5 Northwestival activities that will get you in the winter spirit

Nov 29 2021, 7:24 pm

Summer isn’t the only season for outdoor festivities.

On Sunday, December 5, Calgarians will have the opportunity to warm up to winter at this year’s Northwestival. The spacious outdoor festival — which is in its fourth year — features an afternoon of winter-packed fun and snowy enchantment.

Hosted in University District, a burgeoning community that has a vibrant retail main street and a wide variety of housing, the festival is also an opportunity to get to know the neighbourhood and connect as a community.

Northwestival boasts tons of activities, all of which are a mixture of free or token-based. Tokens are $1 each and can be purchased on-site and activities range from one to five tokens each. While admission is by donation with proceeds going to I Can for Kids — a local charity that helps feed children and youth impacted by hunger. Save-On-Foods located on the Retail Main Street will generously match donations.

So, get your toques and mittens on for a day of frosty fun. Here’s a sneak peek at some of the family-friendly activities and holiday surprises that are in store at this year’s event.

Peak to Prairie Market

One of Northwest Calgary’s favourite markets is coming to University District. Peak to Prairie Market promises to bring countless local gifts and goods sure to kickstart your holiday shopping.

With an impressive collection of local and small business vendors, the market is a strong addition to this year’s Northwestival activity roster.

Toasty fire pits and s’mores

Gather around the festival’s warm fire pits for a little reprieve from the zero-below weather. Roasting sticks, graham crackers, chocolate, and marshmallows will be provided for your s’more-sizzling needs. It’s the perfect way to warm up and re-energize for an afternoon of activities.

Jane Bond BBQ food truck and Sugar Creek Kettle Corn Co. will also be at the festival to satisfy your foodie cravings.

Live performances and entertainment

Get your jingle-bell rock on at Northwestival’s main stage, where live musical acts will have a variety of tunes to get you moving and provide the soundtrack to the afternoon’s festivities.

As you dance along to the tunes, you’ll also be treated to roaming performers and entertainers (pyro-jugglers, fire-breathers, acrobats, and other outlandish performers). Oh, and to make sure you capture the magic at Northwest Pole and ice bench, the ever-popular Snow Queen will be available for photos.

During the event, you’ll also be treated to a performance by Canadian indie-alt-rock band The Royal Foundry. The husband-wife duo, along with touring band members are expected to perform at 4 pm in Northwest Commons Park.

Winter workshops

From face painting to arts and crafts provided by Calgary’s premier DIY workshop Pinnovate, there will be no shortage of festival workshops to keep your hands busy and your creative juices flowing — you’ll be able to make wooden gift tags, glitter ornaments, and adorable gnomes.

Prepare yourself — and your family and friends — for all the winter-themed experiences including kangaroo cuddles, inflatable axe throwing, cabane à sucre, and delicious, hot drinks and topping station around 30-foot-tall, heated igloo tents.

Frosty memories photo booth

What better way to cement this winter wonderland into your memory — and connect with family and friends — than with some photo booth fun? Head into an igloo with a friend, make silly faces, and share some belly laughs you’re sure to look back on fondly. Oh, and this year’s photo booth has a new backdrop and props to show off your creativity — print out your images and boom, you have your holiday card.


When: Sunday, December 5
Time: 1 to 6 pm
Where: Northwest Commons Park, University District with parking located behind the University District Discovery Centre at 4410 University Avenue NW
How: Admission to Northwestival is by donation and will support local charity, I Can for Kids. Tokens are $1 each and can be purchased on-site (activities range from one to five tokens each). ATMs will be available on-site. Be sure to bring your mask when you visit and face coverings are recommended for ages 2+ (they are also required inside the activity igloos at the festival).

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