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Photo by Daman Singh

Lilac Festival 2023 recap

By Ramiro Bustamante Torres, June 9 2023—

If you haven’t been to the Lilac Festival before or even heard of it — here’s a recap of this year’s event and what you can expect for next year.

The 4th Street Lilac Festival was held on June 4, between 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The festival spanned from most of 4th Street SW in Cliff Bungalow, going from 12 Avenue to Elbow Drive and expanding onto the road of 17th Avenue.

This free event closed down the street and had stands from local businesses or vendors from around the city. The stands this year showed a variety of vendors and other businesses around Calgary. There were stands for the shops already on the street while other shops such as consignment stores and local start-ups from Calgarians were present showcasing their works. This included handmade accessories such as earrings and bracelets or even leather pouches.

There was no shortage of food with the local restaurants open for business and food trucks around to keep everyone fed. It was a hot summer day this year, making sunscreen and a refreshing drink a must. Many of the food options were from the already existing food shops with stands or patios open for the festival, such as the Yann Haute Patisserie and The Purple Perk. The usual food trucks in Calgary made an appearance as well, many seen at other events such as Calgary Expo and Otafest. 

There were also local musical acts and dance groups that presented across the seven stages at different areas of the festival. Bands such as Frank Mona Band, Sonia Deleo & the New Dads and many more took to the stage to give Calgarians a live performance. Personally, one of the acts that I enjoyed a lot was from the group Music2DiSoul — playing covers of songs such as the late Tina Turner’s “Proud Mary” —on the 15 Avenue Stage sponsored by X92.9 Calgary’s Alternative radio station.

Frank Mona band // Photo by Daman Singh

Looking at the dance groups, there was the SambaSoul YYC group dancing to Brazilian sambas with carnival attire and the Mazovia Polish Song and Dance Association with folk dances from Poland. Two stages were dedicated to various dance groups bringing energy to the festival. Along with buskers on the side, everywhere you went there was some music to be heard. 

Photo by Daman Singh

There was an estimated expected number of around 100,000 people that would attend the event and being there, you could really feel how busy it got. Even with the expansion into 17th Ave, there were clusters of people where you had no choice but to move with the crowd to avoid getting pushed around. Paired with the heat, it was hard to see everything without feeling heat exhaustion. However, seeing a Calgary tradition continuing and many people showing up to support speaks to how this event is a must if you’re in town for it. 

For next year’s Lilac Festival, check out their website here or follow them on social media for more information.

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