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'Nothing like a festival': A look at the events that will be taking over Manitoba communities this summer

The Sakihiwe Festival took over Winnipeg's Central Park on Sunday, June 30, 2024. (Daniel Halmarson/CTV News Winnipeg) The Sakihiwe Festival took over Winnipeg's Central Park on Sunday, June 30, 2024. (Daniel Halmarson/CTV News Winnipeg)
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It's that time of year again when communities around the province are gearing up for different festivals, fairs and summer events.

The summer months are littered with activities for Manitobans of all ages to enjoy.

With so much being offered, Linda Whitfield, the vice president of communications and stakeholder engagement with Travel Manitoba, said it's a perfect opportunity for Manitobans to experience what all parts of the province have to offer.

"I think events really are a driver to seeing the rest of the province. There's nothing like a festival to get people outside the city, seeing other parts of the province," said Whitfield.

While attending the festivals will benefit the local events and the organizers who put it on, Whitfield said it is also likely to help the surrounding area when people visit.

"When visitors travel anywhere, they spend on other things as well. So while a restaurant or a gas station, they may not think they're part of the tourism economy, they certainly are when those dollars get spent in their communities."

Looking back at the last few years, Whitfield said the one possible silver lining to come out of the COVID-19 pandemic was Manitobans were able to explore other parts of the province that they may have not seen before.

That trend has continued post-pandemic, as people continue to travel throughout the province.

"The majority of our visitation numbers and dollars that are brought into the province each year are primarily from Manitoba. We have our secondary markets – visitors from the U.S. and international – but the bulk of the visitation spending is Manitobans travelling throughout the province and we fully expect that to continue."

When people explore Manitoba, Whitfield said they also become good ambassadors for the province.

"I think word of mouth is often how people make their travel decisions. You see through social media and other avenues people sharing their travel photos."

CTV News Winnipeg has compiled a list of some of the festivals and events that are happening in Manitoba this summer. Check them out below.

June

Prairie Wind Music Fest June 7-9 in Cypress River

2024 marks the 11th Prairie Wind Music Fest. Manitoba musicians flock to Cypress River to get summer underway.

"Small but mighty, the Fest provides intimacy, uniqueness and awesome hospitality. Come celebrate the joys of music and community with us – there's something for everyone," a note reads on the festival's website.

Tickets can be bought online or at the gate. 

Summer in the City June 14-16 in Steinbach

Summer in the City is back for another year as Manitobans can flock to Steinbach for midway festivities and fun.

"Each year on the third weekend of June, Summer in the City celebrates the diverse heritage and culture of Southeastern Manitoba through arts, entertainment, and food," the event's website reads.

Around 40,000 people attend each year, and the festival has 95 vendors and 200 volunteers to help run it.

Admission is free, but some of the mainstage performances cost extra. 

TD Winnipeg International Jazz Festival June 14-22 in Winnipeg

The TD Winnipeg International Jazz Festival will take over the city at several venues with a variety of performances all week long.

People can take in performances at the West End Cultural Centre, Burton Cummings Theatre, Knox United Church, Pyramid Cabaret, Fort Garry Hotel Club Room, Royal Albert Arms, Little Brown Jug and Bijou patios, and Old Market Square.

Performers, tickets, dates and show times can be found online.

Red River Ex June 14-23 in Winnipeg

Manitobans can take in all a fair has to offer as the Red River Ex is back for another year in 2024.

"From thrill rides to magical performances, The Ex offers fun for families and friends. Plus, our juried art, photography and quilt competitions are returning, showcasing Manitobans' talent and creativity," The Red River Exhibition's website reads.

There will also be agricultural displays, live performances, and all the treats people could ask for.

Gate entry starts at $15. 

sākihiwē festival June 28-30 in Winnipeg

The sākihiwē festival features a pair of block parties at the end of June in Winnipeg's core area.

The festival starts with a ticketed concert Friday night, followed by the Turtle Island Block Party on Saturday and then the Central Park Block Party on Sunday.

"We also serve as a launch pad or stepping stone for Indigenous artists and I'm proud to say that we have a number of new voices from Northern Manitoba and Winnipeg's core ready to take the stage this year," said Alan Greyeyes, the festival director, on the festival's website.

Each block party is free to get into and will have a free barbeque and prize draw available for all attendees.

More details about the festival can be found online.

Dauphin's Countryfest June 28-30

Dauphin will be giving Manitobans their country fix with another edition of the Countryfest.

2024's lineup features names like Alabama, Clint Black, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, and Diamond Rio.

It isn't just music that festival goers can enjoy, as there will also be beach events, food and drink competitions, as well as prizes up for grabs.

More information and tickets can be found online.

JULY

Paranormal Cirque July 4-14 in Winnipeg

The circus will be coming to town, but with a bit of an added scare. Paranormal Cirque will take over the St. Vital Centre parking lot and offer a show that features acrobats, illusionists, and mysterious creatures.

"A crazy yet fun fusion between Circus, theatre, and cabaret in perfect harmony with the evolution of a show that brings you back to when we dream…and when we had nightmares and fantasies," the show's website reads.

Guests must be 13 or older and anyone between the ages of 13-17 must be accompanied by an adult.

Tickets range between $35 and $80. More details can be found online.

Carman Country Fair July 11-13

The fair will be making a stop in Carman in the middle of July, marking the 144th edition of the event.

It is one of the oldest fairs in the province. It has events for everyone to enjoy – ranging from livestock shows and baking competitions to trade show venues and, of course, the midway.

"In addition to showcasing rural life, the fair provides a platform for local businesses and entrepreneurs to promote their products and services," the fair's website reads.

The fair is free to attend, with additional costs for other events on the grounds

Winnipeg Folk Festival July 11-14

One of the larger festivals of the year takes over Birds Hill Park, as music lovers flock to see some of their favourite artists.

The 2024 edition features names like Noah Cyrus, Orville Peck, Grace Potter, and Band of Horses.

The 2023 Folk Fest marked the second-highest attendance in the event's history with more than 74,000 people passing through the gates.

More information about 2024's show can be found online.

Winnipeg International Fringe Festival

July 17-28

This year's festival features more than 140 shows around Winnipeg, along with free kids programming at Old Market Square. More information can be found on the festival's website.

Super-Spike July 19-20 in Winnipeg

Western Canada's largest outdoor volleyball tournament is back for the 15th time.

"You don't need mad skills to take part, but fun is mandatory," reads Super-Spike's website.

Co-ed teams of six take part in tournament-style play over the two days. There is also music throughout, with headliner Down with Webster performing their first live show in Manitoba in over 10 years.

All money raised goes to local charities. All the details can be found online.

Salamander Summer Music Festival July 19-21 in Brandon

Multiple bands and artists will be performing at this music festival in Brandon's Rideau Park. The name comes from the flaming salamander pictured on the City of Brandon's crest, which symbolizes rebirth and immortality.

"Building a new festival out of the ashes of the pandemic, with the hope of bringing people together in community and appreciation of the arts, our committee thought the immortal salamander was an excellent representation of our idea," the festival said on its website.

More information can be found here. 

Boardwalk Days July 26-28 in Winnipeg Beach

It's an annual event in Winnipeg Beach, which features a craft and vendor market, a parade, fireworks and a giant midway for everyone to enjoy.

Boardwalk Days has free admission. 

Manitoba Sunflower Festival July 26-28 in Altona

The Sunflower Festival celebrates Altona – which is known as the sunflower capital of Canada.

The festival has events, entertainment and a parade for people to enjoy.

There is also a Sunflower Queen Quest for people to partake in.

More details can be found online.

AUGUST

Fire and Water Music Festival Aug. 2-4 in Lac du Bonnet

The August long weekend is all about celebrating artists of all kinds at the Fire and Water Music Festival.

"The Fire & Water Music Festival offers two stages featuring independent music, artist workshops, and children's programming that is fun for all ages," the festival's website reads.

People can also camp at the festival, Tenting is free, while RVs cost $20 per unit.

Ticket details can be found online.

Rockin' the Fields of Minnedosa August 2-4

This classic rock festival has been a popular event since 2004. Headliners this year include Amanda Marshall, Kim Mitchell, Molly Hatchet, Theory of a Deadman and many more.

Those interested in rocking out can find more info online.

Canada's National Ukrainian Festival Aug. 2-4 in Dauphin

Dauphin will once again be home to Canada's National Ukrainian Festival, which is marking its 59th anniversary.

The goal of the festival each year is to reflect the Ukrainian culture as it is in Canada.

Those in attendance can experience, Ukrainian music, dance groups, and a parade. People are also encouraged to visit and explore the Ukrainian Heritage Village museum, which showcases Ukrainian history while settling in Manitoba in the 1900s.

There people can enjoy traditional fresh homemade bread, and see demonstrations of pioneer equipment.

Tickets are on sale and more details can be found online.

Icelandic Festival of Manitoba Aug. 2-5 in Gimli

The Icelandic Festival has been happening since 1890, and has been held in Gimli since 1932.

The focus of the event is in the name, it's all about celebrating the Icelandic culture and descent.

"The Icelandic Festival of Manitoba 'Islendingadagurinn' as far as we have been able to determine, is the second oldest continuous ethnic festival in North America. Islendingadagurinn translates to day of the Icelanders," their website reads.

The festival first started in Winnipeg in 1890 and stayed in the city until 1931. The following year, Gimli hosted the event and it has been there ever since.

People can watch Viking battles, wander through the Viking village, enjoy music, and head to the midway for rides and games.

All the information about the festival can be found online.

Portage Potato Festival Aug. 9-10 in Portage la Prairie

The Potato Festival began in 2004, and came to be as there was no festival in the area then.

People can enjoy live music, a petting zoo and potato-themed events like the Baby Spud Contest.

More details about celebrating the potato can be found online.

Flin Flon's Blueberry Jam Music Gathering Aug. 9-11

It is known as the festival designed for musicians and music lovers.

The three-day event allows people to experience a wide variety of music.

"A mix of local and out-of-town performers of various experience and genres will perform continuously on two stages," the festival's website said.

The festival had 7,000 people attend in 2019, and organizers have been working to grow to those numbers again.

More information can be found online.

Melita Banana Days Aug. 9-11

There will be multiple outdoor activities for people to enjoy, including a golf tournament, tug-o-war competition, bounce castles and a petting zoo.

People can also enjoy free banana splits. On Aug. 10, there will be a mullet competition. Kids and adults will be judged on their business in the front, party in the back looks.

Live music will also take over in the evening in the beer gardens.

Details can be found on the event's social media pages.

Bring Your Love Festival of Arts Aug. 15-19 at Ledwich Family Farm in the RM of Armstrong

This is the festival all about electronic music.

"Join us for four unforgettable days in August, where over 100 local and touring DJs and performers will ignite the stage with their pulsating beats and mesmerizing performances," the festival's website reads.

Along with music, festival-goers can enjoy art, workshops and a vendor village.

Ticket prices and more details can be found on the festival's website.

Whoop and Hollar August 24-25 in Portage la Prairie

Now in its 10th year, this folk music festival in Portage la Prairie showcases a diverse range of artists. Performers this year include Hello Fiasco, Sweet Alibi, Fire and Smoke, and many more.

More information can be found here.

September

Perennial Harvest Moon Festival – Sept. 13-15

Clearwater, Manitoba

Now in its 23rd year, the festival celebrates the harvest season and local food production with musical performances and workshops. This year, the festival will live-stream its mainstage performances for the first time.

More information, including ticket info, can be found online.

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