Three Calgary events to attend this year
Support lesser-known festivities (and have fun doing it)
By Sabrina Harmata, Staff Writer
With the annual Comic Expo, Stampede and countless festivals, it isn’t hard to find things to do around Calgary. Sometimes all the banners on Crowchild Trail make it difficult to decide what to do over the weekend, since there are so many options. This often results in tremendous attendance rates for the bigger festivals, such as Stampede and the new annual Diagon Alley in Kensington, while smaller events frequently go by unnoticed. This year, why not try out some of the lesser-known events around the city? Who knows? You might like it so much you decide to make it your new favourite yearly tradition. Here are some less-recognized events happening this year that you will definitely want to check out:
Fairy Tales Queer Film Festival
The annual Fairy Tales Queer Film Festival is thrown by the not-for-profit organization, Fairy Tales Presentation Society in Calgary. Although information for this year’s festival hasn’t yet been released, the festival has been held in May in the past. Fairy Tales Presentation Society as a whole aims to celebrate queer culture by raising awareness through film, and creating a safe space to discuss the need for social change. The organization also strives to encourage having more queer representations in cinema.
On top of the film festival, Fairy Tales Presentation Society runs some year-round programs to educate people about queer representation through film. These programs include the OUTReels Diversity Education Program and the Youth Queer Media Program (YQMP). These programs endeavor to produce safe spaces that value diversity, self-expression and individuality.
The film festival held in Calgary every year is one of the largest queer film festivals in Canada, outside of Vancouver’s and Toronto’s. Using films, panels and Q&A sessions, the festival blends art with personal stories, resulting in the most effective kind of education: one that is grounded in real-life experience.
CBC Calgary Reads Big Book Sale
Although this event is more well-known than the others on this list, it’s still surprising how many people don’t know about it. Since 2002, Calgary Reads has been hosting a massive book sale every May with the intention of encouraging more people to read. And let me tell you, it is a necessary sale for all bookworms out there. From children’s books to non-fiction to horror, this sale has everything you’ve ever wanted when it comes to literature, especially affordable prices. Though there are some pricier items, most books start at around $2 to $4.
All books sold at the sale are donated and they will be accepting donations for the Big Book Sale closer to the event, so don’t throw out any of your old books just yet. The best part about this sale is they provide boxes because they know it’s physically impossible for you to walk out of there with just one book. So book a day off during the sale, browse the tables all day (because there’s just no way you’re getting through all those books in less time) and fill your box to your heart’s content.
Calgary European Film Festival
This film festival hasn’t been around for as long as the Fairy Tales Film Festival, but that doesn’t make it any less good. Tickets for this year’s festival aren’t on sale yet, but don’t fret. You’ll have plenty of time to grab them, as the festival doesn’t happen until November. This gives you an abundance of time to gather all your nerdy friends, and read some movies. And yes, I mean read, because you won’t be getting through these movies without subtitles to clue you into what’s going on. Imagine this: instead of watching Friends and fake laughing while everyone makes fun of Ross for liking foreign films, you can actually be Ross! Or at least, you can watch the foreign films.
Aiming to promote multiculturalism through film, the Calgary European Film Festival features movies from all over Europe, with new countries joining every year. Last year, the festival presented movies from 18 countries, including Bulgaria, Germany, France, Moldova and Switzerland. Not only will this festival be tons of fun, it will also enhance your cultural awareness.