Thrill to Caesar in Prescott or rodeo riders in the Outaouais. Sip wine in Picton or whisky in Kingston. Catch a concert by Flo Rida or Hey Rosetta. See a Neil Simon play in Perth. Nibble ice cream in Ottawa. Choose from more country music festivals than you can shake a Stetson at. Whatever you do and wherever you go, have fun!
Enjoy Shakespeare in Prescott
The 14th annual St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival opens this weekend in Prescott and runs for the next month (July 16 to August 20). The professional company’s performances take place under the stars (or the afternoon sun) in the open-air Kinsmen Amphitheatre, overlooking the riverfront. As well as the two main shows—Julius Caesar and Much Ado About Nothing—which alternate throughout the festival, there are also special events, such as a sunset dinner cruise through the 1000 Islands with actor R.H. Thompson on August 7.
Laugh till it hurts in Montreal
Need a good giggle? The Just for Laughs Festival (July 13 to August 1) may be just the ticket. Comics on stage this year include Sarah Silverman, Lewis Black, Howie Mandel, Hannibal Buress and Jeremy Hotz.
Head to the fair in Almonte
Another community gets a jump on fall fair season by holding its festivities in the summer! The Almonte Fair (July 15 to 17) features livestock shows, a demolition derby, live music, a chili cookoff, a midway, talent shows and more.
Be a little bit country in Brockville, Wendover or Shawville
It was one of the biggest country supergroups of all time: the Highwaymen brought together Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson for three albums in the ’80s and ’90s. The Brockville Arts Centre gives you the chance this week to hear all those hits again with “The Highwaymen Tribute: Willie, Waylon and Johnny Cash” (July 13 at 8pm, and July 14 at 2pm and 8pm).
Meanwhile, with line dancing, a comedy show, an arts and crafts market, kids activities and more, the Wendover Western Festival (July 12 to 17) offers lots to do even if you wouldn’t know Tim McGraw from Tom Mulcair. But if you do know your country music, there are four days’ worth of it to enjoy.
Country tunes are also the star attraction at the Shawville Lions Country Jamboree (July 14 to 17) in West Quebec’s Pontiac region. Performers will include Adrienne Taylor, Levi Hart and the house band, Unwound.
Be festive in Perth
This weekend marks the 25th anniversary of Perth’s popular Stewart Park Festival (July 14 to 17), which will also celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Perth Military Settlement this year. The free music festival presents a huge range of artists—from Celtic acts to Venezuela’s Santa Rosa Project—on three stages. Between shows, you can browse in artisan and food markets, or enjoy workshops or family activities. Shuttle buses will be circling the town to ferry visitors (about 20,000 are expected) from parking lots to the festival site. While the festival is free, you can donate at the gate if you like.
Browse for antiques in Morrisburg
Dealers from across the region will be converging on Morrisburg this weekend (July 16 and 17) for the community’s 18th annual Antiquefest. Even if you’re not into Depression glass or Chippendale furniture, you might want to check it out—there will also be vintage car displays, beer and wine tastings, and live entertainment.
Root for rodeo riders in the Outaouais
If you happen to wander into the small Outaouais town of Saint-André-Avellin over the next few weeks, you might think you’ve taken a wrong turn and ended up in Calgary. Shrink the Calgary Stampede just a bit, subtract the oil and the Rocky Mountains, and add a generous helping of Québécois joie de vivre, and you’d end up with something pretty close to the Festival Western Saint-André-Avellin (July 15 to 24), 10 days of rodeo-style fun. This event is huge, with gymkhana and rodeo competitions, line dancing, country music concerts, a parade and much more. Saint-André-Avellin is about 10 minutes north of Papineauville.
Take the kids out for ice cream at the Central Experimental Farm
Given the heat wave this week, it’s probably fair to predict that the Ice Cream Festival at the Central Experimental Farm (Saturday, July 16) will be a big hit with heat-dazzled kids and their frazzled parents. Learn to make ice cream and milkshakes, meet a beekeeper and a dairy farmer, try your hand at milking and—of course—eat lots of the beloved summertime treat.
Celebrate Pride in Brockville
Brockville Pride Week (July 11 to 16) features a wide range of fun for members and allies of the LGBTQ community, from a potluck dinner and a pub night to a parade and a burlesque show.
Rock on in Quebec City
This is your last weekend to catch the Festival d’Été de Québec, which runs until July 17. The massive music festival hosts performers on 10 stages throughout the downtown core; shows this week include a triple bill of Neil Finn, Bryan Ferry and Duran Duran on Friday night, Flo Rida on Saturday night and Rammstein on Sunday night.
Kick back on the beach at Mooney’s Bay
North America’s biggest single-day outdoor beach volleyball tournament (wow, that’s a lot of modifiers!) rolls into Mooney’s Bay this weekend. The H.O.P.E. Volleyball Summerfest features volleyball games galore (natch), concerts by Hey Rosetta and others, and lots of other fun under the sun. Proceeds support six charities.
Raise a glass in Kingston and Picton
On Saturday, July 16, whisky expert Sylvain Bouffard will be guiding a group of sippers through an afternoon of whisky tastings and food pairings at Bellevue House, Sir John A. Macdonald’s one-time home in Kingston. The cost is $60 and reservations are required.
Also on July 16, the Wine Passport to Canada event at the Heritage Crystal Palace in Picton gives you the chance to taste some of the hundreds of wines, ciders and meads that competed in the All-Canadian Wine Championships. Proceeds support the Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital Foundation.
Catch a Neil Simon classic in Perth
This weekend is your last chance to catch the Classic Theatre Festival‘s production of Neil Simon’s comedy I Ought to Be in Pictures (running until July 17). Later in the season, the festival will present Arms and the Man by George Bernard Shaw and An Inspector Calls by J.B. Priestley. Throughout the summer, the Perth professional theatre company also offers daytime and nighttime walking tours/theatre performances hinging on Lanark County history.
Dance in the streets in Maniwaki
The Festival d’été de Maniwaki (July 15 and 16) will bring two days of free musical performances to the rue des Oblats in this Outaouais community. Musical guests include the Box, Marie Chantal Toupin, Bodh’aktan and Creedence Clearwater Revival tribute artists Travelling Band. On Saturday, there will also be a kids’ activity area, a market and evening fireworks.
Live on the cutting edge in Kingston
On Friday, the second annual Kick and Push Festival opens in Kingston (July 15 to August 13). It will bring another season of innovative, interactive theatre to unusual venues across the Limestone City, such as the historic Murney Tower and the backstage areas of the Grand Theatre. Productions include Beneath Our Feet, billed as “an acrobatic folk opera spanning 200,000 years of human history,” as well as more traditional fare, such as Chicago.
Keep your eyes open in the Adirondacks
Birders: the Paul Smith’s Visitor Interpretive Center (VIC) is offering Teddy Roosevelt Bird Walks on Thursdays and Saturdays until July 23. See if you can spot birds that the young Teddy eyed while visiting this property in the 1870s. Advance reservations required. Paul Smith’s (yes, that’s the name of the town) is about 200 kilometres southeast of Ottawa in New York’s Adirondacks.
Sip tea with Alice in Smiths Falls
The Heritage House Museum in Smiths Falls is holding an Alice in Wonderland-themed tea on Sunday, July 17, complete with croquet on the lawn and dessert. Reservations required.
Browse for art in Renfrew
Art in the Park (July 16 and 17) will bring artists and art lovers together at Haramis Park in Renfrew. Browse for pieces made in a wide range of media, and check out the kids’ activities and food vendors.
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