No matter your interests, festivals are bound to provide something for you to enjoy. From the arts to food and culture, this list highlights some of the major annual festivals that take place in Nova Scotia’s capital city. Connect with different communities throughout the province in Halifax and share unique experiences with others. Explore the Top 10 most popular events below; and support local vendors and businesses during the year-long festival season.
1. The Halifax Jazz Festival
Formally known as the Atlantic Jazz festival, the TD Jazz Festival is currently the largest and oldest summer festival in Atlantic Canada. It promises a summer of entertainment, live music and education. Past Line-ups have included acts like:
- Tanks and the Bangas
- Amanda Tossof
The HJF believes that jazz is a key part of Halifax and continues to work towards strengthening Halifax’s connection with jazz. You can take a look at the upcoming Halifax Jazz Festival lineup here.
Some events do have restrictions so check out their FAQ page on the official site.
To learn more about the event you can visit the website here.
2. Nocturne Festival
Nocturne is a free annual contemporary art festival presented by Nocturne: Art at Night Society. The festival completely transforms the streets of Halifax into a living gallery at night. A multitude of performance and installation art is showcased for the public to interact with. The festival allows you to connect not only with the artists but with the environment of the art as well. If you are someone who thoroughly enjoys the art scene, I would highly recommend this event.
This festival does not happen in a sole district but all over the HRM. For official location details check out the Nocturne website here.
3. Lebanese Festival
The annual Lebanese festival has been a Halifax summer staple since 2001. Manned by volunteers, the festival offers authentic Lebanese food, family-friendly entertainment, and live music. This year the festival is expected to return in person at the Olympic Community Centre on Hunter Street with a new menu and an expanded kid zone. Admission to the festival is free.
You can find out more about the Halifax Lebanese Festival here to get a feel for what’s in store!
4. Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo
Inspired by traditional Military Tattoos, the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo has been a landmark event held in Halifax since 1979. Boasting performers from all over the world, the Tattoo promises a unique experience for those who attend. The show hosts acrobats, dancers, marching bands and so much more! Currently, the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo is held at the Scotiabank Centre and will take place this year from June 30th to July 3rd, 2023. To purchase tickets for this year’s show, visit the official Nova Scotia Tattoo website here.
And, how cool is this!? “Kids 18 and under are free with the purchase of an adult/senior ticket.” Now that’s family-friendly!
5. Evergreen Festival
Spanning four weeks, the Evergreen Festival is an outdoor celebration that supports local vendors while providing the most scenic experience. This festival celebrates the Nova Scotian connection between Culture, food, spirits, and crafts, ensuring that you leave with a memorable experience. The Evergreen Festival is an annual celebration that takes place between November and December, mingling with the Christmas holiday to create the perfect combination of lights and festive programming for family and friends to enjoy.
To learn more about this event visit the official Evergreen Festival website.
The Halifax Oyster Fest is the largest oyster festival in Canada. Featured in ‘The New York Times’ and ‘Buzzfeed’, the festival gathers over 2,500 attendees from all over the country on the scenic Halifax Waterfront. It’s a truly unique experience for oyster lovers. With booths from local oyster producers and oyster farmers, there are so many different things to do!
From shucking demos and oyster eating contests, to live music and entertainment, you are guaranteed a fun-filled day. The festival takes place during November and requires no entrance fee.
To learn more about this event visit The Halifax Oyster Fest website here.
7. Halifax Seaport Beerfest
Always wanted to try premium imported beers? Check out the Halifax Seaport Beerfest! In August, breweries from around the province gather together to discuss the endless assortment of craft beers and ciders with vendors at Pavilion 22. With the purchase of a ticket, you are given 20 complimentary drink tickets –for 2oz samples– and the option to purchase more drink tickets if desired.
But wait, there’s more! And this bit links even more with local!
Beerfest also offers an assortment of culinary dishes to pair with your draft of choosing; and live music to keep the vibrant atmosphere alive.
If you would like to find out more about The Halifax Seaport Beer Fest, click here.
And, in the meantime, check out the awesome variety of Nova Scotia craft beers here!
8. Halifax Busker Festival
The Busker Festival is a Halifax staple.
Founded in 1986, this festival showcases the world’s best street performers and musicians all in one place. At The Buskers you will find a myriad of different talents from fire breathers to acrobats. It’s truly an experience you will never forget. The festival lasts for six days during the Natal Day weekend, taking place in both Halifax and Dartmouth.
For thrill-seekers, there is also an amusement park that boasts roller coasters, carnival games, and the legendary ‘Zipper’. The Zipper is an unpredictable and stomach-churning amusement ride that has been a part of the Busker experience for decades.
To learn more about The Halifax Busker Festival, click here.
9. Halifax Food & Wine Festival
The non-profit Savour Food & Wine Festival highlights culinary talents throughout the province. Enjoy food and wine samples from Nova Scotia’s finest restaurants, wineries and breweries. This year marks the festival’s 19th year in Halifax and celebrates Halifax’s ever-growing food and beverage community.
The festival takes place at The Westin Nova Scotian on April 6th this year. Hotel packages for the festival are available for purchase with the last day to book being March 17th, 2023. To book your stay visit here.
To learn more about the Halifax Food & Wine Festival, and buy your tickets, visit here.
10. FIN Atlantic Film Festival
The Atlantic International Film Festival –or AIFF– is a celebration of both international and regional film and media. The Festival has been an annual occurrence in Halifax since 1980, and offers viewers an opportunity to connect with different genres, including:
Explore unique film processes used during filmmaking and share film interpretations with filmmakers and fans. This year marks the return of in-person screening at the Cineplex Park Lane as well as opening and closing night events. To learn more, visit the AIFF official website here.
Interested in more events and attractions throughout the province? Check out the Fun Nova Scotia Things To Do blog by our contributor Erin McAskill.
Have any personal favourite festivals in your home local? Feel free to include them in the comments so we can all check them out too!