Folkies, Trekkies, Pets, Quidditch, Hamlet and more: What's on in Calgary this weekend

The folk festival is the main event, but there's also a dog parade, a Harry Potter party in Kensington, an Arab Festival, and UFC at the Saddledome.

Daschund races at Eau Claire, a dog parade through the Beltline and UFC at the Saddledome

The Calgary Arab Festival in Olympic Plaza, Calgary. (Loueye Haymour)

There's more cosplay happening this weekend than just the folkies who will fill Prince's Island Park. There also figures to be multiple photo ops for Trekkies in Vulcan, dark electronic fans  at Dickens Pub, drag queens and kings at Lougheed House, and Harry Potter lovers in Kensington. 

It might just be the most Instagramable Calgary weekend — ever! Homestretch director Tracy Fuller set out to detail it on Thursday's show.

The Calgary Arab Festival

Calgary Arab Festival (Loueye Haymour)

Saturday night at Olympic Plaza, there's a concert featuring Maher Halabi, Maan Salim, Hana Al-Qadasi and Aya Mhana, a Syrian oud player and songwriter. There's a kid zone, with bouncy castle, face painting, glitter tattoo photo both, dancing, food at the shisha cafe, a bazaar — and more. Find out  here.

Beltline Garden Party and Dog Parade

There will be a dog parade at noon Saturday at the Beltline Garden Party, at Lougheed House in Calgary. (Lougheed House)

From 11 to 4 p.m., there's live bands, a DJ, kid's crafts, family games, a beer garden, and — best of all — a noon hour dog parade. It will be judged by drag queens and kings. At 12:30 p.m., Bebe Buckskin — who is known as a kind of Indigenous Janis Joplin — will perform some live music, and there will be a storytime, sponge relay races, and a tour of the gardens unlike any other. More info here.

Kensington Fantasy Faire

Harry Potter's Dragon Alley didn't go away, it just evolved into a full-blown Fantasy Faire, featuring live music, Quidditch, a life-sized chess board, a costume contest , live sword-fighting sessions, an owl hide-out, parasol duels — and much, much more. Sunday, 11 to 5 p.m. throughout Kensington.

Kensington's popular Dragon's Alley event has become the Kensington Fantasy Faire for 2018. (Julien Lecacheur/CBC)


​It's a good weekend to take a road trip to Vulcan, where they are making their annual science fiction festival more family-friendly and community-oriented than ever. This year's event includes a trio of cast members from various editions of the Star Trek series, including Rekha Sharma, currently starring in Star Trek: Discovery (but perhaps best-known for playing Tory Foster in Battlestar Galactica). There's Jennifer Gati, known for playing Ba'el, the half-Klingon, half-Vulcan in Star Trek: The Next Gen and Libby on Star Trek: Voyager, and Tucker Smallwood, author, director, musician — who also played a Xindi charater in Star Trek: Enterprise and also appeared on Star Trek: Voyager. There's a VIP sneak-a-peek Friday, and the convention follows all weekend.

Vulcan residents flash the Vulcan salute at a barbecue on Wednesday. ((Bryan Labby/CBC))

The Hamlet Complex 

There's a world premiere dance piece happening this weekend at the Banff Centre, where choreographer Alan Lucien Oyen premieres his new dance-theatre hybrid of a Shakespearean tragedy in The Hamlet Complex. The show features 12 dancers and three actors, in a show that explores love, longing, desperation, and the meaningful affirmation of our existence. It runs Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m., at Eric Harvie Theatre.

The Hamlet Complex, a dance-theatre adaptation of Shakespeare's tragedy, will be performed Friday through Sunday at Eric Harvie Theatre, at the Banff Centre at 7:30 p.m. (Banff Centre)

Terminus Shockwave

There's also an event for the ​anti-folkies among you. Terminus Shockwave, a festival dedicated to Dark Electronic, Syntha and Industrial music featuring performances by artists from all over the world, is at Dicken's Pub, Friday through Sunday.


There will be folkies filling Prince's Island Park at the same time Eau Claire Market is jammed with pooches, for Petapalooza West. That includes the Running of the Bulls — bulldogs — which is not to be confused with folkies running to lay down a tarp in front of the main stage. There's also a daschund/weiner dog races, a puppy stampede and dock diving, at Eau Claire, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Tecia Torres is part of the card at the UFC fight Saturday at the Scotiabank Saddledome. (Dave Dormer/CBC)

UFC on Fox 30

There's mixed martial arts fighters at the Saddledome on Saturday with UFC on Fox 30 starting at 2 p.m. The main event is a rematch between lightweights Dustin Poirier and Eddie Alvarez. There's also a bout featuring former featherweight champ Jose Aldo, who's taking on Jeremy Stephens, and a women's fight, featuring former champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk, who is now ranked No. 1, taking on Tecia Torres, who is ranked No. 5 in the women's strawweight division. It will be aired on Fox Sports (the main card starts at 6 p.m.) with the preliminary fights airing live on FS1.

Weigh-ins are Friday at the Saddledome from 5 to 6:30 p.m., which are free and open to the public. 

The 39th annual Calgary Folk Music Festival takes over Prince's Island Park July 26-29. (Katherine Duncan)

Calgary Folk Music Festival

There's a musical voice and sound for just about everyone at this year's Calgary Folk Music Festival, thanks to a lineup that includes A Tribe Called Red, Land of Talk, The Barr Brothers, Kobo Town, Destroyer. Also Passenger, Carolina Slim, Joe Jackson and many others. Thursday through Sunday, Prince's Island Park. (If it rains, duck over to Eau Claire and check out Petapalooza.)

With files from The Homestretch