The Lilac Festival is a great celebration of community, kicking off the city’s festival season and bringing Calgarians together with artisan vendors, local musical talent, fantastic food, and entertainment. It truly offers something for everyone.
Held on Sunday June 4, 2017, from 10am to 6pm, the street festival runs along 4th Street SW from 13th Avenue all the way to Elbow Drive, and draws thousands of attendees.
If you find the crowds intimidating, or are checking out Lilac Fest for the first time, we’ve created a guide with all our insider knowledge on how to get the most out of your day!
For zero parking stress, take the train
We always recommend taking public transportation. You can walk over from the Erlton/Stampede station or downtown, and save yourself the hassle of navigating the traffic, crowds, and closed streets.
If you must drive, take advantage of free parkades
Graciously provided by Strategic Group, there are three free parkades for Lilac Fest visitors. The 20/20 building with access off 2nd Street and 20th Ave, the parkade at the Mission Medical Centre on 23rd Ave and the 1800 building, with access off 18th Ave. Remember that 4th street is surrounded by a residential community, so respect their property and head to one of these great parking options.
The crowds descend on Lilac Fest in the afternoon around 1pm, so if you’re hoping to avoid them, come first thing in the morning. While the festival officially opens at 10am, many vendors are already open and selling as early as 9am.
Catch the Parade
Another bonus to coming early? You’ll be able to grab a great spot to watch the kick-off parade. See local dignitaries, marching bands, and fun floats celebrating the 4th Street community.
Pick the perfect patio seat
Just before noon, grab your spot for lunch while prime seating is still available. There are many great restaurant patios along the street that offer delicious food and the perfect spot for people watching.
Check when your favourite local band is playing
The 4th Street Festival Society has selected a great line up of local favourites, as well as new and emerging local musicians to showcase their talents. There are six stages hosting over 30 performances throughout the day, so check out the details before you head down, and make note of the performance times you don’t want to miss.
Check out both main entertainment stages
Want to see it all? Performances at the two mainstages are staggered so you don’t have to choose between the two. Once you’ve watched a show at one stage, head over to the next! We’re excited for performances by the Cool Choir, the Mocking Shadows, Amy bishop, and so many more.
Give your kids (and yourself!) a break
There is a great family area at 18th Ave, where parents can relax and kids can enjoy lots of activities just for them. Kids can bounce, check out the Pedalheads bike demos, face painting, and enjoy a performance by the well-known kid’s entertainer, Dean Stanton.
Stay fueled up
Keep your energy up by sampling eats all the way down 4th Street. At 14th Ave you’ll find a great selection of 16 food trucks, and 4th Street restaurants will take to the streets with their food as well. We love that you can sample so many different places, making note of which ones you want to come back and visit for a full meal.
And above all, come prepared to have fun. We hope you take these tips and have a great time at the Lilac Festival!