4 Weeks, 8 Fests: Your August Festivals Guide

By Jordan Whitehouse

If the Sheep Dog Trials at Grass Creek Park weren’t your first clue, we’re officially in the dog days of summer. No need to be lazy, though. With fests like the 1000 Islands Poker Run and the Limestone City Blues Festival on the August lineup, there are more than a few reasons to get out of the kiddie pool. Here are eight, followed by a few recurring events this month.


Kingston Sheep Dog Trials
August 5 – 7, Grass Creek Park


Photo: Robin Dawes, Flickr
Photo: Robin Dawes, Flickr

Walk, drive or run yourself and your furry friends 16 km east of downtown for a three-day sheep corralling competition along the St. Lawrence. Sheepdogs won’t be the only stars, however. Kingston Police K-9s will be there, as will the Rideau River DockDogs, not to mention plenty of vendors to handle all your pet needs. Plus, there’ll be a canine adventure course and doggie playzone. $10/day. kingstonsheepdogtrials.com


The Kick & Push Festival
Until August 13, City-wide


Photo: Stoo Metz
Photo: Stoo Metz

This unconventional theatre fest challenges audiences to go beyond being passive observers. “Ambrose,” for example, takes you through the annals of The Grand Theatre as you learn about the disappearance of former owner Ambrose Small. Likewise, “Chicago” is performed in a jazz bar, while “Overlooked” is put on in a back alley. Workshops continue this month, too, including “The Do’s and Don’ts of Social Media.” thekickandpush.com


CORK Sailing Regatta
August 11 – 26, Portsmouth Olympic Harbour


Photo: Queen's University Flickr
Photo: Queen’s University Flickr

Most of the sailboats you see from shore these days month are here for CORK (short for Canadian Olympic-training Regatta, Kingston), a multi-class competition and training event at Portsmouth Olympic Harbour, where the 1976 Summer Olympic sailing events occurred. Head to the shore or the hub in Portsmouth for national, continental and world championship events. Free. cork.org


Emerald Music Festival
August 12 – 14, Amherst Island


Photo: Mike Gifford, Flickr
Photo: Mike Gifford, Flickr

Held on a 100-acre beef farm with 600 feet of waterfront, this fest is heavy on the country, Celtic, bluegrass, and rock and roll. Little Caesar and the Consuls headline this year along with Beartracks. Here’s hoping Beartracks is up for another impromptu performance on the 20-minute ferry from Millhaven. Ferry: $9/car, $1.50/bike. Festival: Friday – $10, Saturday – $25, Sunday – $10. Weekend pass – $35 (with camping). emeraldmusicfestival.com


Kingston Health and Fitness Expo
August 19 – 21, Kingston 1000 Islands Sportsplex


Photo: Brett Lohmeyer Flickr
Photo: Brett Lohmeyer Flickr

Whether you’re a health nut or just getting into personal fitness, you’ll find something at this expo to get you motivated. Maybe it’ll be the latest fitness equipment, facts about nutrition needs, info about local fitness facilities or even free fitness classes. Whatever gets you there, consider signing up for the Amazing Race Kingston, a multi-day race around the expo with challenges and a $500 cash prize. Free. healthandfitness.kxomedia.ca


1000 Islands Poker Run
August 19 – 21, Confederation Park


Photo: Justin Kerr, Flickr
Photo: Justin Kerr, Flickr

Those colourfully designed speedboats from across North America are back on K-Town’s waterfront for races all weekend long. Get up close to the boats and meet the drivers at the street party on Friday night in front of City Hall, and stick around for the dinner inside City Hall on Saturday evening. Catch all of the action on the water from the Live Speed Zone Theatre in Confederation Park. Free. pokerrunsamerica.com


MacKinnon Brothers Beer + Music Festival
August 21, MacKinnon Brothers Brewery


Featuring live music, local food trucks and of course – amazing craft beer, the Back to the Farm: MacKinnon Brothers Beer and Music Festival is a big ol’ field party just outside of Kingston. This is the second annual festival on the Mackinnon Brothers’ beautiful farm & brewery in Bath, ON. The gate opens at 12 pm, the first band starts at 1 pm, and they’re going to kick you out around 10 pm. Tickets: $20. backtothefarmfb


Limestone City Blues Festival
August 25 – 28, Downtown Kingston


Four days and one hundred hours of blues in downtown bars, restaurants, clubs and outdoor stages make this one a must. A must-see is Mississippi-born Jarekus Singleton, a 30-year-old blues guitarist who Blues & Rhythm Magazine said is “destined to be the next big name in the blues world.” He’ll play the Springer Market Square stage on Saturday night. All-access bracelet: $15. downtownkingston.ca 


Recurring August Events

World Heritage Sunset Ceremony
Wednesdays, 8 pm
Fort Henry

Chef Cooking Demos
Saturdays, 2 pm
Market Square

Music in the Park
Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, 12:30 pm
Confederation Park

Movies in the Square
Thursdays, 8:30 pm
Market Square

Country Music in the Park
Thursdays, 7 pm
Confederation Park

Big Band Fridays
Fridays, 7 pm
Market Square

Kingston Penitentiary Tours
Tuesdays – Sunday, 9 am – 5 pm
Kingston Penitentiary