11 Festivals to Hit in Kingston this May

By Jordan Whitehouse

Festival season kicks off this May in Kingston just as it should: with plenty of live music, beer, summer reading material, fresh air and fireworks.

The Juvenis Festival
Photo via The Juvenis Festival
The Juvenis Festival

April 28 – May 6, 2018
Back for its third year, this youth-led arts festival is all about showcasing the artistic talents of the under-30 crowd from across the city. Think musicals, plays, a battle of the bands, art galleries, short films, a poetry show, a dance performance, arts workshops for young people and more.
Prices vary. Some events are free or by donation.

Jane Jacobs
Photo via public domain
Jane’s Walk Kingston

May 4 – May 6, 2018
These annual worldwide walks aim to get people thinking about the ideas of the late Jane Jacobs, a writer, urbanist and activist who championed the voices of everyday people in neighbourhood planning and city-building. In Kingston, that will mean cycle tours, guided podcast tours and traditional guided walks of RMC, Barriefield, the old Morton Brewery site, Portsmouth Harbour, part of the K&P trail, and historic parks and neighbourhoods throughout the city.

Homegrown Music Festival
Photo via SBImages
Homegrown Live Music Festival

May 5, 2018
The premise for this yearly all-day music fest is simple: 15 venues featuring local artists from a specific genre. The Public House is all about folk music, for example, while you can expect alternative at The Toucan and jazz at King Street Sizzle. Ten years in, this will be the biggest one yet. All proceeds go to The Joe Chithalen Memorial Musical Instrument Lending Library.
All-access bracelet: $10

Red House Cask Festival
Photo via Flickr — photographer Jennifer Yin
Red House Downtown Cask Fest

May 6, 2018, 2pm – 5:30pm
Red House Downtown
Cask-conditioned beer is unfiltered and unpasteurized beer that’s served from a cask without any added nitrogen or carbon dioxide. On this beery Sunday afternoon, you’ll get to try a few of these smooth brews as well as some bottle- and barrel-aged craft beers from Mackinnon Bros, Stone City, Nickel Brook, Bobcaygeon, Signal and more.
$25 (includes eight-ounce sample glass, five drink tickets and bar snacks)

Photo via Free Stock Photo
Success By 6 Week

May 7 – May 13, 2018
It’s no secret that a child’s early years are critical to their success in life, and this annual United Way event looks to highlight that with a fun-filled week of kid-friendly activities. All events are free and will include everything from movies to swims to celebrity story time to moms-and-tots yoga.

Science Rendezvous Kingston
Photo via Queen’s University Flickr
Science Rendezvous Kingston

May 12, 2018, 10 am – 3 pm
Rogers K-Rock Centre
One day every year Rogers K-Rock Centre gets transformed into a giant pop-up science centre where families can meet and talk to scientists, engage in experiments, and learn about the possibilities of science, technology, engineering and math. Over 50 groups will be there this year from Queen’s, RMC, St. Lawrence College and beyond. The first 2,000 families will receive a take-home booklet filled with experiments that can be done at home.

Photo via visitkingston
Victoria Day Celebration

May 20, 2018, 1 pm – 9:30 pm
Lake Ontario Park
Kick off the unofficial start of summer outside at Lake Ontario Park with a day packed full of inflatable activities, an obstacle course, food trucks, a splash pad, a K-9 demonstration, bubbles shows and more. The evening live music lineup starts at 6 pm and includes Eagles tribute band Hotel California. At 9:30 pm, get set for the fireworks finale.

Photo via visitkingston
Spring Art After Dark

May 25, 7 pm – 10 pm
Kingston’s gallery scene is perhaps the most underappreciated within the arts sphere here, but this bi-annual nighttime event looks to change that. Around 20 galleries will open their doors in the evening, some with special events and light refreshments. All of them will offer a chance to enter to win the $500 art shopping spree from Downtown Kingston.

Photo via Stock Photo
The Speakeasy: Limestone Beard and Moustache Competition

May 26, 4 pm – 12 am
Zorbas Banquet Facility
See how your funkiest facial hair stacks up against some of the best beards and ‘staches from across North America at this fundraising event for the Alzheimer’s Society of Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington. The fresh-faced and clean-cut are welcome too, as there will be craft beer, food, vendors, live music and more. An event patch is needed to enter the competition. Tickets must be bought in advance.
$10 – $105

Limestone Genre Expo
Photo via Limestone Genre Expo
Limestone Genre Expo

May 26 – 27, 2018, 10 am – 5 pm
Holiday Inn Waterfront
If you’re any fan of Canadian fantasy, horror, mystery, romance or science fiction, this is the place to stock up on summer reading material. The two-day literary fest also features panel discussions, workshops, readings, pitch sessions and lots of chances to interact with authors, editors and publishers. One of those authors will be internationally bestselling crime author Michael Slade.
$15 – $55

Kingston Lapidary and Mineral Club
Photo via Kingston Lapidary and Mineral Club
Gem and Mineral Show

May 26, 2018, 10 am – 6 pm; May 27, 2018, 10 am – 5 pm
Cataraqui Arena
The Kingston Lapidary and Mineral Club’s annual gem and mineral exhibition will showcase over 45 dealers from Ontario and Quebec displaying and selling jewellery, crystals, fossils, minerals and gemstones. There will be a food truck onsite and a children’s mine too, as well as a jewellery workshop, free hourly draws and two grand prizes of an all-inclusive silversmith course.
$5. Free for kids 12 and under