8 Festivals to Hit This June in Kingston

By Jordan Whitehouse

It’s a big month for festivals this June in Kingston, as Skeleton Park, Pride, and the YGK Craft Beer Fest all make their return. Here are eight to put at the top of your list.

Limestone Genre Expo

Kingston Frontenac Public Library (Central Branch)

June 1, 2019, 9 am – 5 pm

Check out the newly renovated Central Branch at this annual literary festival all about genre fiction — fantasy, horror, mystery, romance, and science fiction. Expect panel discussions, workshops, readings, pitch sessions, a big vendor area, and lots of chances to meet authors, editors, and publishers. As usual, there will be a couple of special events, too, like the “Crime in Limestone” evening at the Kingston Brew Pub, where Crime Writers of Canada will host book signings, readings, and trivia (7 pm).    


Beat Beethoven Run

Confederation Park, Downtown Kingston

June 2, 2019, 9:45 am – 1 pm

You may not have the musical chops to beat Beethoven, but how about the legs? Back for its 24th year, this contest challenges you to finish an 8-kilometre race or a 4-kilometre fun run/walk through downtown before the Kingston Symphony finishes playing 50 minutes of Beethoven’s best. The 8- and 4-kilometre events start at 10:30 am at Confederation Park. The 1-kilometre kid’s race starts at 9:45 am at Confederation Park.

$10 – $45


YGK Craft Beer Fest

Fort Henry

June 8, 2019, 12 pm – 8 pm

The Fort’s back hill will be the place to sip a few cold craft ones again this year. The brewery lineup was still being finalized at the time of writing, but there are usually several breweries from across the province and a few locals. The format will be the same as previous years, though — a $2.50 beer token will get you a 5-ounce sample — and as for food, think food truck eats like poutine, fresh salads, jerk chicken, and gelato. There will be artisan vendors on site as well, plus plenty of live music throughout the afternoon.  

Admission: $15 – 20 (19+), $7.08 (5-19 yrs), Free (0-4 yrs)


Festival of Live Digital Art

The Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts

June 12 – 15, 2019

This second annual festival is unlike any other in Canada, as it explores and presents live performance integrated with digital technologies. Some of those performances will happen at The Isabel in front of live audiences and broadcast to cities across the country. Others will happen in different Canadian cities and be broadcast to Kingston and elsewhere. There will also be debates, discussions, workshops, and keynotes, each wrestling with the question: what is live Canadian performance in the digital age?    

Prices vary per performance


Kingston Pride Parade and Community Fair

Princess Street and Confederation Park

June 15, 2019, 10 am – 6 pm

What started with only about 15 people walking up Princess Street in 1989 now usually has several hundred people celebrating gender and sexual diversity throughout the day. The parade starts at McBurney Park at 12 pm, goes down Princess, and ends at Confederation Park, where there will be a community fair with a few dozen participants. Remember, too, that while the parade and fair are the pinnacles of Pride, there are lots of other Pride-related events happening in June as well (check the website for an up-to-date list).  



DK Shop Fest

Downtown Kingston

June 15, 2019

While you celebrate Pride, remember to give some local love to your favourite downtown businesses at this annual sidewalk sale. Over 50 merchants typically take to the pavement every year, many of them offering some very sweet deals. Downtown Kingston also gets in on the deal-making action with a $500 shopping spree (fill out a ballot to win at any participating downtown business). Plus, if you take a downtown pic during the day and use the hashtag #dkshopfest in your Instagram post, you’ll automatically be entered to win other prizes.



Skeleton Park Arts Festival

McBurney “Skeleton” Park

June 19 – 23, 2019

One of the most eclectic family-friendly festivals of the year is here again with just as much live music, local artisans, food vendors, and summer solstice games as always. Taking place in and around McBurney “Skeleton” Park, the music lineup this year includes Witch Prophet, The Wilderness, The Soul Jazz Orchestra, Kaia Kater, Wolf Saga, Deux Trois, Piner, and The Orontes Quartet. Many of them will play in the park on the Saturday and Sunday, but don’t forget about the film screening, live music aqua fitness, porch jazz parade, and other activities happening throughout the week, too.



Artfest Kingston

City Park

June 29 – July 1, 2019, 10 am – 6 pm

The shady paths of City Park will be packed again this Canada Day weekend with over 200 artists and artisans from across Ontario and Quebec. They’ll be there showing off their pottery, glass, wood, jewellery, and other creations alongside food vendors, bands, and poets. There will also be live outdoor theatre, a 100-foot art mural, a First Nations art pavilion, kids programming, and a craft beer and wine tent to keep you hydrated and happy.