Want to know our family recipe for a summer that feels FULL of fun without emptying the piggy bank?
Start before school ends by filling the calendar with free or inexpensive festivals, backyard camping adventures, new playground visits, and trips to the local ice cream spots already planned. Throw in a few impromptu water fights, a trip to the beach, and a day trip or two and the kids will think you’re the best summer vacation planner ever!
Need a little help to make that happen? We’ve got you covered! Follow the links above for help with ice cream, day trips, playgrounds, and more. Then use this list of our top seven family-friendly festivals in the Greater Moncton Area and some inspiration throughout the province to complete your planning. Easy peasy! (At least in planning – we make no guarantees about the execution!)
12th annual Moncton Highland Games and Scottish Festival (June 11-17): This is the kick off to summer in our minds! While the focus is on the traditional Highland Games competitions, there is SO MUCH more to this event – and the organizers have been growing it with families in mind. Petting zoo, wagon rides, archery the kids can try, sheep dog trials, historical and cultural workshops, live music, and lots more. There are free concerts leading up to the big day of events on June 16 at the Hal Betts Sportsplex in Moncton.
Riverview’s Sunfest (June 28-July 1): Nearly two dozen different events make up the Town of Riverview’s official kick off to summer. A few family highlights include the children’s triathlon, free swimming at the outdoor pool, workshops, outdoor movies, family yoga, skateboard competitions, wrestling, and more!
Shediac Lobster Festival (June 28-July 8): This is about SO MUCH more than lobster! There are performances with magicians, storytellers, and children’s entertainers, fantastic exhibits from the Homarus Eco-Centre, a beach day featuring sand lobster sculptures, games, and more, and of course the midway! (Need a fun outfit for the festival? Check out the ‘homard bound’ gear from local Sandy Toes Shop!)
Whoa! Canada (July 1): Okay, so it’s not really a festival so much as it is a day, but it’s a huge party we’re all invited to attend & there’s so much for the kids! The City of Moncton’s annual Canada Day celebration includes a Kids’ PlayZone hosted by hop! skip! jump! with inflatables and a foam pit, a Mad Science slime booth, and more. The Main Stage music for the day is Moncton’s own The Monoxides, Laurence Jalbert, and headliner Steven Page with Odds, followed by the tri-community fireworks at 10pm.
Festival Inspire (July 9-14): This has quickly become a family favourite – and a world-renowned sensation. We love exploring our communities as they are transformed by art! Always so much to see and do with the family!
Mosaiq Multicultural Festival (July 20 & 21) : Downtown Moncton will be filled with music, food, and more as all our cultural groups gather to celebrate together. Enjoy top-notch concerts with artists from Sweden, Estonia, Colombia, Africa, and more.
ImaginAIR (July 26-29): Dieppe’s newest festival combines kites, circus acts, culinary arts, fireworks, and more! (And speaking of the air, don’t forget to but the Atlantic Balloon Fiesta in Sussex on your list – though we think of it as more of a fall event, since it’s in September!)
Pride Week (Aug 18-25): Moncton’s River of Pride features more than two dozen public events, from education-focused to nightlife and everything in between! The annual Pride Parade, a Pickle Planet family favourite, takes place on Saturday, Aug 25 in downtown Moncton.
That’s it for our top seven (did you count? we actually goofed – there are 8!) family-friendly festivals & events in the Greater Moncton Area this summer – but why stop there?! Here are some of the great festivals happening around the province that we think sound worth the trip!
(Full disclosure: These festivals made the list because they sound like something we’d love to attend as a family, not that we have visited them and have first-hand knowledge. It’s also not a paid list, or any attempt to spread things out evenly around the province or by type of event. These are the ones that call to us, that we think will interest other families. Explore and let us know what you think – and what events you would add to the list!)
McAdam Railway Days (June 29-July 1): Visiting McAdam and exploring its railway past has been on my to-do list since moving to this province. Perhaps this is the time to make that happen!
New River Beach Sand Sculpture Competition (July 7): I’m constantly drawn in by the amazing photos I see of New River Beach – and who can pass up a sand sculpture competition?! Can’t make this one? Check out Le Goulet Sand Castle Festival in August. (Grab a copy of Robert Munsch’s book to read en route with the kids!)
Festival Western de Saint-Quentin (July 3-8): Did you know that Canada’s third largest Western festival happens here in New Brunswick? If the kids want to see a real rodeo, this is the place to be! (If this is up your alley, you might also check out the international lumberjack competition happening later in July.)
National French Fry Day (July 13): Another visit and event that’s been on my ‘need to visit since I moved here’ list, a trip to Florenceville to celebrate the mighty potato!
Buskers on the Bay (July 18-22): Busker festivals are SO much more than what you might think by the humble name. These aren’t amateur musicians; these are international artists who know how to wow a crowd in the most peculiar ways!
Summer Splash (July 18-22): This one jumps out to me for the swim across Chaleur Bay, something my husband would enjoy, as well as the laid back feel – and I’m fascinated by the scenery in this part of the province!
Richibucto Scallop Festival (July 18-22): Watching fireworks over the water gets me everytime!
Adrenaline Bike Festival (July 20-22): For the family that loves to bike, this sounds like the perfect weekend adventure!
Festival acadian de Caraquet (Aug 3-15): Hey, if it’s good enough for the Prime Minister to attend, it’s got to be good enough to check out! (Honestly, it looks like SO much fun!)
Chocolate Fest (Aug 4-11): Again, making a trip to St. Stephen to explore the history – and umminess! – of all that is chocolately and Ganong has been on my list of things I should do for years. Can you really live in New Brunswick without loving chocolate?
Larlee Creek Hullabaloo (Aug 8-12): Honestly, I just LOVE the name so much I had to include it!
There you have it, the list of summer festivals & events our family would love to attend – if we were magical beings who could make it to all of them in one season! Let us know if you do make it to any of these; we’d love to hear your review!