Summer might officially still be two weeks away, but the start of Festival Season in London, Ontario makes it feel like it is already here. We’ve had the Gathering on the Green and Bark in the Park, but there is so much more to come! If London has anything to look forward to it is all the festivals that are held in our fair city, many of which are Free! If you are new to the area, or are interested in coming to visit the Forest City this summer, why not plan it around one of the amazing festivals that grace our town.

London’s Summer Festivals

 

Fiesta London! Mexican Festival:

June 9, 2013; 11 am – 9:30 pm

Head on down to Covent Garden Market (130 King St) with your mariachis for a little Mexican flair. There will be music, food and plenty of fun to celebrate the thriving Hispanic community in London. If you are strong enough to handle it, you can take a turn at busting a piñata or entering one of these contests; the Jalapeño Eating Contest, el Grito Mexicano (Mexican Shout), and/or our Taco Eating Contest. See how much love you’ll get from winning one of those!

 

Kids Expo

June 14 – 16, 2013; 11 am – 9 pm

The first festival to hit Victoria Park (Richmond Rd & Central Ave) this summer is Kids Expo. If you’ve been before, you know that they have rides, games, crafts, kid’s activities, live entertainment, plus plenty of food vendors and home exhibits. Did you know that they also have a Win Wheel Game Show? Spin the wheel for a little more fun! Plus Captain Corbin will be on hand to entertain the family with his great magic show. The festival is Free, but be forewarned the rides are extra. For $20 you can purchase an all-day ride pass though, so your kids can ride the ferris wheel til dark!

 

Fanshawe Dragon Boat Festival

June 15, 2013

Here’s a festival with a different flavour – the Fanshawe Dragon Boat Festival! Head out to Fanshawe Lake and take in a day of dragon boat racing in support of Rowbust and the Gene Goodreau Patient Assistant Fund. There will be food and merchandise vendors on hand, plus Photographers for Charity to capture it all. Dragon Boat racing is an exciting event to witness, so be sure to schedule this day in to your festival calendar.

 

Opa! Greek Festival

June 21 – 23, 2013

Opa! Get a little Greek into you at the Greek Festival at the Hellenic Centre (133 Southdale Rd W). This Free festival is all things Greek, just the way you like it. There will be activities for the kids, tours of the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, music, dancing (you know that Greeks love to dance) and plenty of food (they also love their food!). Grab an ouzo and some tzatziki, and you’ll be yelling Opa too at this lively festival. All proceeds raised go to Childcan (Support children and families with childhood cancers).

 

International Food Festival

June 21 – 23, 2013; 11 am – 11 pm

The International Food Festival follows the Kids Expo in Victoria Park the very next weekend. The rides won’t be going far, as they will be up and running again once more (note that parents ride free with kids under 13). You might want to save your tour around the world’s cuisine for after the spins though, just in case. And around the world is where you’ll go! Think the Caribbean, Mexico, China, Italy, Greece, plus even more food vendors with Portuguese, Serbian, and Polish food to choose from. When you need a break from nibbling, check out the other exhibitors and listen to some of the live entertainment on hand. The Mudmen, Shelly Rastin Band and the Rumble Bees will be there, among others.

 

Sunfest 

July 4 – 7, 2013

If you appreciate internationally flavoured music, Sunfest is the festival for you. This Free festival (donations appreciated!) welcomes over 30 international acts to Victoria Park. This year is the 19th season that London has been graced with this amazing musical event. If the thought of world music, dance and jazz ensembles has you tapping your toe, start planning your weekend, as there will be 5 stages set up featuring the likes of Calypso Rose, Drumhand, Fatoumata Diawara, Hasna El Becharia, Hurlevent, Lazo, Quique Escamilla and Traeben. If you aren’t familiar with these musical sensations, now is your chance to broaden your horizons! Don’t forget to sample some cuisine from the wide array of international food vendors, and pick up something from one of the many craft or art vendors in the park. See you there!

 

Home County Music & Art Festival

July 19 – 21, 2013; Friday 6 – 11 pm, Saturday noon – 11 pm, Sunday noon – 9 pm

Here’s another festival for the music lovers out there. Get ready to be entertained as some amazing musicians will be headed to town to share stories in workshops, plus perform at one of six stages. I kid you not on amazing. Sarah Harmer, Great Lake Swimmers, Katherine Wheatley, Ken Whitely, Nora Galloway & the Tearjerkers, Shane Cook, The Good Brothers, The Rizdales, and The Sadies will all be there. Some of the original artists (Valdy, Rick Taylor & David Bradstreet) to play 40 years ago at the first Home County will be back this year to celebrate too. How’s that for dedication to their art?! Speaking of art, there will also be over 150 vendors selling food, arts, crafts, jewellery, ceramics, textiles and more. Don’t forget your lawn chairs!

 

London Ribfest

August 1 – 5, 2013; 11 am – 11 pm

One of the festivals  that meat-eaters love best has to be London Ribfest. Started back in 1985, this carnivore delight is still going strong, with ribbers from far and wide coming to not only eat ribs, but also partake in the competitions. That’s right, there are 10 rib-teams vying for the title of “Best Ribs” in town. Wouldn’t you care to judge? The best way to enjoy them is with a drink in hand and the operators of this festival know that all too well. That’s why they have not one, but TWO beer gardens on offer. And of course, there is more than just ribs on offer, as they let other food vendors hawk their wares as well. The rides are back for some long weekend fun, as well as plenty of other exhibitors to tempt you with. The entertainment lineup is just one more reason to stop in to Ribfest, as Lucky Widmore, Mr E, Gentleman Jim, Robin Hawkins, and of course Bobnoxious (they wouldn’t miss out on beer and ribs) will all be there. Will you?

 

Festa Italiana

Festa Italiana

August 23 – 25, 2013; 11 am – midnight, Sunday to 11 pm

How about a little Italian to wind down the summer? I’m not just talking about going out for spaghetti either. Covent Garden Market will host this year’s Festa Italiana when it welcomes opera, dancing, food, culture and even more music to this Free festival. You’ll be sure to fall in love with all things Italian!

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