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Events & festivals 

Haligonians love to celebrate, throwing “fest” on the end of whatever we can get away with, frolicking in our three weeks of sun and turning every day of the summer into The Best Day of Summer—popsicles mandatory.


June 22-24
RBC Multicultural Festival
Atlantic Canada's largest cultural festival is back and there's never been a better time to get down to the waterfront and celebrate Canada's multicultural identity. With a bunch of food stands, vendors, world music (like the World Drum of Peace and Afro Nova Musica), arts and crafts, a children's pavilion, cultural displays, dancing and over 500 performers, it'll be one big melting pot of entertainment in the international language of fun. Halifax Seaport near Pier 21, $7 ($2 children), 423-6534,

July 1
Canada Day
Canada's birthday! The one day every year that you can wear red and white in abundance and get drunk in the streets without looking out of place. Now's the time to drag your lawn chairs down to the waterfront---don't even attempt to find parking ---and fight blindly to protect your perfect spot against large families and pushy-pushers. The fireworks are notoriously terrible but what does that matter? It's about Canadian camaraderie, face paint and seeing who can sing the national anthem the loudest. This year, it might be you. Alderney Landing, Citadel Hill and other locations,

July 1-8
Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo
If you're looking for traditional fare, you will find tartan in abundance at the annual Tattoo. Pipes, drums and a focus on the military with the accompanying historical re-enactments, the Tattoo also features plenty of talented civilian dancers, acrobats and choirs. Local and international world-class performers come together each year in an attempt to outdo each other. This year, they will be jumping on the Titanic bandwagon with a commemorative scene (Kate and Leo will likely not be in attendance, but don't let that deter you). Can't make the show but want to rub shoulders with the acts? Keep an ear out for accents this week; plenty of performers make it their mission to sample a beer from every Halifax bar. Halifax Metro Centre, 1800 Argyle Street, 420-1114,

July 22-29
Halifax Pride Week
Get out your rainbow-coloured skivvies, it's Pride Week's 25th anniversary of LGBTQ celebrations and they are going all-out this year. The annual Dykes versus Divas softball game is sure to be a nail-biter, themed nights at the bars will get you party hoppin', there will be plenty of family-friendly activities and the body-painted, feather-filled, costumed explosion of Pride Parade marches from Barrington Street to Citadel Hill on July 28. It's about inclusion no matter your orientation, and celebrating our community, so get involved and feel the love, Halifax. Various locations,

July 19-23
Tall Ships
Billowing white sails and pirate fantasies are just the beginning of Nova Scotia's favourite Tall Ships extravaganza. Taste of Nova Scotia will transform Sands at Salter (try not to think of it as Halifax's largest litter box) into a culinary sensation---sample fresh seafood, gourmet meals and local wines---while Parks Canada will be busy turning back time to 1812---through re-enactment, storytelling and military spectacles---for the historical war's bicentennial. As always, you're welcome to tour the great ships or just stand back in that special kind of boat-awe as you take in the music and festivities. Halifax waterfront and ports across Nova Scotia,

August 2-6
Alexander Keith's Natal Day Festival
Now's the time to make like a true Haligonian, and take the rest of the week off to celebrate the founding of our great metropolis. There's a reason Alexander Keith was re-elected as mayor three times---we can only imagine it was because he knows how to party. There will be blues and comedy nights, free concerts, several fireworks displays, a tea party with the mayor (Kelly, not Keith) and loads of family-friendly events---you'd be hard-pressed not to find at least one bouncy castle in the city this week. Oh, and of course, beer tents galore. If the Keith's isn't flowing like water, it isn't Natal Day. various locations, 490-6773, 

August 2-12
Halifax International Busker Festival
Street performers from all over the world flock to our waterfront in an explosion of acrobatics, comedy, fire shows (not as impressive in the daylight, believe me), music, art and more feats of daring or just plain weirdness. Over the years, some acts have become repetitive but if you spend some time searching out the new or odd, you are always rewarded. For the less ambitious, head over in the afternoon, stake your claim to some good seats and watch every show that graces the stage. Make sure to bring pockets full of disposable income---you'll be feeling generous...or shamed into giving generously, depending on the performer. Halifax waterfront,

August 10-11
Seaport Beerfest
Beer, glorious beer! The sixth annual Beerfest is poised to bring us yet another jam-packed weekend of beer tasting (not guzzling---manners, come on!) to the sunny Seaport. Over 200 beers and ciders are going to be available, local food to cleanse your palate and three bands to set the mood as it all flows down. You're not going to want to hit this fest on an empty stomach, so have a big lunch first and don't forget to bring a designated driver (er, friend) to enjoy it all with you. Marginal Road by Seaport Market,

August 19
Clam Harbour Sandcastle Contest
Every year it's the same: We do our damnedest to sculpt a castle fit for a merman---encrusted with seashells and beach glass, larger than even the sandcastle of your dreams---and every year we're beat out by the impossibly crafted works of art that emerge along the beach. Last year the $500 first place prizes went to a three-level Rapunzel-like tower and "Pirates of the Clamibean," a boat sculpted out of sand with driftwood masts...why, that's not even seaworthy! Join in the fun either solo or with a group, registration is $20 for adults, $30 for adult teams, $10 for youth and children 12 and under are free. Clam Harbour Beach Provincial Park,

August 19
The IncrEDIBLE Picnic
The flagship community picnic being held at the waterfront is only one of eight other IncrEDIBLE picnics sponsored by Select Nova Scotia and taking place around the province. Featuring one large communal table filled with locally-sourced deliciousness, the aim is to give participants a personal look at local food suppliers while also celebrating and supporting them in a fun and social way. It's incredible how much better things taste when you get them close to home---try it and see. Halifax waterfront,

September 1-3
Labour Day weekend
It's the last strains of summer and it's finally hot enough to brave the Atlantic ocean, so pack a lunch and get the hell out of Dodge, man. If sand in your private bits isn't your thing, head downtown and post up on one (or several) of the city's fine patios while you toast the last of our summer long weekends. It's also the end of most leases, so be on the lookout for discarded treasures on the side of the road---someone else's ill-planned move is your gain! If you did it all right, you'll go to sleep happy on Monday with images of an awesome summer dancing in your brain (though that could also be bedbugs from the street mattress you picked up that day).

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