12 free and affordable summer activities for families in Manitoba
Manitoba has plenty of family activities during the summer that won't stretch your budget
With summer in full swing, kids are out of school and parents are looking for ways to fill their days. And while some summer programming can cost hundreds of dollars, families don't need to shell out big bucks to stave off boredom.
There are tons of free and affordable activities around Manitoba that offer opportunities for fun for all ages, and kids and grown-ups alike might even learn a thing or two.
Here's a list of 12 events and activities families can enjoy that won't break the bank:
Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival (July 19-30)
The Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival runs from July 19-30 and features free entertainment every day on stage at Old Market Square in the Exchange District, beginning at noon and running until midnight.
The Kids Fringe runs at the Red River College Courtyard beside Old Market Square weekdays from noon until 3 p.m. and weekends from noon until 6 p.m. during the festival. It features special guest performers, crafts, games, and performing arts workshops.
The festival also includes a kids' venue at the Manitoba Theatre for Young People at The Forks. Tickets for shows there are $5 for kids under 12.
Scheduled performances include African Folktales with Erik de Waal, performed by the popular South African storyteller along with his cast of puppet animals; and Jazz Cat, about a singing feline searching for her voice.
Canada Games Festival
Athletes from across Canada arrive in Winnipeg this summer to compete in the Canada Summer Games from July 29 to Aug. 12.
To celebrate, the Canada Games Festival runs throughout the tournament, with a long list of big Canadian musical acts lined up. Artists representing all of Canada's provinces and northern territories will perform at the festival, with different acts each day.
Manitoba's day is Aug. 7, with performances by Royal Canoe, Crash Test Dummies with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, and Fred Penner.
Other artists set to perform throughout the festival include Kardinal Offishall, Alan Doyle and the Trews.
Families can also enjoy activities at the Macdon Family Zone Parks Canada Place every day between 4:30 p.m. and 9 p.m.
Manitoba Sunflower Festival in Altona (July 27-30)
The Manitoba Sunflower Festival bills itself as the signature event in Altona, about 90 kilometres southwest of Winnipeg. The festival starts July 27 with a softball tournament, which runs throughout the festival until July 30.
A parade starts at 10 a.m. on Saturday, July 29. On Sunday, the winner of the Manitoba Sunflower Queen Pageant will be crowned.
The festival also features an art exhibition, farmers market, outdoor entertainment and an old-time dance.
Outdoor movies (Tuesdays and Fridays in August)
You don't need to pay to enjoy a night out at the movies with the family in Winnipeg. Movie screens will be set up in Memorial Park and Assiniboine Park throughout the summer.
Movies on Memorial is organized by the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ. Every Tuesday in August, flicks begin at dusk.
Movies in the Park in Assiniboine Park happens every Friday in August, with two movies each night — one at 7 p.m. and another at 9:15 p.m. Featured movies this summer include La La Land, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Finding Dory and Moana.
Assiniboine Park Summer Entertainment Series
Movies aren't the only entertainment families can enjoy in Assiniboine Park this summer. The Assiniboine Park Conservancy's Summer Entertainment Series is packed with free performances.
Ballet in the Park, featuring the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, has been a tradition since the 1970s and attracts more than 20,000 people annually, the conservancy says. Ballet in the Park runs from July 26-28 at 7 p.m. at the Lyric Theatre.
The Summer Music Series has 18 different performers scheduled throughout July and August. Each show begins at 7 p.m.
The series will feature performers from Folklorama, as well as performances by the Winnipeg Pops Orchestra, Tom Jackson, Ray St. Germain, and Leanne Pearson.
Other events include the Jazz in the Leo Mol Sculpture Garden series and Art in the Park at the Pavilion.
Boardwalk Days in Winnipeg Beach (July 28-30)
Boardwalk Days is the big summer event in Winnipeg Beach, 70 kilometres north of Winnipeg.
Running from July 28-30, the festival features rides by Wonder Shows, a parade and fireworks on Saturday, July 29.
Winnipeg cover band Pop Vegas will bring their renditions of '80s and '90s pop hits to the bandstand on Saturday at 7 p.m.
Hip-Hop Community BBQ in Saigon Park (Aug. 12)
The Hip-Hop Community BBQ features free music and food in Saigon Park in Winnipeg's West End.
On Aug. 12 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., the event features performances by Hellnback, Deepcave, Ari I.Q. and more.
The event is organized by the Spence Neighbourhood Association, Eat Em Up Records and Natural Aspects Promotions.
Morden Corn and Apple Festival (Aug. 25-27)
The fourth weekend in August is the established date for the Corn and Apple Festival in Morden, designated Manitoba's Corn and Apple Belt in 1925.
The festival started in 1967 to mark Canada's 100th anniversary in Morden, just over 100 kilometres southwest of Winnipeg. This year, it runs from Aug. 25-27.
Events this year include dig tours at the Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre; rides by Wonder Shows; art walks; the 31st Annual Border Hills Car Club and South Central H.O.G. Chapter Show and Shine; a historical bus tour; and, of course, the Morden Corn and Apple Festival Parade.
Musical Notes and Lunch Totes in Saigon Park (July 13-Sept. 7)
The West End Cultural Centre and the West End BIZ have teamed up to put on the Musical Notes and Lunch Totes summer concert series.
Performances are every Thursday at noon. The series began July 13 and runs until Sept. 7.
Upcoming performers include Vince Andrushko, Ila Baker, Jaxon Haldane and Mulligrub.
Picnic in the Park in St. John's Park (Aug. 19)
Celebrating the cultural diversity of Winnipeg's North End, Picnic in the Park has been held every year since 2000. This year's event is planned for Aug. 19.
Past events have drawn thousands of North Enders to enjoy free food and entertainment in a community atmosphere.
The North End Community Renewal Corporation recently held a contest to design a new logo for the event, with a $200 prize for the winner. The contest closed Friday, with the winner to be announced soon.
Walk through history
History comes alive in Manitoba. The Lower Fort Garry National Historic Site, 30 kilometres north of Winnipeg, features Canada's oldest stone fur-trading buildings. Visitors can experience the life of the fur trappers and traders of the Hudson's Bay Company as it was in the 1850s.
On Aug. 3, the site holds a commemoration of the signing of Treaty 1, which was signed at the site on that day in 1871 between the Crown and Anishinaabe and Muskegon Cree peoples.
The Mennonite Heritage Village in Steinbach, about 50 kilometres southeast of Winnipeg, also gives visitors an idea of what life was like for settlers in Manitoba. All-day family passes are $30.
The 40-acre site is a reconstruction of a Russian Mennonite village, with a horse barn and fully operational Dutch windmill.
The Pioneer Days celebration runs at the site Aug. 4-7 with demonstrations of steam-powered threshing, pioneer activities, food and music. Pioneer Day Camp runs from Aug. 14-18.
Peguis Treaty Days and Pow Wow
Peguis Treaty Days and Pow Wow runs from July 15-23, marking 146 years since the signing of Treaty 1.
The event includes pow wow competitions, drumming, dancing and games. It celebrates the traditional practices and history of Peguis First Nation.
Competitors will perform their best moose and goose calls, and compete in atheltic activities including slow pitch, triathlon, fast pitch and arm wrestling.
Singing and square-dancing competitions also return.