Stop and smell the lilac festival – Metro US

Stop and smell the lilac festival

Don’t expect too many changes to the 21st Lilac Festival as the popular inner-city event follows the motto, if it ain’t broke …

The 4th Street Business Revitalization Zone (BRZ) took over the event’s organization over a decade ago from Cliff Bungalow-Mission’s community members who came up with the idea back in 1990.

Cliff Bungalow-Mission Community Association president Bob Lang says, “We wanted to raise the profile and value of the community and we certainly accomplished that.”

The Festival purposely coordinates with the blooming of abundant community lilacs and when the first Lilac Festival drew approximately 10,000 people, Lang says, “We knew we were onto something.”

This year, seven entertainment stages, 500+ vendors, a kids area and food court should attract roughly 100,000 people to experience all the attractions, says Jennifer Rempel 4th Street BRZ executive director.

With it being an outdoor, rain or shine event the weather has played a significant role in previous years attendance, yet two years ago through the rain the Festival still saw 70,000 attendees.

She says the Lilac Festival has something for everyone: Shopping (4th Street store sidewalk sales), wide selection of food, crafts, entertainment (singers, dancers, buskers), beer gardens and a bit of charity at non-profit group booths.

Those interested should visit www.4streetcalgary.com/lilacfestival/ for the entertainment line-up, which lists what time, stage and group attendees can expect to see between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Sunday.

The website also has a “How to get here” link detailing bus routes and C-Train stop suggestions as parking is limited around the Festival. If driving is the only option, Rempel says two large parkades, one on 4th and 18th Ave. S.W. and the other on 4th and 23rd Ave. S.W., will offer their spaces for free during Festival hours.

Due to many other festival organizers filling some vendor booths Rempel says, “it’s a really great place to plan out the rest of your summer as well.”

Taking up 13 Calgary city blocks along 4th Street S.W. from Elbow Drive S.W. to 12th Avenue S.W., Rempel encourages people to to walk the whole length and experience everything the Lilac Festival has to offer.

• Catch the Lilac Festival Sunday