If you live in Edmonton area, you are familiar with why its called the Festival City, but take a quick drive to the west on Hwy 16, and you’ll discover three small town festivals you won’t want to miss.

Beguiling Bluegrass

Just 45 minutes from the heart of downtown Edmonton is the charming town of Stony Plain. This town works hard to keep ties to its agricultural roots, and its décor includes planters on Main Street that overflow with flowers in the summer, old-fashioned lamp posts and large historical murals. It’s also the site of Western Canada’s largest bluegrass festival.

The Blueberry Bluegrass Country Music Festival has been a staple attraction for more than 25 years and draws in all the big names, including Grammy winners The Earls of Leicester and Hall of Fame inductee Joyce Smith.

The Festival runs the last weekend in July and is three days of family friendly fun that includes activities for kids, food and all the live Bluegrass music you can handle. Learn more at blueberrybluegrass.com.

Poetic Cowpokes

You like poetry, music, art…and cowboys? Then you can’t miss the Stony Plain Cowboy Festival in August. Heading into its 24th year, it’s a showcase of the cowboy life, as seen through the lens of the arts. The itinerary includes good-old-fashioned BBQ meals in addition to live entertainment and a cowboy church service. Round up more details at stonyplaincowboygathering.com.

Cowboy Church Performers (2014)

Cowboy Church Performers (2014)
Credit Stony Plain Cowboy Gathering Society

Get Ready for Christmas

Forget Central Park, New York! Why fly to the United States when you can relax in Spruce Grove’s very own Central Park? Okay, so it’s a teeny fraction of the size, but it’s a beautiful place to relax, it has a small splash park to cool off the kids in the summer, picnic tables for outdoor lunches and trail access for strolls through the city’s green spaces. It’s also the site of a magnificent kick-off to Christmas.

Three Small Town Festivals - Christmas in Central Park , Spruce Grove, Alberta

Credit City of Spruce Grove

Christmas in Central Park is the light-up event of the holiday season where all the park’s trees are draped in colourful strings of lights and the circular pathway is transformed into a skating rink. You can enjoy the beauty from the outdoor seating, take a stroll on the snow-cleared paths, or skate dreamily through the winter wonderland. If you have ever wondered what it would be like to live in a postcard, you’ll know after your first Christmas in Central Park.

Of course, no Christmas event is complete without the jolly big guy himself; he makes a stop in the park to visit kids and hear their wish lists.

What are you Waiting For?

If you love to get out and enjoy festivals and events, but don’t want to deal with the parking and crowds, or want to go to events that are also kid-friendly, check out what small towns and cities have to offer. The above are just three of the many annual events in the Parkland Region, but wherever you are in Alberta, you are just a short drive away from some fantastic fun.