4 Weeks, 8 Fests: Your June Festivals Guide

By Jordan Whitehouse

Summer festivals season is finally back — and it’s kicking off in June with a bang. From a marathon with a Beethoven soundtrack to a craft beer party overlooking downtown Kingston, you’ve got your pick this month. Plus, Movies in the Square and Music in the Park return. Here are the details on 8 fests, in calendar order, to put on your June to-do list.

Beat Beethoven

Sunday, June 5, 10:30 am

Photo by Robby Breadner
Photo by Robby Breadner

Few can say they’ve bettered Beethoven, but this fundraising event for the Kingston Symphony is your chance. That is, if you can finish a 4- or 8-kilometre run/walk through downtown before the symphony finishes playing 50 minutes of Beethoven’s best. Start at Confederation Park in front of City Hall and then head to the route around City Park or the course that goes out to Sir John A. Macdonald Blvd. and back. More of a relaxer than a marathoner? Stay at the starting line, and chill with Beethoven on the grass. $30 – $45. beatbeethovenkingston.com
Confederation Park

Kingston Art Scenes Summit

Sunday, June 5, 2 pm – 5 pm

Photo Courtesy of Queen's University Flickr
Photo Courtesy of Queen’s University Flickr

After you’ve beaten Beethoven, run over to Queen’s University’s premier art museum for an afternoon that’ll take you through Kingston’s art scenes from the ’70s to now. The broad themes of the eight short talks given by artists, curators and cultural leaders will be “Time” and “Space,” ranging in topic from the 1973 controversial sculpture, “Time,” on the waterfront, to the state of studio and exhibition space in Kingston today. Free. agnes.queensu.ca

Agnes Etherington Art Centre

Cannonball Crush

Saturday, June 11, 10 am

Photo by Saint Lawrence Parks Commission
Photo by Saint Lawrence Parks Commission

With its steep hills, deep ditches and water on three sides, Fort Henry hasn’t dared to be attacked in its 150-plus years. You can change that at this 5-kilometre run with over 15 obstacles that include swimming, crawling and climbing up this National Historic Site that once protected the Rideau’s entrance and the town of Kingston. Complete the course alone or with a team of at least four; either way, only the finishers can truly claim to have conquered Fort Henry. $50 – $75. forthenry.com
Fort Henry

YGK Craft Beer Fest

Saturday, June 11, 11 am – 7 pm

When you’ve conquered the fort, quench your thirst with some fresh suds, cider or spirits from craft brewers near and far. Local beauties Gananoque Brewing and MacKinnon Brothers Brewing will be there, as will Ontario’s first micro-distillery, Black Fly. For the best times, pair with local food, good tunes from the likes of The Elwins, Rueben deGroot and others, and some of the best views of downtown. Adults: $15 (plus $2.50 per 4-ounce sample). Free for Cannonball Crushers. forthenry.com
Fort Henry

First Capital Day

Wednesday, June 15, 9:30 am – 2:30 pm

Photo from Queen's University Flickr
Photo from Queen’s University Flickr

Kingston was named the first capital of a united Canada on June 15, 1841, and each June you can step back to that era at City Park, where permanent legislative buildings were to be erected. Spinning and weaving demonstrations, rope making, Victorian toys and games, early medicine, and military displays are just the start. Also go on an architectural scavenger hunt, experience the aboriginal way of life, and take a horse-drawn wagon through old King’s Town. Free. cityofkingston.ca
City Park

Kingston Sportsman’s Expo

Friday, June 17 to Sunday, June 19

If you’re looking for a new fishing rod or mountain bike, or you want to explore a potential hobby or learn from a live outdoors demonstration, then this is your event. It’s a one-stop shop for everything hunting, fishing, extreme sports and outdoor adventure related. There will be plenty of contests, too, including ones for tent building, animal calling and log splitting. $15 – $25. Kids under 13: Free. sportsmen.kxomedia.ca
Kingston 1000 Islands Sportsplex

Doors Open Kingston

Saturday, June 18

Go ahead. This is your chance to take a peek inside the front door of some of Kingston’s most cherished sites. Twenty are on the list year, and the theme is medical science and innovation, which means a big draw should be the Museum of Health Care, a beaux-arts style building that will feature behind-the-scenes tours. Other notables: Canada’s Penitentiary Musuem, HMCS Cataraqui, Kingston Police Headquarters, City Hall and the Lawn Bowling Club. Free. doorsopenontario.on.ca
Various Locations

Skeleton Park Arts Festival

June 22 – 26

Photo from Christopher Canning Flickr
Photo from Christopher Canning Flickr

This five-day arts fest and community celebration keeps on drawing big-name musicians and artists from Kingston and around the world. Sloan, for example, will play on Saturday in Skeleton Park (aka McBurney Park) for the weekend music and arts fair. Later, at The Toucan’s after party, PS I Love You will bring the rock. Earlier in the week, there will be an aqua fit concert with Sheesham & Lotus & Son, a film screening with Rae Spoon, a concert and barbecue with Lost Cousins, and way more. Free. skeletonparkartsfest.ca
McBurney Park Area