5 things to do in Edmonton this weekend

Water gun art, a laugh-out-loud improv tournament, free walking tours and the incomparable Bobby McFerrin are all coming your way this weekend.

This weekend's theme is art - whether fancy, silly, musical or water gun-based

The Works Art and Design Festival kicks off in Edmonton on June 19. (The Works/Facebook)

Art’s a shooting gallery

What: Ever see a performer, singer or artist who is so good you simply just want to throw something at them out of pure jealousy? Well, here’s your chance (kind of). Bright Lights Cold Water is inviting you to arm yourself with a flashlight and water gun, and head over to Government House Park Friday night. Once there, you will be treated to a performance of dance, music and drama … and you will get to shoot a dancer in the face with your water gun. Cool.

When? June 20 from 10 to 11:30 p.m.

Edmonton's own Rapid Fire Theatre performers Julian Faid and Jessie McPhee perform in the 2013 Improvaganza tournament. (Rapid Fire Theatre/Facebook)

Laugh out loud

What: First I need a location … how about the Citadel Theatre? Now, can anyone give me a job someone might have … A male stripper? No, too easy. OK, an improv player. Perfect — but why stop there? Why not bring in a whole bunch of improv players?

If you didn’t recognize that as the set-up for an improv show, then it is time for you to check out Improvaganza — Canada’s largest festival celebrating improvisational comedy and storytelling, hosted right here in downtown Edmonton. The tournament will feature more than 20 teams from across the planet, and is guaranteed for a laugh. A full schedule and festival passes are available online.

When? June 18 to 28

Discover Downtown

What: Live in Edmonton but also in fear of downtown? Or maybe you just don’t make it to the city centre as often as you might like, and feel out of touch with the restaurants, art spaces, stores and markets that have been popping up over the past few years? The Core Crew is offering free walking tours of the downtown district, highlighting historic buildings and landmarks, interesting architecture and cultural hot spots along the way. All tours start at the micro-park at 104th Street and Jasper Avenue, and last about 90 minutes. Check out the website for more information. 

When? June 18 to August 22

Ten-time Grammy winner Bobby McFerrin will be performing at the Winspear Centre Tuesday night as part of the Edmonton International Jazz Festival. (CBC)

And on Tuesday…

What: While not precisely the weekend, I could not forgive myself for not giving Bobby McFerrin a shout out. The 10-time Grammy winner will be in town for the Edmonton International Jazz Festival, bringing his signature mix of pop proficiency, orchestral mastery and gobsmacking a capella talent to the Winspear. Seriously, if you can get to this, you won’t regret it.

When? June 24 at 7:30 p.m.

Festival Roundup

What: There are so many festivals happening this weekend it didn’t seem fair to skip out on mentioning any of them — so here’s your roundup:

  • The Works Art & Design Festival is two weeks of art exhibitions and events held all around town — check out the schedule here.
  • Edmonton International Jazz Festival: I’ve already talked up Bobby McFerrin, but there will be plenty of other headliners performing through to June 29 at venues across the city. 
  • Zoo Fest: Help raise money for the Edmonton Valley Zoo, get up close with some exotic animals and enjoy a nice glass of wine while you’re at it. More info here.
  • Beaumont Blues & Roots Festival: Calling itself “Canada’s biggest little music festival,” this little event is hosting some seriously big names. Check it out here.