July 9 2009 by Bryson Forbes
With the kids out of school, summer is officially here! This means it's time to look for some fun family things to do. Here are my picks for the top three family festivals happening in July across Canada.
The Calgary Stampede which is underway and runs until July 12, 2009 is known as "the greatest outdoor show on earth". Every year more than one million people attend the Stampede as the city of Calgary shuts down to host this authentic cowboy party. Even my parents host a Stampede party and break out the cowboy and cowgirl apparel for 10 days each July.
There are lots of things to do and see from chuckwagon races to high flying acrobatic performances. The marquee event is always the rodeo, where cowboys compete for over $2 million in prize money. This year Reba McEntire will headline a number of musical acts to perform live. If you have an iPhone, be sure to download the Calgary Stampede App to be in on all the fun!
The Just for Laughs Comedy Festival in Montreal is running Friday, July 3 through 26. This is the 27th year the event has been hosted in Montreal and the comedy line up is as impressive as ever. This year Whoopi Goldberg, John Cleese and Martin Short will grace the stage and have audiences rolling in the aisles. Although the event is noted for stand up comedy, the show has evolved and includes many street performances including improve, dance and circus exhibitions. If you head to Montreal before the 12th of July you'll have the Just for Laughs Festival overlapping with their Jazz Festival and the city will be really hopping.
The Vancouver Celebration of Light (formerly known as The Symphony of Fire) is the largest firework competition in the world. This pyro-musical competition takes places over the course of the summer with four countries competing against each other. The venue since 1990 has been over Vancouver's English Bay. This year kicks off with Canada's night July 22nd, South Africa on the 25th, U.K. on the 29th and finishes with China on August 1st. Six years ago my wife and I took in the event in Toronto from a sailboat on Lake Ontario. It was truly magnificent. Check out more details at http://www.celebration-of-light.com/
So whether you are wearing a cowboy hat and eating pancakes in Calgary or laughing your way through "La Belle Province`` there are plenty of great family festivals to keep you entertained during July. Are there any festivals you recommend we check out?