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Halifax Greek Fest

Joyful June

JoyfulJune_Tattoo

It’s festival season in Halifax—here are our favourite summer celebrations

By Trevor J. Adams

 

Celebrating the city’s music, varied cultural communities, military heritage, and rich architecture, Halifax’s festival calendar offers something for every taste this month. No matter when you’re visiting, in fair weather or foul, you’ll find an exciting event.

 

JoyfulJune_Cedar-Festival
Photo: MIT Photography 

FAMILY FUN

The annual Cedar Festival continues through June 3. Fun for the whole family, this Lebanese festival offers live music and dancing, mouth-watering Middle Eastern cuisine, cultural demonstrations, plus a cooking competition and fashion show. And just for the kids, there’s a bouncy castle, magic show, carnival games, and face painting. Our Lady of Lebanon Church on Joseph Howe Drive hosts.

 

JoyfulJune_Scotia-Festival-of-Music
Photo: Tony Hauser

MASTERS OF MUSIC

Continuing through June 10, the Scotia Festival of Music celebrates chamber music with 50+ events, including concerts, recitals, open rehearsals, and master classes. The festival attracts top talents from around the world: this year’s headliner is acclaimed composer and pianist Philip Glass. He performs concerts on June 3 and 5, and takes centre stage for an intimate chat about his craft on June 4 and 6. The concluding gala, this year on June 10, at the Dalhousie Arts Centre is always a highlight. This year Johannes Debus conducts works by Glass, Bach, and Bartok.

 

STEP INSIDE

On June 2 and 3, Doors Open Halifax lets you explore some of the city’s unique architecture. Visitors can explore buildings that are normally closed to the public, and behind-the-scenes spaces in local landmarks. Organizers were still finalizing the venue list at press time. Highlights include Alexander Keith’s Nova Scotia Brewery, Government House, Halifax City Hall, Cathedral Church of All Saintsand the Old Burying Ground.

 

JoyfulJune_Greek-Fest

OPA!

Halifax Greek Fest, running this year from June 7 to 10, is one of the city’s most beloved festivals of the season. Thousands flock to St. George’s Greek Orthodox Church on Purcell’s Cove Road for live music, traditional dancing, art and cultural exhibitions, language workshops, religious artifacts, tasty Greek cuisine, and vendors aplenty. 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.

 

LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION!

Running from June 14 to 16, the OutEast Queer Film Festival celebrates queer independent cinema from local, national, and international filmmakers. It showcases a range of films, including documentary, fiction, and animation, that will challenge, educate, and entertain audiences.

 

JoyfulJune_Bedford-Days

SUMMER TRADITION

For many local families, Bedford Days is the unofficial kickoff to summer. The schedule includes lots for all ages: fireworks, rides, live entertainment, games and competitions, and a beer garden for the grown folks. DeWolf Park, just off the Bedford Highway, hosts from June 28 to July 2.

 

JoyfulJune_Tattoo2

POMP AND PAGEANTRY

Taking place June 26 to July 2, the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo is the world’s largest annual indoor show of its type. Known for its pomp, precision, and music, the event brings together military and civilian performers from around the world, including pipe and military bands, acrobats, trapeze artists, gymnasts, choirs, drill teams, comedians, and more. See it at Scotiabank Centre on Duke Street.

 

Celebrate summer

By Trevor J. Adams

African-Festival-of-Arts-and-Culture-SM_13_29935web

A busy month of festivals and cultural celebrations begins with the Scotia Festival of Music. Continuing through June 8 at venues around the city, this is event is a must for serious music fans, showcasing the best in Chamber music. This year, ScotiaFest marks its 35th anniversary with the return of cellist Lynn Harrell, who performed at the very first edition in 1980. See him at the closing Gala on June 8; he’ll perform Dvorak’s Cello Concerto. Violin virtuoso Giora Schmidt also takes the stage with Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto, while pianist John Novacek plays Daugherty’s Le tombeau de Liberace.
Concurrently, Halifax’s vibrant Lebanese community celebrates its roots with Cedar Festival from June 5 to 8 at Our Lady of Lebanon Parish on Joseph Howe Drive. Festivities include a special mass, musical performances, art exhibitions, food tastings, games, dancing and more.
June also sees the return of one of Halifax’s biggest and most popular festivals. Running this year from June 12 to 15, Halifax Greek Fest always attracts thousands to Saint George’s Greek Orthodox Church
on Purcell’s Cove Road. Lively music and dancing abound, along with cultural exhibitions and Greek cuisine aplenty. Sommelier Costa Elles, the restaurateur behind Ela Greek Taverna and Flipburger, hosts a Greek wine tasting.
That same weekend, Memory Lane Heritage Village in Lake Charlotte hosts the Father’s Day Antique Car Show. Scheduled for June 15 (rain date June 29), the show is a rite of Father’s Day. There are dozens of lovingly restored classic cars, plus live entertainment and Kub Kar races.
This month marks the 30th anniversary of one of Halifax’s longest-running summer events: the Nova Scotia Multicultural Festival. Running from June 15 to 22 at the Halifax Seaport Harbourwalk at the corner of Terminal and Marginal roads, the festival showcases Nova Scotia’s many cultural communities with music, food, art, cultural exhibitions and more.
Bedford Days closes out the month. The erstwhile town to the north of Halifax celebrates its heritage with family-friend events, fireworks, a beer fest, concerts and more. Join the party at DeWolf Park on Waterfront Drive from June 26 to July 1.

Festival Season

June marks the start of the summer festival season in Halifax, with vibrant events for any taste continuing through the month.

Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo runs June 30 to July 7: This is the world’s largest annual indoor show of its type, featuring military and civilian performers from around the world—gymnasts, marching bands, acrobats, comedians and more. Photo: Nova Scotia Tourism Agency

Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo runs June 30 to July 7: This is the world’s largest annual indoor show of its type, featuring military and civilian performers from around the world—gymnasts, marching bands, acrobats, comedians and more. Photo: Nova Scotia Tourism Agency

One of the biggest, the Scotia Festival of Music, actually began in May. This annual festival celebrates the best in chamber, baroque and classical music, with dozens of guest performers visiting for concerts, open rehearsals and masterclasses at venues around the city. This year’s lineup includes conductor Kenneth Woods, pianist Lynn Stodola, violinist Robert Uchida, cellist Denise Djokic, trumpeter Richard Simoneau, Composer-in-Residence Tim Brady and many more. It continues until June 9.

Returning on June 13, the Halifax Greek Fest is one of the city’s most beloved summer festivals. Thousands will gather at Saint George’s Greek Orthodox Church on Purcell’s Cove Road for three days of live music, games, cultural displays, wine tastings, food samples and more. The Fest continues unil June 16.

Another popular event returns on June 21, as the Halifax Seaport Harbourwalk (near the corner of Marginal and Terminal roads) hosts the Nova Scotia Multicultural Festival. Dozens of cultural groups, representing a broad cross-section of the province’s communities, take part in the festival. Rollicking music, tasty cuisine and a friendly atmosphere are this festival’s hallmarks.

Although we’re all one big happy municipality now, the erstwhile town of Bedford maintains its civic pride. Join in the community’s annual celebrations as DeWolf Park hosts Bedford Days from June 27 to July 1. Community celebrations include live entertainment, sports competitions and fireworks.

Concurrently, Halifax marks the nation’s birthday with Canada Day Weekend celebrations around the city. Throughout the weekend, you can check out parades, entertainment and citizenship ceremonies. Venues include Halifax Citadel and the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21.

The month also sees the return of one of the city’s most iconic summer events. The Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo is the world’s largest annual indoor show of its type. Hundreds of performers and both military and civilian acts will perform. The spectacular show at the Halifax Metro Centre on Duke Street includes bands, acrobats, comedians, military drill teams and more.