Halifax’s summer festival season heats up with food, culture, film, music, and more
By Janice Hudson
With warm weather and sunny skies upon us, Halifax pulses with new energy. Festivals and special events are happening throughout June, making summer a great time to learn about the vibrant cultures and the dynamic people that make this city so exciting. Here are top picks of what to see, do, and discover in the city this month.
June 1 to 4 is the 11th-annual Cedar Festival (page 45), a fun-filled weekend of entertainment, mouth-watering Lebanese cuisine, dance lessons, live performances, cultural demonstrations, plus a cooking competition and fashion show. Hosted by Our Lady of Lebanon Church on Joseph Howe Drive, this free festival includes plenty of activities for little ones, too, including a bouncy castle, magic show, carnival games, and face painting.
Now in its fifth year, Doors Open Halifax (page 45) lets you explore some of the city’s prominent buildings and landmarks. On June 3 and 4, over 30 venues representing Halifax’s history, culture, and industry will participate in this free event. New this year, see inside Canada Border Security Agency’s Marine Centre of Expertise on Marginal Road. Meet the people who search marine vessels and cargo containers for weapons, drugs, and contraband. Or stop by the Hope Blooms greenhouse and gardens on Brunswick Street, and meet the youth entrepreneurs who grow herbs for the successful line of salad dressings.
A 45-minute drive east of Halifax on Highway 7, Memory Lane Heritage Village (page EC9) hosts the fourth-annual Eastern Shore Cold Waters Seafood Festival (page 45) on June 3 and 4. Sample some of the tastiest seafood in the region, with fresh clams, lobsters, mussels, and haddock prepared numerous ways, plus historic foods like smoked fish and Solomon Gundy. Kids will love the on-site demos and activities, including dory rides, buoy painting, net knitting, and lobster-trap building.
Continuing through June 11, the Scotia Festival of Music (page 46) celebrates chamber music with 50 events, including concerts, recitals, open rehearsals, and master classes. Halifax’s first family of classical music, the Djokic family take the stage on June 9. Parent musicians Philippe Djokic and Lynn Stodola perform with their talented children, violinist Marc Djokic and cellist Denise Djokic. For the closing gala on June 11, many top musicians will join forces, including pianist John Novacek, cellist Ani Aznavoorian, and violinists James Ehnes and Giora Schmidt.
Celebrating 31 years, Halifax Greek Fest returns to St. George’s Greek Orthodox Church on Purcells Cove Road from June 8 to 11. Enjoy live music, traditional dancing, art and cultural exhibitions, language workshops, religious artifacts, and tasty Greek cuisine. While noshing on souvlaki, watch dancers take the stage with their high-energy moves. Kids will love the Olympic area that includes face painting, an inflatable ride, cool treats, and balloons.
Now in its sixth year, the OutEast Queer Film Festival (page 45) celebrates queer independent cinema from local, national, and international filmmakers. Happening June 15 to 17, the festival showcases a range of films, including documentary, fiction, and animation, that will challenge, educate, and entertain audiences. Venues include Halifax Central Library, the Museum of Natural History, and Good Robot Brewing.
On June 29 to July 3, Bedford Days has lots of spirited family fun, including two fireworks shows, a dog show, face painting, train rides, bicycle stunts, ice cream, and much more. At the Convoy Quay, Theodore Too (the tugboat replica of Theodore Tugboat based on the popular kids’ TV series), is back for free deck tours during the Kids’ Extravaganza on Wednesday, June 29 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Taking place June 29 to July 6, the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo is the world’s largest annual indoor show of its type. Known for its pomp, precision, and bag pipes, the event brings together military and civilian performers from around the world, including pipe and military bands, acrobats, trapeze artists, gymnasts, choirs, and more.