Ten Wacky Summer Festivals

Come cottage season, small towns across Canada host of one-of-a-kind events and fun festivals. Some are wacky, some are whimsical, and some are just plain weird. Here are a few of our favourites:

May 27: Thunder Bay Kite Festival
Thunder Bay, Ont.
Go fly a kite! Or, at least, watch expert displays of kitemanship during this award-winning event.

June 1-3: The Great Canadian Cheese Festival
Picton, Ont.
Prince Edward County is home to the cheesiest festival in Canada. There are more than 100 artisan cheeses to taste!

June 22-24: Les Cartonfolies
Témiscouata-sur-le-Lac, Que.
Celebrate all things cardboard. There are cardboard boating events, cardboard art displays, and cardboard stock car races.

July 12-14: Canada’s Fruit & Veg Tech X-Change
St. Williams, Ont.
There’s no better place to eat your vegetables than at this massive three-day farmer’s market, Canada’s largest horticultural trade show.

July 26-29: Collingwood Elvis Festival
Collingwood, Ont.
Elvis has left the building…for cottage country! Join impersonators and tribute artists from around the globe at this year’s event, the largest Elvis festival in the world.

Aug. 3-6: Icelandic Festival of Manitoba
Gimli, Man.
This festival may have old roots—the first “Islendingadagurinn” was held in Manitoba in 1890—but it’s still going strong, with sporting events, entertainment, and, of course, Icelandic culture. Last year’s festivities included “Viking Warfare Tactics and Demonstration.”

Aug. 6-12: Chocolate Fest
St. Stephen, NB
A whole week of chocolate? Yes please! St. Stephen, home of the Ganong factory, is “Canada’s Chocolate Town.”

Aug. 11: Scene of the Crime Festival
Wolfe Island, Ont.
Join mystery lovers—both readers and writers—in the birthplace of Grant Allen, Canada’s first crime writer, for a day of murder, mayhem and more.

Aug. 11-12: Perth Garlic Festival
Perth, Ont.
This is apparently “one of the world’s top 10 garlic festivals,” which suggests that a) people really like to celebrate garlic, and b) It’s a party not to be missed. Bring a breath mint.

Labour Day Weekend: Great Klondike International Outhouse Race
Dawson City, Yukon
It’s no Yukon Quest (and, okay, Dawson City isn’t cottage country), but anything that involves decorated outhouses on wheels is too fantastic to pass up.

For more wacky festivals, see the June 2012 issue of Cottage Life.