Lilac Festival expands in its 33rd year, stretching to 16 blocks

Last year's Lilac Festival saw thousands of people attend. (CBC - image credit)
Last year's Lilac Festival saw thousands of people attend. (CBC - image credit)

Summer in Calgary unofficially kicks off Sunday as the city's first street festival of the year gets underway.

The Fourth Street Lilac Festival, long-considered to be the start of the fair-weather season in Calgary, will once again take over Mission.

Now in its 33rd year, the 2024 edition will be the biggest yet. It's expanding into Central Memorial Park, stretching the festival to 16 blocks.

"We've really increased our footprint to what we have," said Jennifer Rempel, the festival's event producer. "We have a whole new set of performers performing and vendors participating … there's lots of great things to see."

With the festival taking over 16 blocks of the inner city, it's best to take transit, bike or walk to the festival, said Rempel.

Road closures run along Fourth Street S.W., from 12th Avenue to Elbow Drive, and along 17th Avenue from Second Street to Fifth Street S.W.

There will be six stages with more than 70 performances throughout the day. Festival organizers said it's an opportunity for local artists to gain exposure with new audiences.

As well as the entertainment, there will be local businesses showcasing their creations.

"We have all sorts of vendors, everything from handmade jewelry to food trucks to artisanal hot sauces," she said.

"There's something for everybody to shop and look at."