Superior Country Blog

Festival Fever

When traveling through Northern Ontario’s Superior Country some of the best experiences are seeing the sites and exploring the wilderness. However, what will really capture your heart are the long-standing festivals that celebrate the traditions and unique characteristics of each community! Whether that be ice climbing, fishing, or music, after you’ve read this article, we hope you have caught the “Festival Fever” and attend all that interest you! Here is your need-to-know on Northern Ontario Festivals…

  • Bluesfest

    When: July 5th – 7th 

    Where: Thunder Bay

    If you are a lover of music, then look no further because the Bluesfest in Thunder Bay is the Festival for your ears. The Thunder Bay Blues Society was formed in 1998 and has been passionate about this festival and other events ever since. The 15th annual Bluesfest takes place next to Lake Superior, overlooking the legendary Sleeping Giant, in the Thunder Bay Marina Park which is parallel to North Water Street. The Marina grounds provides a great atmosphere where you can sit back and relax or dance your heart out to the wide range of blues performers.

    This 3-day event includes

    • Music performances by a variety of blues artists
    • Food Vendors
    • Beer & Spirits
    • Merchandise for sale (t-shirts, hats, CD’s etc.)

     

    This year’s performers include Bryan Adams, Johnny Reid, Jann Arden, and Burton Cummings & Band. If you are interested in this event and would like more information please click here. There you can also learn more about transportation to the festival grounds from where you are staying and a list of accommodations in the area.

  • Summerfest

    When: July 18th – 21st 

    Where: Longlac

    Summerfest is the perfect weekend long festival full of food, fun, and activities to keep your summer spirit going. This festival takes place throughout Longlac a warm summer weekend where you can celebrate and enjoy this beautiful season. 

    This 3 day event includes…

    • Great food (famous for their beef on a bun)
    • Fish Fry
    • Live Music
    • Street Dance
    • Baseball Tournaments (Slo-pitch & Lob ball)
    • Parade
    • Activities for kids (obstacle courses, face painting etc.)

     

    For more information please click here 

     

  • Beach Festival

    When: Sunday July 21st, 2019

    Where: Terrace Bay 

    This Beach Festival is a unique, one day celebration on the beautiful shoreline of Lake Superior. This year’s Festival takes place on Sunday July 21st, 2019. This is a FREE event for everyone and begins in the morning at 10 am.

    This one-day event includes:

    • Guided hike
    • Beach Clean up
    • Beach Barbeque
    • Demos (kayaking, paddle boarding, and canoeing)
    • Guided kayaking tours
    • Boat Tours

     

    The Terrace Bay Beach is a beautiful site day or night; whether you’re out looking for the Slate Islands or stargazing to see the Northern Lights, Terrace Bay Beach does not disappoint! You can do everything from surf, paddle-board, camp, or just stroll along the beach, there are options for everyone. For more information on this event, the beach, and outfitters in the area click here.  

     

  • Drag Fest

    When: August 2nd – 4th

    Where: Terrace Bay

     A highly anticipated festival is none other than the Terrace Bay’s DragFest. This is a festival that takes place over the August long weekend, and is put on by the Superior Classics Car Club. The Dragfest is located on the Terrace Bay Airport Grounds located on Highway 17. 

    This 4 day event includes:

    • Drag Races ( Quick 16 Class and Mid-West Wild Bunch)
    • Car Show
    • Food Vendors
    • Overnight Camping

     

    When attending this event, camping is available on the grounds for details click here or other accommodations can be made close by in Terrace Bay and Schrieber. To view those options visit Terrace Bay and Schrieber’s official websites.

  • Live from the Rock Folk Festival (Folk Fest)

    When: August 9th – 11th

    Where: Red Rock 

    Live from the Rock Folk Festival is a music and arts festival that has been held annually since 2002, and is hosted by the Township of Red Rock and over 200 dedicated volunteers. This event takes place on the shore of Lake Superior in Red Rock, Ontario. Over the years it has pulled in over 2,000 music lovers who are passionate about the grassroots festival.  

    This year, Live from the Rock Folk Festival will take place August 9th-11th 2019. The event kicks off on Friday at 11am when you can expect the music to begin and it won’t stop until Sunday evening. This three day event includes:

    • World class music
    • Daytime workshops
    • Food Trucks & booths
    • Vendors with unique products/art
    • Beer Gardens
    • Musical Campfires

     

    Accommodations can be made to camp on the festival grounds or stay at other places in the surrounding areas. The campground opens on Thursday August 8, 2019 before the festival begins at noon for those who want to set up camp and get an early start. It is $20/per person for a weekend camping pass and children under the age of 12 camp for free. For more information on camping and tickets/entrance fees for the festival click here

    For other options in the area make sure to visit the Red Rock and Nipigon official websites

    Live from the Rock Folk Festival is truly a unique experience as it encourages the musicians and performers to collaborate within a fun environment, and provides you with a front row seat to a one-of a kind musical experience.

  • Lighthouse Festival

    When: August 16th – 19th

    Where: Terrace Bay

    A lighthouse, the calm in a storm, the light in the darkness.

    The Terrace Bay Lighthouse is something you don’t want to pass by this summer! A replica of the Slate Islands Provincial Park lighthouse standing at 50 ft and a top attraction for tourists. With stunning views of Lake Superior and opportunities to spot a Caribou roaming the Slate Islands you won’t be disappointed.

    The lighthouse on the Slates currently holds the record for the highest elevated lighthouse on the Great Lakes and is the sister to the lighthouse on Otter Island. It was built in 2011 and stands at 224 ft above sea level. The Township of Terrace Bay takes pride in this and now celebrates with a Lighthouse Festival each year. This year’s event takes place August 16th-19th, 2019.

          This 3 day event includes:

    • Live bands
    • Local food
    • Business sidewalk sales
    • Street Market
    • Kids dance
    • Fun in the park (Inflatables, Zorb Balls)
    • Lighthouse raffle draw
    • Beach Party & Fireworks
    • Beach Barbecue & games
    • Bingo
    • Beer Gardens/Street Dance

     

    For more information on this epic festival click here

    When visiting the Lighthouse Replica make sure to visit the other nearby attractions such as the Lighthouse Gallery and Slate Islands Brewing Company. These can both be found in downtown Terrace Bay.

  • Winnie's Hometown Festival

    When: August 16th – 18th

    Where: White River

    Winnie the Pooh is the well known bear we all know and love. Especially the residents of White River being that it is the birthplace of the beloved character. Every year the community celebrates this with “ Winnie’s Hometown Festival” on the third weekend of August this year it will take place on the weekend of August 16th-18th. Each year the festival takes on a different theme examples of previous themes include “Winne the Pooh goes to Vegas” and “ Winnie the Pooh goes to Hawiia.”

    The story by A.A Milne was inspired by an orphaned black bear cub taken in by a trapper who brought her to White River. This was a common thing to have bears in the early 1900’s and thankfully it was or else Winnie the Pooh would never exist. There is much more to this heartfelt story and history of the character if you would like to read more make sure to visit the official webpage.

    This 3 day event includes…

    • Block Party
    • Parades
    • Burnout Contest
    • Fireworks
    • Food Vendors
    • Pancake breakfast
    • Trade Fair
    • Bingo
    • Fish Derby
  • Ribfest

    When: August 23rd – 25th

    Where: Thunder Bay

    Ribfest is a food festival that has spread throughout the United States and Canada and it celebrates one of Barbeque’s staples and a fan favourite “RIBS.” It takes place in many different locations throughout the summer months and Thunder Bay has its very own that will take place this year on August 23rd – 25th 2019. This year Ribfest will be taking place on the CLE grounds at 425 Northern Avenue Thunder Bay, Ontario.

    If you are a barbeque enthusiast, foodie, or simply just a rib lover this is the festival for you. With not only your endless supply of ribs but also food vendors with other selections for you to try.

    This 3 day event includes

    • Intercity Rumble Car and Motorcycle Show
    • Kub Kar Rally
    • Taranis Excavator Rodeo
    • Strong Man Competition
    • Meet in person Robby Wolfe from television’s American Pickers.
    • Crossfit Challenge
    • Music
    • Local Food Vendors & Artisans
    • Incredible Rib eating experience
    • Breweries

     

    Ribfest offers something for everyone and will not disappoint! For more information please click here

     

  • Fall Fishing Festival

    When: August 31st – September 2nd

    Where: Nipigon

    The Nipigon Fall Fishing Festival (FFF) is the longest running annual event along the Northshore. This year will be the 55th annual FFF which takes place from August 31st – September 2nd, 2019.

    Don’t let the name scare you if you are not a fisherman/woman! It has lots to offer and is more than just a fish derby. The festival is an opportunity for family, friends and visitors to come together to taste fantastic food, enjoy excellent local entertainment, and participate in a ton of fun activities.

    However, if you are a fishing enthusiast, the Derby is something that will spark your interest. There is a two day family derby and one day Huck Finn derby for kids. For more information on the derbies click here

    This 4-day event includes…

    • 5km race
    • Beer Gardens
    • Biggest slo-pitch tournament on the Northshore
    • Kids races and activities
    • Dance at the Nipigon Legion
    • Parade
    • Classic car display
    • Kids’ inflatables
    • Talent Show
    • Home Run contest
    • Food trucks and booths
    • Giant penny auction
    • Catch the Ace (giving you the chance to win a progressive jackpot) 

     

    For more general information on the FFF please click here.

  • Winterfest

    When: February 2020

    Where: Terrace Bay

    Terrace Bay not only has great festivals going on in the summer, but also those cold months when you need something exciting to bring you out of hibernation. Their Winterfest is a fun, jam packed weekend that usually takes place in February.

    Winterfest has something for the whole family and is your ultimate weekend long winter carnival. It begins on the Friday evening with a pasta dinner followed by a  “ Winterfest Dance” for elementary school kids.

          This 4 day event includes:

    • Great Food
    • Bowling
    • Flag day Celebrations
    • Indoor Warming Stations
    • Pancake Breakfast
    • Opening Ceremonies
    • Outdoor Winter Games
    • Fireworks
    • Events held at Drifters
    • Crokicurl
    • Voyageurs Luncheon
    • Bingo
    • Hockey Shootout Contest
    • Family Ski Day

     

    For more information on this festival please click here.

     

  • Ice Fest

    When: March 2020  

    Where: Nipigon 

    Ice Fest is the perfect festival if you love adventure, winter, and consider yourself an adrenaline junkie. It is the longest running Canadian premiere ice climbing festival. You don’t have to be a pro or an experienced climber as they offer activities from a beginner level all the way to expert.

    The fest is put on by Outdoors Skills and Thrills which is an organization that provides the best climbing experiences in Northwest Ontario. They offer guided rock and ice climbing adventures and courses.

    The Nipigon Ice Fest typically takes place at the beginning of March, where this years festival took place from March 1st – 3rd. Outdoor Skills and Thrills updates their website frequently with all the details for the festival, so make sure to check their events calendar frequently as there is always something exciting happening.

    This 3 day event includes…

    • Climbing clinics
    • Snowshoe outings
    • Presentations
    • Gear Swap/Sale
    • Prizes/Gear Raffle
    • Dinner Specials
    • Ice Climbing Adventures
    • Climbers mingle
    • Game Night
    • Networking

     

    If you are looking for more information or you want to register for the Ice Fest please click here.

     

     

  • Birding Fest

    When: May 2020 

    Where: Dorion

    The Birding Fest originally began with the Township Of Dorion as “Dorion’s Canyon Country Birding Festival” but has now been taken over Lakehead Conservation Authority however, still occurs in Dorion, Ontario. The event will take place in the spring of 2020.

    Birding is one of the most popular ways to observe wildlife and this festival is extremely successful every year to the point of it selling out quickly. The specific locations for the birding include the Hurkett Cove Conservation Area, Hurkett Dock, Ouimet Canyon, and some back roads and farm fields along the way.

    This two day event includes

    • Breakfast
    • Transportation provided to sites where you will be birding
    • A great birding experience
    • Dinner
    • Presentations/Discussions

     

    This is a festival that you need to register ahead of time so if this is something that interests you or you want to know more you can visit their website or sign up for their newsletter by clicking here.  

  • Kitefest

    Kitefest

    When: Summer 2020 

    Where: Chippewa Park (Thunder Bay)

    Kitefest is something that has been taking place since 1981 located at Chippewa Park, just outside of Thunder Bay along the coast of Lake Superior. Kitefest is an award-winning festival that has been ranked on “Ontario’s Top 100 Festivals List” for the sixth time as of 2015. 

    This 1 day event includes

    • Kite workshops
    • Kite demonstrations
    • Activities
    • Watch experts and experience amazing kite flying skills

     

    Although this event features a lot of pro fliers this is event is for everyone! Families are welcome to bring their own kites to fly and can interact with the pros for tips and demonstrations. 

    This festival is proven to be extremely unique and is something that you should not miss out on.

    While taking a break from flying your kite during the festival make sure to explore Chippewa Park and everything it has to offer. Roam the beach in their Sandy Beach Park, visit your favorite animals in the Wildlife Park, or get a thrill from their Amusement Park…

    “Home to a range of amusement rides since the early 1920’s. Today, anchored by the Historical Carousel, the park boasts a small midway.  For the younger set they can choose between tanks, planes and boats to ride on.  For the older visitor, the tilt-a-whirl and bumper cars will give you a thrill.” – Chippewa Park Official Website 

    For more information on this festival please click here

     

This article mainly focuses on just the festivals taking place within Superior Country however, there are so many more events to attend. Watch out for future articles on these events such as Pow Wows, Fish Derby’s, Heritage days, and more in Superior Country.