent plant for 20 years. Spend the day taste testing garlicky treats such garlic ice cream (yes, really!), burgers, and garlic dip, as well as traditional fairway food and summer favourites. The festival also features live entertainment – including an Elvis tribute artist – and local vendors selling gourmet food items.

If a trip to the South Cariboo area is part of a greater summer adventure, spend some time in the beautiful towns of 100 Mile House (20 minutes away) or Williams Lake (under an hour away), where the opportunities for outdoor activities are endless.

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