August 14, 2023 • Mountain Living
Summer’s End Events
By Kate Barker
It’s the end of summer and while the days are getting shorter and the weather is somewhat cooler, the mountain towns are also starting to slow down. To finish off the sunny season, both Banff and Canmore have events for locals and visitors alike that bring the community together. Here are some upcoming events in the Bow Valley.
Open Mic Night: Aug 25
Enjoy a cozy atmosphere, café style seating, and local talent at artsPlace with the upcoming Open Mic Night, one of their quintessential summer events. Play original songs, covers, or play the grand piano. Bring your own instruments to share your musical talent. This is a great setting to sit back with friends and enjoy the music of the Bow Valley. Entrance for this drop-in event is by donation. The evening is hosted by Julie Chang.
Banff International String Quartet Festival: Sept 1-3
This annual event has graced the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity for nearly 40 years. The festival celebrates the art of chamber music and provides career support for emerging string quartets. The first event was a competition held in 1983 to mark the 50th anniversary of Banff Centre. It was intended as a one-time special event but has become a popular annual celebration. In 2017, the event began its non-competition years.
Highland Games: Sept 2-3
The current iteration of the Highland Games is attributed to King Malcolm III of Scotland, who is also the namesake for the town of Canmore (ceann mór is Gaelic for “great head”, as in great head of state, which was a nickname for King Malcolm III). As such, it’s only fitting that Canmore hosts an annual Highland Games Festival. Celebrate everything Scottish with the highland dance competition, piping and drumming competitions, drum majors contest, heavy sports, tug of war, sheepdogs, Celtic Market, Clan Village, British Car & Motorcycle Show, Scotch tasting, traditional food and beverages, food trucks, Beer Garden and Patio, massed bands, and more.
Canmore Heritage Festival: Sept 8-11
The second annual Canmore Heritage Festival dives into the places, spaces, and landscapes that define Canmore. The festival features over 20 free or low-cost events and activities designed for the whole family. Enjoy the heritage dinner, concert in the garden by the NWMP Barracks, ghost walks, and more. Learn about indigenous culture including storytelling about life before settlement, preparing traditional foods, and putting up a children’s tipi. The event will also feature Canmore’s first ever Doors Open event, which allows participants to discover the town by exploring a wide range of places for free.
Rocky Mountain Half Marathon: Sept 10
Lace up your trainers and get ready for the Canmore Rocky Mountain Half Marathon, 10K, & 5K. Run through woodlands, beside mountain streams, and through a historic mine site, all while taking in the iconic mountain views surrounding Canmore. The race raises funds to help children living with disabilities around the world thrive. This year, the race is supporting the Embrace International Foundation, a Canmore-based charity, that will install a Sensory Room in the Banff Elementary School with the proceeds from the race.
Canmore Festival of Art & Creativity: Sept 15-17
Celebrate Alberta Culture Days right here in the Bow Valley with a weekend of free events and arts programming that the whole family can enjoy. Some of the events offered include art workshops, artist demonstrations, hands-on activities, films, a community campfire, outdoor markets, and live performances. Some programs require registration online or at artsPlace ahead of time. This event is also a great opportunity to volunteer and meet like-minded members of the community.
Melissa’s Road Race: Sept 23
Melissa’s Road Race is one of Banff’s most popular running races and it features a 5K, 10K, and half marathon through all the beautiful mountain scenery that Banff has to offer. The race has been running since 1979. It’s popular for its entertainment along the course, contagious spirit, and post-run party. It’s won Alberta’s Best Road Race awards numerous times and it’s a longstanding tradition in the town of Banff. This event routinely sells out, so if it’s something you’re looking forward to this fall, make sure you sign up early!