Community Events & Festivals
Kingston hosts many festivals and special events throughout the year that are popular with local residents and attract visitors from other communities. Activities range from community fun runs and triathlons to festivals that stretch over several days and numerous locations.
Every year, Kingston celebrates its role as the first capital city of Canada with a First Capital Day festival of special events and activities. Another popular event, especially with families, is the annual Kingston Buskers Rendezvous, featuring jugglers, acrobats, musicians, magicians and other performers who take to the downtown streets for four days in early July.
Examples of other festivals and events in Kingston include:
- Limestone City Blues Festival: A four-day summer festival featuring the best blues performers.
- Kingston Sheep Dog Trials: A three-day summer competition involving North American dog handlers and their sheep-herding dogs. The largest event of its kind in Canada, it is also consistently ranked one of Ontario’s top 100 events.
- Kingston Dragon Boat Festival: A one-day festival and fundraiser for a local organization, boat teams compete in a series of races.
- Art After Dark: Held twice a year, this evening event highlights the variety of art and media (painting, glass, pottery, sculpture, etc.) to be found in Kingston’s many downtown galleries.
- Febfest: A five-day winter festival featuring hockey tournaments, free public skating, figure skating demonstrations and food.
- Festival de la Francophonie: An annual celebration of Francophone culture.
- Kiwanis Music Festival: A three-week non-competitive music festival in which amateur musicians of all ages perform for professional adjudicators.
- Kingston Canadian Film Festival: A four-day festival celebrating Canadian film and filmmakers.
- Kingston WritersFest: A multi-day literary event featuring writers from across Canada hosting workshops and panels for book lovers and aspiring authors.
- Reelout: A week-long event featuring the best queer films and videos.
- Leisure Showcase: Community organizations get together under one roof twice a year to demonstrate the different ways people can get fit, have fun and be active.
- Canadian Olympic Training Regatta (CORK): A week-long international sailing regatta held every year at Portsmouth Olympic Harbour.
- Multicultural Arts Festival: An annual celebration of Kingston’s diverse cultures, this family friendly event showcases the food, music, dance and crafts of the various groups and people who call Kingston home.
- Princess St. Promenade: Kingston’s main street is closed to traffic and open to pedestrians only during this annual day of on-street activities and entertainment.
- Culture Days: An annual three-day celebration held each September in cities across Canada, where artists and cultural organizations showcase free interactive and behind the scenes activities that change from year to year.
- Franco-foire: An annual fall French language services fair hosted by Association canadienne-française de l'Ontario — Conseil régional des Mille-Îles (ACFOMI).
- K-Town Countdown: Hosted by the City, this free, family-oriented New Year’s celebration is held in Kingston’s historic downtown and features horse-drawn wagon rides, skating, a variety of indoor and outdoor activities, live entertainment, and for the grand finale — fireworks.
Information about the special events and festivals in Kingston is available from the City of Kingston, Kingston Economic Development Corporation and Downtown Kingston! Websites (see For More Information links below).
See also the Community Calendars and the Canadian Holidays pages of the site.
For More Information
City of Kingston Events Calendar
A list of special events hosted by the city of Kingston. Includes date, time, location and a brief description. Also lists City council and committee meetings.
Calendar of Events — Tourism Kingston
A directory of festivals and events in Kingston, including dates, a brief description, and resource links. Also includes separate listings of winter and summer festivities, as well as details on shopping and dining options.
Kiwanis Music Festival, Kingston
An annual music festival in which performers of all ages are judged by adjudicators. Categories include piano, voice, wind, strings, ensembles, choirs, band, guitar, speech arts and drama, and folk singing.
A Canada-wide movement to raise awareness, accessibility, participation and engagement of all Canadians in the arts and cultural life of their communities. Events and activities take place annually over the last week of September. Find out what will be happening in Kingston!
An annual event to encourage and promote cycling as a viable and environmentally friendly transportation option for commuting within Kingston. Featuring the famous “roll-in breakfasts,” events highlighting the joys and health benefits of cycling occur throughout the week and wrap up with closing ceremonies.
Kingston Multicultural Arts Festival
A yearly event hosted every fall by the Kingston Immigration Partnership’s (KIP’s) Multicultural Roundtable
. The event features live music, dance groups, vendors, food, workshops, and demonstrations from around the world. Entertainment and fun activities for the whole family. There are also opportunities to volunteer.
Downtown Kingston! — Events Calendar
A calendar of major festivals and celebrations as well as community events held in downtown Kingston. Includes anything from street performing, live music, and food tasting, to sailing and boat competitions, and fireworks. This site also includes links to the event calendars for the K-Rock Centre and the Grand Theatre.
KCHC Local Calendar of Events
Find out what’s happening locally on the Kingston Community Health Centre (KCHC) calendar. Includes Immigrant Services Kingston and Area (ISKA) and Kingston Immigration Partnership (KIP) events.
Information on this annual, multiday festival. Writers, readers, and aspiring authors of all ages and from across Canada converge to attend panels and workshops is about all things literary. Events are hosted by leading authors and held in multiple Kingston venues.
Hosted by ACFOMI every October, this annual French-language services fair brings together local Kingston and area businesses and organizations that provide services and products geared to the Francophone community. Admission is free to the public and there are activities for the whole family. Available in French only.