Before Darkness Falls

Summer 2017: here for a good time, not a long time

Greetings friends, frenemies and fellow citizens! Don’t know if you’ve heard the news, but it’s officially summer and that means we have to have a serious talk. Pull up a chair.

Comfortable? Good.

As of Wednesday June 21, every single day for the rest of 2017 will have less daylight than the one before it. Saturday, June 24 is 17 seconds shorter than Friday, June 23, which is 12 seconds shorter than Thursday June 22 (the day this paper came out). Losing a few seconds a day doesn’t seem like much but it adds up, and before too long it’s Dec. 21 and the sun is setting before 5:00 p.m. And here’s a scary thought: there’s no guarantee it will get lighter after that! Oh sure, if we go by “the past” it will, but who’s to say the Earth won’t get cracked by an asteroid, drift out of orbit and float away into ever darker and cold regions of the solar system? Scientists? PSHAW. They can’t even explain how gravity works.

Clearly, dark times (literally!) await us. That’s why it’s so important to savour these long days of sunshine. And because we at Planet S are super-helpful (if not always super-useful), we (well, Greg) have (has!) assembled this calendar of Saskatchewan summer events so that you, O doomed one, can enjoy before the light and warmth is snuffed from this planet, possibly forever. He’s covered everything from Ness Creek to Claybank Heritage Day, and included helpful Internet links so you can learn more if you need to.

Summer won’t last forever, so let’s make the most of it. See you in the sunshine!


Saskatoon

Canada 150 is grabbing a lot of headlines these days, and it’s certainly added extra flavour to our annual calendar of summer activities. Space precludes us from listing the bazillion or so events that have sesquicentennial tie-ins, but they’re out there, trust us. You can find more information on all the events here, plus many more (including Canada 150 shindigs), by visiting Tourism Saskatchewan/Regina/Saskatoon websites. /Gregory Beatty

SaskTel Saskatchewan Jazz Festival

June 23–July 2

This festival includes a mix of ticketed and free shows at various indoor and outdoor venues. Jazz is the main musical genre, but rock, hip hop and blues are well represented. Feature performers include Feist, Ziggy Marley, Amanda Marshall, Serena Ryder, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Walk Off the Earth, Brett Kissel, Arrested Development, Talib Kweli, along with numerous Saskatchewan acts. I hope you don’t think you’re going to miss this! Because that would be bad! saskjazz.com

Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan

July 5–Aug. 20

The comedy Twelfth Night and drama Richard III are being performed in 2017. The former is directed by Will Brooks and has a bluegrass score to accompany all the romantic shenanigans, while the latter is directed by Skye Brandon and promises a chilling take on one of the Bard’s most cunning villains. As in other years, the festival includes an Elizabethan Village and Sir Toby’s Tavern. shakespeareonthesaskatchewan.com

La Fête Fransaskoise

July 7–8

Pike Lake

Most of the activities at this bilingual festival are outdoors. They include art workshops, kite flying, treasure hunting, storytelling, along with daytime and evening concerts featuring Émilie Lebel, Post Script, Jeremie and the Delicious Hounds, Marieme, Anique Granger, Mélissa Ouimet and King Melrose. fetefransaskoise.ca

ReggaeFest Party

July 8

This outdoor festival is in W. A. Graham Park. It runs from noon until 10 p.m., and includes workshops on African and First Nations dance, drumming, break dancing and more. Performers include Jah Cutta, Jim Balfour and the Outer Rings, Prosad, Terrance Littletent, Alpha Kids Crew, Rhythm Agogo, Oral Fuentes and Code Red 12. saskatoonreggaefestival.com

Pion-Era

July 8–9

Hosted by the Western Development Museum, this annual celebration of Saskatchewan’s pioneer past includes family-friendly activities such as a pancake breakfast, vintage fashion show, ice cream making/butter churning, a calliope, costumed interpreters reenacting Boomtown, The Story of Threshing and A Parade of Power. wdm.ca/stoon.html

A Taste of Saskatchewan

July 11–16

For over 20 years, Taste of Saskatchewan has been satisfying peoples’ appetites for food and music at Kiwanis Memorial Park. Featured is gourmet grub from over 30 Saskatoon restaurants and local producers, along with chef competitions and dozens of Saskatchewan bands spanning the spectrum from country and pop to folk, rock and reggae. So there will be plenty to sink your teeth, and ears, into. tasteofsaskatchewan.ca

Saskatoon River Rendezvous 150

July 13–15

This festival celebrates the historic importance of the South Saskatchewan River to Indigenous and settler communities. It includes voyageur canoe races, recreational paddle sports, live entertainment in Victoria Park, walking tours of the river bank, visual art and more. saskriverbasin.ca.

Saskatoon Dragon Boat Festival

July 21–22

Over 1100 rowers take to the South Saskatchewan River in teams of 22 to raise funds for charity by paddling their posteriors off, while the laziest/most-out-of-shape member of the crew beats out time on a drum. The event also includes cultural and social activities, with proceeds to Children’s Wish Foundation of Saskatchewan and Ronald McDonald House Charities Saskatchewan. facilitymarketing.com

Brits By the Bess

July 23

Bentley, Jaguar, MG, Rolls-Royce, Mini and Land Rover are some of the vehicle brands that will be represented at this annual showcase hosted by Saskatchewan British Car Club. It goes from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Delta Bessborough. As Austin Powers would say, “Groovy, baby!” sbcc.ca

PotashCorp Fringe Festival

Aug. 3–12

This isn’t the granddaddy of Canadian fringe festivals — that honour goes to Edmonton which started in 1982. But this is the Saskatoon festival’s 28th year, so it’s certainly a pillar of Canada’s fringe community. The festival is produced by 25th Street Theatre and features over 30 acts drawn from Saskatchewan, Canada and around the world, along with buskers and arts and craft vendors on Broadway Ave. potashcorpfringe.ca

RibFest

Aug. 4–7

Anyone can marinate a hunk of meat, throw it on the grill, slather on some sauce, and serve up a semi-respectable meal. But with this festival in Diefenbaker Park you’ll have an opportunity to sample some truly delectable fare produced by local and touring BBQ masters. Throw in children’s activities such as a petting zoo and bouncy castle, along with some smokin’ live music, and it all adds up to a sweet time. saskatoonribfest.com

Saskatoon Exhibition

Aug. 8–13

Midway? Check. Carney games? Yup. Tasty, albeit nutritionally sketchy, treats? You bet! There’s a kick-off parade Aug. 8 at 10 a.m., and added attractions include Kidsville, Superdogs, Saskatchewan Art Showcase on the theme Canada 150, Flying Fools High Dive Show, Circus Hotel, daily Mardi Gras Parade and nightly fireworks. Grandstand acts include Johnny Reid (Aug. 8), Alessia Cara (Aug. 9), The Strumbellas (Aug. 10), Blue Rodeo (Aug. 11) and Big Sugar (Aug. 12). saskatoonexhibition.ca

Boom

Aug. 8–20

Written and performed by Rick Miller (MacHomer), this solo show at Persephone Theatre explores the diverse cultural and political influences in play during the formative years of the Baby Boom generation from 1945-1969. persephonetheatre.org

John Arcand Fiddle Fest

Aug. 10–13

This popular fiddle festival is celebrating its 20th anniversary. Located 10 km southwest of Saskatoon at Windy Acres, it includes workshops, concerts, contests and Métis dance and cultural activities along with children’s programming. There’s free unserviced camping on site, and both weekend and day passes are available with kids 12 and under admitted gratis. johnarcandfiddlefest.com

FolkFest 2017

Aug. 17–19

With an influx of newcomers from all over the world in the last decade, Saskatoon’s multi-cultural reality isn’t just limited to weekend festivals — it’s on display year-round. Still, FolkFest offers Saskatonians a great opportunity pull a Jules Verne and make a quick trip around the world, sampling food, music, dance and bevies from different countries and cultures. And don’t forget the sneak-peek FolkFest gala at Prairieland Park on July 27. saskatoonfolkfest.com

Rock the River

Aug. 18–20

Classic rock takes centre stage at this three-day festival which features Can-rock legends such as Randy Bachman, Tom Cochrane & Red Rider, Kenny Shields & Streetheart, Honeymoon Suite, Glass Tiger, Helix and Barney Bentall & the Legendary Hearts. rocktheriversaskatoon.ca

Show & Shine Weekend

Aug. 18–20

Billed as Canada’s largest classic car show, this festival features a variety of vehicle-related events from races and poker rallies to classic rock (courtesy Rock the River). The festival is capped off by the downtown show and shine on Sunday with over 900 classic vehicles on display. ssw.rock102rocks.com

Beck

TCU Place • Aug. 20

This paper can’t list every concert happening this summer but there’s no way we’re leaving out this show by superstar rock/pop poet Beck, writer of such oddball sonnets as “Loser,” “Devil’s Haircut”, and “Girl”, not to mention the awesomeness that is his 2015 Grammy-winning album Morning Phase (even Kanye eventually came around). This is not one to miss, so don’t — because if you do we’ll find out and we’ll be VERY DISAPPOINTED.

Cotton Patch Gospel

Aug. 23–Sept. 3

This stage musical is set to a bluegrass score and tells the story of Clarence Jordan who pioneered a desegregated community in Georgia in 1946. Performances run Aug. 23–27 and Aug. 30–Sept. 3 at the Barn Playhouse (25 km. north of Saskatoon), and there’s pre-show activities including live music and horse-drawn wagon rides. barnplayhouse.com

Canadian Ultimate Championship

Aug. 24–28

This mixed division tournament features teams from across Canada. The Frisbee-flinging action will take place at Forest Park and SaskTel Sports Centre. Teams will be out to qualify for the 2018 World Ultimate Club Championship in Cincinnati, so expect some serious competition. canadianultimate.com

Ukrainian Day In The Park

Aug. 26

Hosted by Ukrainian Canadian Congress, this popular outdoor festival is being held in Kiwanis Park. It includes stage performances by Ukrainian cultural groups, children’s activities, a beer garden, a special Canada 150 celebration and (quelle surprise!) food. ucc-saskatoon.org

Canadian Men’s & Masters Fast Pitch Championship

Aug. 30–Sept. 3

Hosted by Saskatoon Amateur Softball Association, this event will see teams from across Canada compete for fast pitch softball supremacy at Bob Van Impe Stadium, Joe Gallagher Field and Glen Reeve Fields. That’s right, no namby-pamby slo-pitch here. Large, hard balls will be coming at the batters fast and furious so they better be ready to swing. softball.ca

PotashCorp Fireworks Festival

Sept. 1–2

“Creating magical moments” is the tagline for this festival which features two evenings of fireworks choreographed to music. The displays are at River Landing and Friendship Park, and include live entertainment by different cultural groups along with other activities for children and adults. potashcorpfireworksfestival.com

Compiled and written by Gregory Beatty


Regina

Sometimes over the course of a long, hot summer it may become necessary to leave the safety and familiarity of our beloved Regina and hit the road. Maybe you want to see some new sights or take in a local event, or hell, maybe you’re just on the run because cops don’t have a sense of humour about car trunks stuffed with garbage bags of weed. Whatever your reason for going, Saskatoon is an excellent place to visit for a day or a weekend or a week, and since you’re there anyway you might want to check out some of these awesome festivals and events. Want more details? Pick up our sister paper, Planet S, every two weeks for page upon page of event listings. /Stephen Whitworth

Regina International Fringe Festival

July 2–8

RIFF takes a major step forward in 2017, pretty much doubling in size with 32 shows at seven venues. As always, there’s a mix of Saskatchewan, Canadian and international acts, with artists from as far away as California, London, Australia and South Africa. So get planning everyone, and see how much theatre you can cram into a single week. reginafringe.com

Regina AfroFest

July 8

This fourth annual celebration of diverse African cultures goes rain or shine in Victoria Park from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. It’s family friendly, with music, dance, food, craft and fashion on display. Performers include Davy Sage, Adam Daou, Chanz Perry & Terrance Littletent, Cobra Du Mandingue and headliner Nkulee Dube. reginaafrofest.com

Heritage Regina Walking Tours

July 8–Aug. 26

These happen periodically throughout the summer. Sometimes, it’s a particular neighbourhood that’s the focus — its architecture, general history and whatnot. Other times, it’s a specific event — such as the 1912 Regina Tornado. All in all, sounds like a great summer activity. heritageregina.ca

Footloose

July 13–16

Bacon will not be served but entertainment will. Yes, this is a stage adaptation of the Herbert Ross oldie about a high school senior who moves from the big city to a small town where the local government has banned rock music and dancing. It’s being presented by Regina Summer Stage at the Performing Arts Centre. There are evening performances July 13–15 at 7:30 p.m., and a matinee July 16 at 2 p.m. reginasummerstage.com

Country Thunder Saskatchewan

July 13–17

Even if country music isn’t your cup o’ hooch (so to speak) there’s no shortage of other fun activities to keep you busy including plein air painting, yarn bombing, nude yoga, nature hikes and… relax, I’m kidding! Headline acts are Blake Shelton and Old Dominion (Friday), Toby Keith and Dallas Smith (Saturday), and Keith Urban and Terri Clark (Sunday). countrythunder.com

Secret Gardens Tour

July 14–16

This New Dance Horizons fundraiser involves self-guided daytime and evening tours of private gardens. Small-scale dance performances are part of the fun too, and the theme in 2017 is “pollination” in all its floral and artistic glory. The gardens are open July 14 7:30–10:30 p.m., July 15 10 a.m.–4 p.m. & 7:30–10:30 p.m. and July 16 10 a.m.–4 p.m. newdancehorizons.ca

The Trial of Louis Riel

July 20–22, July 27–29, Aug. 3–5

For a long time, history portrayed Métis leader Louis Riel as a traitor for his role in the 1885 Northwest Rebellion/Resistance. But today, many people see him as a colonial era champion of Indigenous rights. This play by John Coulter, which celebrates its 50th season in 2017, is based on court transcripts from Riel’s treason trial. The Royal Saskatchewan Museum is the venue. rielcoproductions.com

YQR Beerfest

July 21–22

Over the last few years this province’s craft brewing scene has taken off and there’s some really, really tasty stuff out there. So I guess it’s the perfect time for this first annual celebration of suds and tunes featuring over 100 different craft beers produced by the Sask. Craft Brewer’s Association, along with live music from local bands and a solid contingent of food trucks. The venue is near Conexus Arts Centre. Bring your thirst. conexusartscentre.ca

Carisask

July 21–22

Details of this annual festival were still being finalized at press time but it typically involves a celebration of food, music, dance and fashion from the Caribbean region. The festival is in Wascana Centre near the Legislature, so hopefully the weather will cooperate to create a sweet Caribbean vibe. saskcarib.ca

ReginaCadabra

July 26–30

Last January, the Regina Hotel Association organized a $20,000 competition for groups interested in hosting a new festival. After some furious social media action, ReginaCadabra was declared the winner. The festival will feature a variety of local and touring magicians and mentalists who will be out to astound audiences with feats of illusion and prestidigitation. reginacadabra.ca

Queen City Ex

Aug. 2–6

The fair runs Aug. 2–6 but the fun starts on Aug. 1 with a strawberry social on F.W. Hill Mall and evening parade followed by fireworks at Wascana Centre. Along with the midway, attractions include the SaskTel Thrill Zone with Xtreme sports and mad lumberjack skillz. Grandstand shows feature headliners Gord Bamford (Aug. 2), July Talk (Aug. 3), I Mother Earth and The Watchmen (Aug. 4), Ruth B (Aug. 5) and Brett Kissel (Aug. 6). evrazplace.com

Connect Festival

Besant Campground (#1 Hwy near Moose Jaw) – Aug. 4–7

Long a fixture on the electronic music scene, Connect’s subtitle this year is Terminus. That’s because after 22 years of celebrating music, dance and community, Connect is calling it a career after this festival. Expect organizers to pull out all the stops to give the festival an extra special send-off. Guest artists include Kytami, Bebetta, AFFKT and The Freestylers. connectfestival.ca

Regina Folk Festival

Aug. 10–13

Takes place in cozy Victoria Park and adjacent City Square Plaza. In addition to the ticketed main stage shows, there are free daytime concerts and workshops on Saturday and Sunday. Feature acts include Tegan and Sara, Lights, Buffy Sainte Marie, Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives, Coeur de pirate, Natalie MacMaster, José González, Vox Sambou and Kacy and Clayton. reginafolkfestival.com

Regina International Film Festival

Aug. 16–19

The focus of this festival is Canadian and International short and feature-length films which depict different world cultures and help promote understanding and connection between people from different backgrounds. Includes screenings and an awards gala. riffa.ca

Regina Horticultural Society Garden Festival

Aug. 18–19

Not everyone has the skill-set or patch of land that you need to grow plants for beauty and nutrition. Regina Horticultural Society members, though, know their way around a garden. So you can expect some pretty impressive displays at this annual showcase of floral bouquets and produce held at Victoria Square Shopping Centre. reginahortsociety.ca

Great Saskatchewan Mustard Festival

Aug. 20

Saskatchewan is the mustard capital of the world, as we produce three-quarters of the Earth’s mustard grown for export. This one-day event, with live entertainment and children’s activities, sees local culinary creators dream up different ways of using mustard as an ingredient in food and other consumables. mustardfest.org

Symphony Under the Sky

Aug. 26

Regina Symphony Orchestra holds its season kickoff at Motherwell Homestead an hour northeast of Regina near Abernethy. Starting at 10 a.m., there will be family activities at the historic farm site, with an opening set by Saskatchewan country/jazz chanteuse Belle Plaine at 2 p.m., followed by the RSO under conductor Gordon Gerrard. Concert goes rain or shine. reginasymphony.com

Regina Dragon Boat Festival

Sept. 1–2

A long-standing Labour Day tradition, this festival, like other community events, relies on volunteers. If you’d like to help out, you can find registration information on the website. Come race weekend, over 50 teams of rowers representing local businesses and organizations will compete for glory on mighty Wascana Lake. There’s also live music, food and other cultural entertainment. reginadragonboat.com


Hinterland

Visitors from other provinces might not know  this but there’s more to Saskatchewan than Regina and Saskatoon. It’s true! There’s lots of great smaller cities, towns and villages dotted throughout what we playfully call the hinterland — and all of them have fun summer events, not to mention some amazing, little-known restaurants and proximity to fantastic scenic vistas. Obviously you must check some of this stuff out over the next two months. We understand it might be tough, because not everybody has cars (they’re so expensive!!!) and the government shut down the provincial bus system. That said, we’re sure individual Sask. Party MLAs would love to personally drive you where you want to go. Just make sure they haven’t been drinking before you hit the road. /Stephen Whitworth

Long Day’s Night Music Festival

Swift Current • June 22–25

This festival shares billing with the Windscape Kite Festival (windscapekitefestival.ca) which goes June 24–25 and sees over 40 professional kite flyers from around the world test their mettle against Saskatchewan’s notorious winds. Musical headliners include Megan Nash & Bears From Hazenmore and Scenic Route to Alaska (June 22), Andino Suns and Skavenjah (June 23), Bombargo and Joel Plaskett Emergency (June 25) and Leeroy Stagger (June 26). longdaysnight.ca

Southern Prairie Railway

Ogema • June 22–July 15

Billed as Saskatchewan’s first tourist railway, the SPR offers excursions from a refurbished 1912 CPR station aboard a 1945 diesel locomotive with a 1922 Pullman passenger car, a 1925 baggage car and a caboose. Check website for dates and times. southernprairierailway.com

Souris Valley Theatre

Estevan • June 22–Aug. 10

Running June 22–30 is the musical comedy Fitz Happens about a debauched British aristocrat who gets exiled to Dry Gulch, SK to earn his spurs as a man. Then July 19–22 and 25–29, it’s the comedy Dogbarked where two farmers try to revive their small town. Finally, on Aug. 10 there is a salute to Canadian music from Joni Mitchell and Anne Murray to Leonard Cohen and Buffy Sainte-Marie called Oh Canada. sourisvalleytheatre.ca

Country at the Creek

Big River • June 23–24

This festival kicks off with an evening of beer garden shenanigans on June 22, then on Friday and Saturday there are performances by The Washboard Union, Chris Buck Band, Dan Davidson, Tommy John Ehman, Trick Ryder, Heidi Munro with the RealGroovyBand, Joanne Janzen, Sydney Mae, Jackie Guy, The Willie Sons and Rivertown. countryatthecreek.ca

Summer Solstice D’Ete Festival

Gravelbourg • June 23–24

Yes, it’s true, we reached peak daylight on June 20, which was a year-high 16 hours, 26 minutes and 53 seconds long in Regina. But we’ve still got several months before we have to start worrying about all the ice, snow, cold and dark headed our way. Start your summer fun with this multicultural festival which features music by The Harpoonist & The Axe Murderer, The Residuals, Luke Dowler, Scott Richmond and more. summersolsticefestivaldete.com

Great Saskatchewan Bacon Festival

Kipling • June 24

We finally climbed on the bacon bandwagon this year, adding the category Best Bacon Creation to our annual Best of Food & Drink contest. The organizers of this festival were way ahead of us, though, as it celebrates its fifth anniversary in 2017. So happy baconing, everyone.

Claybank Heritage Day

Claybank • June 25

Built in 1914, the Claybank Brick Plant is a national historic site. When you visit, you’ll learn all about making bricks from clay. Hell, they might even give you a shovel and wheelbarrow and put you to work in the pit for a couple of hours — okay, that’s not likely to happen, unless you’re being really bratty! You will get a tour of the pit and factory, though, plus an opportunity to bake bread in an outdoor brick oven. claybankbrick.ca

Artists In Bloom

Parkside • June 25

This one-day festival at a heritage nursery in the Shellbrook area sees artists and crafters create installations that incorporate references to lilies. Then on July 16 there’s another floral festival called “Lilies In Bloom at Honeywood” which is also in the Parkside area. honeywood-lilies.ca

Frontier Days

Swift Current • June 28–July 1

“Canada 150 Celebrate the Cowboy Way” is this year’s tagline. The fair features a midway, professional rodeo, Canada Day parade, fireworks, kids’ pedal tractor pull, both heavy and light horses and more. Grandstand entertainment includes The Washboard Union (June 28), and Aaron Goodvin and Sawyer Brown (July 1). And don’t forget the Watermelon Festival that goes at the Mennonite Heritage Village in Swift Current on July 23. swiftcurrentex.com

Stickman Drum Experience

Lumsden • June 28–July 2

Got a hankering to pound the skins? Then this is the event for you. It’s a multi-day drumfest at Living Skies Retreat & Convention Centre in Qu’Appelle Valley. Guest instructors include Pat Steward, Matt Johnson, Brian Frasier Moore, Jim Riley and a Skype session with Steven Wolf. stickmandrumexperience.com

Hogfest

Englefeld • June 30–July 2

There are ball games and fireworks on Friday, followed on Canada Day by a parade, children’s carnival, bingo, more ball games, a ham supper and a dance. Then on July 3 there’s a polka mass and pancake breakfast. englefeld.ca

100 Mile Mall

Highway #1 • July 1

For Canada Day, the communities of Broadview, Grenfell, Sintaluta, Whitewood and Wolseley join forces to present an arts, craft and antique show and sale, along with a flea market. townofwhitewood.ca

Motherwell Homestead

Abernethy • July 1

Built in 1882, this homestead an hour northeast of Regina includes a stone house and classic red wood barn. Now a national historic site, the restored homestead offers visitors a chance to learn about farm life in pioneer times. To celebrate Canada Day, there’s an outdoor concert and beer garden. pc.gc.ca/lhn-nhs/sk/motherwell

FortFest

Fort Battleford Nat. Historic Site • July 1

Step back in time with this family-friendly commemoration of Canada Day which recalls Saskatchewan’s early settlement history and arrival of the Canadian Militia and North West Mounted Police. On July 10, there’s a second salute to the past called “Canada 150: Voyageurs’ Rendez-Vous”. Finally, the fort is hosting after dark “ghost tours” on July 14 and 28 and Aug. 11 and 25. pc.gc.ca/en/lhn-nhs/sk/battleford

Doukhobor Dugout House

Blaine Lake • July 1–29

At this national historic site, costumed interpreters recount the settlement history of Russian Doukhobors and offer guided tours every Saturday in July at 11 a.m., 1 and 3 p.m. On July 1, there’s a War & Peace theme day with free tours. Otherwise, tours are $10, with kids 12 and under free. Also, there’s a Heritage Day on July 16 that includes brunch, choirs and a Canada 150 celebration. doukhobordugouthouse.com

Art Guild Show & Sale

Regina Beach • July 1–31

Exhibition and sale of paintings by the South Shore Art Guild. The gallery space in the Last Mountain Lake Cultural Centre is open Thursdays to Sundays for the month of July. lastmountainlakeculturalcentre.ca

Fireside Chats, Stories & S’More

Grasslands National Park • July 1–Aug. 25

Friday evenings the Frenchman Valley and Rock Creek campgrounds host family activities such as geo-caching, kayaking and black-footed ferret-spotting. As well, there’s Fossil Fever from Aug. 16–20, where you can accompany paleontologists on a dig, and even attend the Rock Creek Hoedown on Aug. 19. parkscanada.gc.ca/grasslands

Summer Chautauqua Festival

Swift Current • July 6–9

Annual festival devoted to recreating the atmosphere of travelling shows from the 1920s that entertained Prairie communities with music, one-act plays, stories and lectures in the vaudeville tradition. Plays this year are The Pink Unicorn (July 6 at 2 and 7 p.m.), Pigs In A Canoe And Other Watery Stories (July 7–8 at 2 p.m.), Southern Dandy 75 (July 7 at 7 p.m., July 8 at 9 p.m.) and No Way Out (July 7 at 9 p.m., July 8 at 7 p.m.) lyrictheatre.ca

Motif Multicultural Festival

Moose Jaw • July 7–9

Similar to Mosaic in Regina and FolkFest in Saskatoon, this festival is dedicated to celebrating cultural diversity in the Band City. Motif is hosted by the Moose Jaw Multicultural Council and is held in Happy Valley Park. Music, food, dance and drink are all on the travel itinerary for people who attend. motiffestival.com

All Folk’d Up

Montmarte • July 7–9

Held in Kemoca Regional Park, this three-day family-friendly festival features Francophone and English acts. Performers this year include The Dead South, Brad Johner & the Johner Boys, Annette Campagne, Twin Peaks, Nuela Charles and West of Mabou. allfolkedup.net

Gospel Jamboree

Love • July 7–9

The line-up for the 29th annual gospel music festival was still being nailed down as we went to press. But I’m sure it will be righteous. As always, there are food booths on site, and free unserviced camping. 306-276-2579

Station Arts Centre

Rosthern • July 7–Aug. 6

This summer’s production is the Depression-era gospel musical Tent Meeting, which is set in a small prairie town and sees a married couple struggling to revive their relationship meet an estranged friend who is a reverend. There are performances Tuesday through Saturday at 8 p.m., and matinees Wednesday, Friday and Sunday at 2 p.m. Pre-show lunch and dinner are available on select dates, but you need to advance book. stationarts.com

Saskatoonberry Festival

Mortlach • July 8

The tagline for this festival used to be “over 3,000 people with purple teeth can’t be wrong”. Now, it’s been bumped to “5,000 people”. That would seem to indicate the festival, which is devoted to all things saskatoon berry, is growing in popularity. Considering how yummy saskatoons are, and how innovative people have become in developing different treats using the berry, that’s not surprising. mortlach.ca

Spirit of Manitou Studio Trail

Manitou Beach • July 8–9

Artisans from Manitou Beach, Meachem, Watrous and the Viscount area open their studios to display handmade furniture, jewelry, ceramics, fabric art and more. spiritofmanitou.ca

Moosomin & District Rodeo

Moosomin • July 8–10

I’ve suggested before that if the organizers want to distinguish this event on Saskatchewan’s crowded rodeo calendar they should riff on their town’s sort-of namesake and sub-in moose for all the livestock typically featured in rodeos. Instead of steer wrestling, for instance, there’d be moose wrestling. And saddle bronc riding would become saddle moose riding. But it looks like organizers have opted to stick with the traditional rodeo format. Oh well, there’s always 2018. moosomin.com

Old Home Week

Preeceville • July 9–15

Preeceville, for those who don’t know, is located at the headwaters of the Assiniboine River. I know that because it’s the town’s motto. Highlights of this week-long homecoming include a show and sale by the Preeceville Art Group, a bread-baking demo at Preeceville & District Heritage Museum, a ball tournament, rodeo, and open air dance with Rob McLane & Against the Grain on July 15. townofpreeceville.ca

Colonial Days Fair

Lloydminster • July 12–15

This annual celebration of the old West includes a midway, chuckwagon races, a demolition derby, monster trucks, livestock events, petting zoo, grandstand concerts and more. lloydexh.com

Ness Creek Music Festival

Big River • July 13–16

Saskatchewan’s original eco-friendly festival offers a great chance to commune with nature in the boreal forest with thousands of music fans. It’s always a good time, and this year’s acts include Elliott Brood, Alex Cuba, Cécile Doo-Kingué, Royal Canoe, The Garrys, Despistado, Bombargo and Soft Cotton. Both weekend and day passes are available. nesscreek.com

Saskatchewan Festival of Words

Moose Jaw • July 13–16

Dedicated to the written and spoken word, this festival includes a mix of poetry, fiction and non-fiction presenters, along with film screenings, musical performances and workshops geared to children and adults. Presenters include Alice Kuipers, Harold Johnson, Yann Martel, Rosanna Deerchild, Marty Chan, Anosh Irani, Marina Endicott, Alissa York, Bill Waiser and the band Link Union. festivalofwords.com

PolkaFest

Assiniboia • July 14–15

This polka blowout features an air-conditioned hall and floating hardwood floor, with music by Leon Ochs and Len Gadica. Aberdeen hosts a polkafest the next weekend (July 21–22) with music by Leon Ochs, Ralph’s Rhythm Kings and The Gold Tones. As well, on Aug. 12 St. Walburg has a polkafest, and Prince Albert has a three-day polkafest Aug. 25–27. 306-642-5676

Homesteader Hey Days

Shell Lake • July 14–16

A dance, gymkhana, parade, pancake breakfast and fresh-baked bread from outdoor clay ovens are just some of the highlights. Remember, too, on Aug. 12–13 there’s the Thickwood Hills Studio Trail showcasing work by artisans at 13 studios in the Shell Lake area. 306-427-2272

Children’s Festival

Waskesiu • July 15

Organizers promise an action-packed day of child-friendly activities such as face-painting, balloon artists and crafts at Prince Albert National Park. So good luck to all the parents and caregivers who attend with their charges. waskesiulake.ca

Vintage Power Machines Threshing Festival

Prince Albert • July 15–16

This event includes a pancake breakfast, threshing, log-sawing, blacksmith and farrier demonstrations, along with vintage tractor pulls and heavy horses. 306-980-8340

Canora in Bloom

Canora • July 17–23

Get your blossom on and watch the pollinators in action at this annual celebration of floral beauty. Includes a street dance, movie nights, children’s carnival and evening garden tours. canora.com

RuBarb Productions

Moose Jaw • July 20–Aug. 20

This Moose Jaw theatre company is presenting two productions at Mae Wilson Theatre this summer. The first is the Oscar Wilde farce The Importance of Being Earnest. The second is the Lerner & Lowe Broadway musical My Fair Lady which is based on George Bernard Shaw’s stage play Pygmalion. rubarb.ca

Boomtown Days & Stampede

Shaunavon • July 21–23

“Boom” is kind of a dirty word these days, but it certainly is characteristic of our resource-reliant provincial economy. This year, organizers will be pulling out all the stops to forget about our current economic downturn and focus on Canada 150. shaunavon.com

Sandy Creek Gospel Jamboree

Mortlach • July 21–23

Get your gospel groove on at this jamboree at Besant Campground. Feature acts include The Amundruds, Double Portion, The Pilkey Sisters, Soul Purpose, Proclamation and Trudel Family with host Ken Overcoast. scgj.ca

Gateway Festival

Bengough • July 21–23

Located near the Big Muddy Badlands — which, with all their gullies and ridges and outlaw lore, certainly live up to their name — Gateway marks its 13th anniversary in 2017. Line-up highlights include Tom Cochrane & Red Rider, Jess Moskaluke, 54–40, The Sadies, Shadowy Men On a Shadowy Planet, The Wooden Sky, Basia Bulat and Lindi Oretga. gatewayfestival.com

Dino Days

Eastend • July 21–23

This annual celebration has a Wild West theme. That’s okay, I guess, but what really sets it apart from similar festivals is that it gives you a perfect chance to check out the T-Rex Discovery Centre, home to Scotty the T. rex, which in 2016 was designated Saskatchewan’s official fossil. So yeah, she’s kind of a big deal. townofeastend.com

Heritage Festival

Maple Creek • July 21–23

The entertainment for this festival was still being finalized at press time, but organizers promise a weekend filled with art, history, music, shopping and food in Maple Creek’s historic downtown. maplecreek.ca

Three Island Paddle & Music Festival

Prince Albert National Park •  July 22

Organizers promise a memorable day of music and fun on the water. So polish up those paddles everyone and get ready to rock ’n’ row. waskesiumarina.com

12-40 & Beyond: An Adventure in Rural Life

Blaine Lake • July 22–23

Self-guided tour of the Blaine Lake, Marcelin, Leask and Hafford area. There are 14 venues on the tour including orchards, artist studios, antique museums, grain elevators and a blacksmith shop. 12-40andbeyond.com

Beach Bash

Estevan • July 28–29

Held at Woodlawn Provincial Park, this event includes all sorts of beach activities and water sports, along with live bands and a sand castle competition. estevanchamber.ca

Farmfest

Willow Bunch • July 28–30

This festival celebrates its 10th year in 2017. Included are workshops, children’s activities, hayrides and performances by Red Moon Road, The Arrogant Worms, Étienne Fletcher, La Troupe du Jour, Annette Campagne, Hart Rouge, Anique Grainger and Folle Avoine. farmfesterreferme.ca

Hilltop Sheepdog Trial

Mankota • July 28–30

A must-attend event for anyone who’s a fan of the old Chuck Jones cartoons featuring Ralph E. Wolf and Sam Sheepdog — although I don’t think wolves and sheepdogs are actually part of the competition. Instead, handlers work mostly with Border Collies to guide sheep through a course. hilltoptrial.com

International Street Performer Festival

North Battleford • July 28–30

This festival livens up the streets of North Battleford as a bizarre assortment of clowns, acrobats, musicians, face painters, balloon sculptors and magicians gather to entertain children and adults alike — and earn applause and cash in the process, in the true busker tradition. nbstreetfest.com

Grasslander Classic

Val Marie • July 28–30

This event is co-hosted with Grasslands National Park, and includes a salute to hometown hockey hero Bryan Trottier, along with a ball hockey tournament, parade, outdoor market and live music. visitcypresshills.ca

Bow Valley Jamboree

Oxbow • July 29

Held in the picturesque Souris River valley, this event starts at 12:30 p.m. and features some top-notch musical talent including Belle Plaine, Downwind, Theresa Sokyrka, Wool Tree Grove, Del Suelo, The Bystanders, The New Montagues and Ten Mile High. bowvalleyjamboree.org

Brickspo

Moose Jaw • July 29–30

Hosted by the Western Development Museum and SLUG (Saskatchewan LEGO Users Group), this sixth annual event showcases LEGO creations both large and small by hundreds of skilled builders. This year, there’s a special Canada 150 theme. wdm.ca/mj.html

Summer Fair

Prince Albert • Aug. 1–5

Starts with a parade, ends with fireworks, with a bunch of midway rides, livestock shows, chuckwagon races, trade shows and live music sandwiched in between. paexhibition.com

World Bunnock Championship

Macklin • Aug. 4–6

This issue hits the streets around the time Rick Mercer is in Regina for the Farm Progress Show. If he hasn’t already done a segment on this event before for The Rick Mercer Report, I urge him to check it out. Maybe with his help, bunnock will finally win the following it deserves and join football, hockey, soccer, baseball and basketball as a true major league sport. 306-753-2256

Summer Slam

Raymore • Aug. 4–6

Summer probably isn’t the only thing that will be slammed at this festival. To begin with, there are all the extra base-hits and homers that are going to be “slammed” at slo-pitch games. Then there’s all the booze that will be slammed before, after and possibly even during the games. Headliners on the music side include Jess Moskaluke, Charlie Major, Aaron Pritchett, Brody Siebert and Longshot. raymoresummerslam.ca

Frenchman River Gospel Jam

Shaunavon • Aug. 4–6

Offers a blend of gospel and country music, with ticketed evening shows and free daytime stages. Feature acts include Paul Brandt, Hunter Brothers, Link Union and The Browns. Evening and weekend passes available. frgj.ca

Mid Summer’s Art Festival

Fort Qu’Appelle •  Aug. 5

This outdoor festival is held annually at “the Fort”. Visual and performing arts, along with children’s activities, buskers and a micro-brewery beer garden are all part of the fun. 306-332-4834

Wild West FamilyFest & Trades Day

Fort Walsh National Historic Site • Aug. 5

During settlement of Western Canada, Fort Walsh played an integral role in keeping crazy-ass Americans from taking liberties with the 49th parallel. Return to that time with this celebration, which features Victorian-era military drills by the RCMP and NWMP Commemorative Association, along with blacksmith, farrier, wheelwright and gunsmith demonstrations, a Métis cabin and First Nations teepee. pc.gc.ca/lhn-nhs/sk/walsh

Threshermen’s Show & Seniors’ Festival

Yorkton • Aug. 5–6

Hosted by the Western Development Museum and other partners, this festival includes threshing, stooking and sawmill demos, along with an antique car show and gas tractor competition. wdm.ca/yk/threshermensshow.htm

Living Skies Come Alive

Moosomin • Aug. 5–7

Throughout the seasons, nature provides some pretty spectacular vistas in Saskatchewan tied to sunrises, sunsets and storms. With this annual Saskatchewan Day festival, organizers will try to give nature a run for its money. 306-435-3531

Cannington Manor Fair Day

Moose Mountain Provincial Park •  Aug. 6

Saskatoon artist Grant McConnell* has a painting called “Errant Dogs, Cannington Manor” which critiques the story of this historic homestead in southeast Saskatchewan where English aristocrats (represented in the painting as a pack of hounds chasing and scattering a flock of birds) tried and failed to recreate old Blighty on the bald prairie with croquet, cricket and other Victorian-era pastimes. This event includes horse and buggy rides, skeet shooting, blacksmithing demonstrations and a picnic. saskparks.net/canningtonmanor?#

*McConnell and Regina artist Bruce Anderson have a two-person exhibition at the Moose Jaw Museum & Art Gallery until Aug. 25, by the way.

Saskatchewan Premier’s Walleye Cup

Nipawin • Aug. 10–12

The Grey Cup of angling in Saskatchewan, this live release tournament sees 150 plus teams compete for over $125,000 in cash and prizes. Money is also raised to support lake conservation and development of lake facilities. Oh yeah, and on Aug. 18–19 Nipawin hosts a women-only fishing derby. sites.google.com/site/premierswalleyecup

Heritage Village Days

Weyburn • Aug. 11–12

Two-day festival commemorating the history of Weyburn and area, includes guided tours of a Heritage Village along with blacksmithing, ice cream/butter-making and sheep herding demonstrations. Running at the same time is the Weyburn Wheat Festival, so it promises to be a busy weekend in the Opportunity City. weyburn.ca

Cochin Days

Cochin • Aug. 11–13

Hosted by the resort community of Cochin, which is nestled between Murray and Jackfish Lakes near the Battlefords, this festival includes slo-pitch, beach volleyball and horse shoe tournaments, a sand castle competition and a spaghetti-eating contest. cochin.ca

Dog Patch Music Festival

Loon Lake • Aug. 11–13

Get your loon on at this art and music fest in the beautiful boreal forest. Musical guests include Duane Steel, Bob Cook, Roland Corrigal, Parab Poet & the Hip Hop Hippies, Black Sea Hollow, A Rancher’s Son and Counterfeit Outlaws.

Arts Frenzy

Regina Beach • Aug. 11–13

Includes arts and crafts, live music, buskers and random outbursts of frenetic arts activity on the beach. rudysreginabeach.com

Those Were The Days

North Battleford • Aug. 12–13

Hosted by the Western Development Museum, this event celebrates pioneer life in the 1920s with vintage autos, light and heavy horse demonstrations, antique farm equipment and live entertainment. wdm.ca/nb.html

Cherry Sunday

Bruno • Aug. 13

Hopefully growing conditions will cooperate this summer, so if you attend you’ll be able to sample all sorts of cherry treats (dwarf sour cherry treats, to be precise) from sundaes and elephant ears to smokies and special sauces. You can even stop by the U-Pick orchard. Yum! cherrysunday.ca

North West Territorial Days

The Battlefords • Aug. 16–18

Hosted by Battlefords Agricultural Society, this fair has been held since 1887. It opens with a parade on Aug. 15, and features plenty of fun activities including a midway, grandstand entertainment, powwow, a petting zoo, livestock shows and demolition derby. agsociety.com

Northern Lights Bluegrass & Old Tyme Music Festival

Big River • Aug. 18–20

This festival is preceded by a music camp from Aug. 14–18. Then there’s three days of bluegrass and old tyme country with Dom Flemons, The Slocan Ramblers, The Foggy Hogtown Boys, Sierra Noble and Ryan McNally Band. northernlightsbluegrass.com

Summer Star Party

Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park • Aug. 23–27

On Aug. 21, as astronomy buffs know, a solar eclipse is forecast for North America. The path of totality runs from Oregon in the Pacific northwest to South Carolina in the Atlantic southeast. This annual orgy of celestial viewing occurs a few days after that, and a few hundred klicks north of the path of totality. But there will be lots of other interesting sights to see. usask.ca/rasc/starparty.html

Waskesiu Lakeside Festival

Prince Albert • Aug. 25–27

This three-day festival is held in the national park and offers a mix of music, family programming, aquatic activities and buskers. The main stage line-up was still being firmed up at press time, but it typically features some top Saskatchewan talent. And Sept. 8–10, Waskesiu hosts the 14th annual Reel Rave Festival with screenings of six films at Twin Pines Cinema. waskesiulake.ca

Wild Blueberry Festival

St. Walburg • Aug. 26

Tame blueberries are boring, right? For the true berry experience you need to channel your inner Lou Reed and take a walk on the wild side. And that’s what this festival offers, with a chance to savour all sorts of blueberry treats along with fun activities such as a street fair and a car and bike show. stwalburg.com

Old Tyme Barn Dance

Indian Head • Aug. 26

Features a dance in the loft of the historic Bell Barn with music by Ron and Sandra Rudoski, along with a cold buffet (and other refreshments). And don’t forget, there’s a horse fair at the barn on Aug. 13 from 1–5 p.m. bellbarn.ca

Rock ’n’ Roll Weekend

Manitou Beach • Sept. 1–2

Groove to rock ’n’ roll from the 1950s and ’60s on Danceland’s famed horse hair-supported floor. On Friday, Harry Startup headlines, and on Saturday it’s “England” with the Beach Boys. Don’t forget, too, that Danceland hosts regular booty-shakers during summer weekends with a mix of polka, country and rock bands. danceland.ca

Duck Derby

Lumsden • Sept. 4

The family-friendly celebration includes a parade, arts and craft sale and a big-ass net holding 25,000 rubber ducks. When the starter’s pistol sounds, the ducks drop into the Qu’Appelle River, where the current carries them downstream in a one kilometre race with prizes awarded to the top 20 finishers. So check it out if you get a chance. duckderby.ca

Compiled and written by Gregory Beatty