Your Kingston Festival Guide for July is Here

By Jordan Whitehouse

Take your pick from Canada Day fun, the Buskers Rendezvous, three theatre fests, a new craft cider event, and more.

Canada Day Celebrations in Downtown Kingston
Canada Day in Kingston

Sunday, July 1, 2018
Downtown Kingston
Kick off Canada’s birthday with a little outdoor yoga at the Memorial Centre at 10 am. Or get the heart really pumping downtown during the Limestone Mile footrace at 9 am. The Red & White People Parade goes from Barrie Street to City Hall (11:30 am), where in nearby Confederation Park you’ll get the best view of the fireworks at 10 pm. Out at Grass Creek Park, you’ll find family activities like hands-on exotics shows, mini-putt, inflatables, games, and face painting (or you can just chill and swim all day at the beach.)     

Kingston ArtFest
Photo via Kingston Artfest Facebook
Artfest Kingston

Sunday, July 1 – Monday, July 2, 2018, from 10 am – 6 pm
City Park
The city’s biggest outdoor art party of the year is back for Canada Day weekend. About 200 artists and artisans from across Ontario and Quebec will be at City Park with everything from pottery to glass to wood to jewellery works for you to browse and buy. There will be live music, art workshops, outdoor theatre, and poetry readings, too. Plus, gourmet food, a craft beer and wine tent, and a First Nations artist pavilion.
Fort Henry Sunset Ceremony

Sunset Ceremony

Every Wednesday, July and August from 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Fort Henry
These Wednesday evening shows recreate 1860s military life with a lot of artillery, cannon fire, drums, and state-of-the-art narrative elements. And what better place to get a taste of that life than inside a 19th-century fort and World UNESCO Heritage Site? The show has been redesigned this year, but Fort Henry’s own Guard Drums, Drill Squad, and Artillery detachments will still be your hosts, and that blazing sunset will always be your backdrop.
$13 – $20 (free for kids under 5)  

CORK Summer sailing regatta
Photo via Queen’s University Flickr
CORK Sailing Regatta

Begins Wednesday, July 4, 2018
Portsmouth Olympic Harbour
Almost every summer since 1969, Kingston’s waters have filled with sailboats from all over the planet. A lot of the people in those boats come to train for and compete in a variety of world-class events during the Canadian Olympic-training Regatta, Kingston (CORK). They come because we have some of the best fresh-water sailing on Earth, excellent wind and wave conditions, and an Olympics-worthy venue. Hit the website to see when competitions happen, and then head to the waterfront to see who wins.

Kingston Buskers Rendezvous
Kingston Buskers Rendezvous

Thursday, July 5 – Sunday, July 8, 2018
The fire breathers, knife jugglers, and multi-instrumentalists will hit downtown streets for the 30th year this July. Over 20 performers are expected, including Ace-K, a Japanese performer with a unique set of acrobatics, juggling, and balloon manipulation; Chris Blaze, a high-energy fire ninja from Australia; and Cabl, a ukulele quartet from Kingston that plays revised covers of classic hits.    
Performers are paid by audience tips.

One Act Play Festival at the Domino Theatre
Photo via Domino Theatre Facebook
One-Act Play Festival

Saturday, July 7 – Sunday, July 8, 2018
The Davies Foundation Auditorium
The month of theatre fests kicks off with this one featuring two evenings of original short plays written by local authors. In one play, two people in their 30s or 40s are arrested without explanation and brought to a cell they’ll share. In another, a woman tries to figure out why she was abducted and let go two provinces away. The best production, as chosen by a panel of judges, will represent Domino Theatre at the Eastern Ontario Drama League One-Act Play Festival in Kingston this fall.   
Adults, $20/evening. Students, $10/evening.

The Kick and Push Festival
Photo via Kick and Push Festival Facebook
The Kick and Push Festival

Thursday, July 19 – Sunday, August 12, 2018
Don’t be surprised to take a seat in a living room at this second theatre fest of the month. Or maybe you’ll be invited to join a basketball game onstage. Wherever you end up, know that Kick & Push is a professionally-run festival featuring award-winning Canadian performers and original award-winning works. The Grand is the base, but performances happen at eight venues all over downtown.     
Prices not yet available.

The Storefront Fringe Festival in Downtown Kingston
Photo via Storefront Fringe Festival Facebook
Storefront Fringe Festival

Friday, July 20 – Saturday, July 28, 2018
The third and final theatre fest of the month will take place in three empty storefronts downtown. As of writing, 18 independent individuals or theatre companies have been confirmed to perform in those spaces. Half of them are from Kingston; half are from Toronto, Ottawa, and elsewhere, including Brazil. As with any fringe fest, expect uncurated, uncensored, and unboring works.    
Prices not yet available.

Kingston Craft Cider Festival at The Brooklyn
Photographer A. Rendle via FlickrCC
Kingston Craft Cider Festival

Saturday, July 21, 2018 – 12 pm – 6 pm
The Brooklyn
This fest aims to give you a good taste of some of the best hard ciders from around the province. So far, three brewers have been confirmed: Collective Arts Brewing (Hamilton), The County Cider Company (Prince Edward County), and The Hard Way Cider Company (Bath). You’ll find them all inside The Brooklyn or outside under a tent. Admission includes 5 sample tickets and a souvenir glass. Food vendors will be there, too.

The 20th annual Taste of Kingston
Photo via South Eastern Ontario tourism
Taste of Kingston

Sunday, July 29, 2018, from 11 am – 4 pm
Confederation Park
Some of Kingston’s top restaurants will be at Confederation Park for this annual food fest and Diabetes Canada fundraiser. Each of them will have bite-sized creations on offer that have, in past years, included everything from grilled cheese paninis to butter chicken to roasted garlic bruschetta. Tasting tickets are $1 each, but each sample could require up to five tickets. All proceeds will support Diabetes Canada’s D-Camps for children and youth with type one diabetes in Ontario.   
Free (tasting tickets: $1/each)