Whether it’s a fundraising initiative, signature festival or celebration, there’s always something happening in the Wood Buffalo region to capture its unique Northern Alberta culture. And because the region offers world-class facilities, skilled event planners and masters of the culinary arts, many of the local events have merited success and created high anticipation to keep bringing guests back each year.
The Wood Buffalo Region’s Signature Events:
August 11, 2018
Held annually by the Anzac Recreation & Social Society, the two-day summer event offers multiple family-friendly activities for everyone living in the Wood Buffalo region. The traditional horseshoe and crib tournament, as well as the community dance, are just a few fun recreational opportunities for guests to enjoy during the festival in Anzac. Learn more on the Anzac Recreation & Social Society’s Facebook page.
More August Events: The HUB Family Resource Centre’s Teddy Bear Picnic – August 15, 2018 and Oil Sands Strongman Classic (TBA).
Fort McMurray Marathon
September 16, 2018
The Fort McMurray Half Marathon returns in 2018 as a full marathon for the first time. Held annually at MacDonald Island, the marathon invites runners of all levels and ages to challenge themselves. It’s a day of outdoor, fitness fun and includes races of 44.2 km, 21.1 km, 10 km, 5 km and 3 km, as well as a kid’s fun run. Learn more at fortmcmurraymarathon.ca
Alberta Culture Days
September 28, 29 & 30, 2018
Culture Days is a three-day long, annual collaborative pan-Canadian volunteer movement. It’s held province-wide to raise the awareness, accessibility, participation and engagement of all Canadians in the arts and cultural life of their communities. First initiated in Calgary in 2008, the tenth annual Culture Days will be celebrated by thousands of Albertans throughout the province in a wide-range of localized art and culture events. Learn more at culturedays.ca
More September Events: Empty Bowls Festival – September 9, 2018, Fort McMurray Tourism Fall Show & Market – September 21 to 23, 2018, Wine Auction – September 22, 2018, BBBS Rubber Duck Race (TBA), Girls Inc. Zombie Run (TBA) and Regional Emergency Services Pancake Breakfast & Open House (TBA).
FMSPCA Masquerade Ball
October 27, 2018
Celebrating its third year, Fort McMurray SPCA’s annual Masquerade Ball fundraiser is coming back to the Shell Place Grand Ballroom. The dress-up dance event treats guests to an evening of entertainment, along with a live and silent auction to raise funding for the local, responsive animal welfare organization. Learn more at fmspca.ca
More October Events: Anti-Bullying Variety Show (TBA), Fort McMurray Boys & Girls Club Chateau Boo & Junior Boo (TBA), Wood Buffalo Brew Co. Whiskey Auction (TBA), igNIGHT (TBA), Oilsands Banquet (TBA).
Festival of Trees
November 2018 (TBA)
The three-day festival is held in November and is the Northern Lights Health Foundation’s largest fundraising initiative. Events like the Ladies Holiday Luncheon, Ugly Christmas Sweater Party, Festival Gala, Christmas Family Fun with Santa, Santa’s Workshop and the Daddy Daughter Sugar Plum Fairy Ball bring everyone in the community together to celebrate the holiday season. Learn more at northernlightshealthfoundation.ca
Old Fashioned Christmas
November 2018 (TBA)
The annual Old Fashioned Christmas is one of Fort McMurray’s favourite festival celebrations at Heritage Park. With outdoor skating, carolling, live entertainment, hot drinks and treats of maple syrup, the traditional event takes guest back in time to get guest in the festive mood. Santa and Mrs. Claus always stop in to make an appearance. Learn more at fortmcmurrayheritage.com
More November Events: Fort McMurray International Film Festival (TBA), Centre of Hope’s 13th Annual KD Gala (TBA) and Christmas Bazaar & Bake Sale (TBA).
Santa Claus Parade & Activities
December 1, 2018
The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo’s annual Santa Claus Parade features dozens of floats representing the region’s businesses, social profits and its residents each year. With millions of lights showcased on the Christmas-themed parade, the event brightens up the downtown core on Franklin Avenue for the thousands of annual spectators Learn more at www.rmwb.ca/santa
Oil Barons 3-on-3 Hockey Challenge
December 28 to 30, 2018
The Oil Barons 3-on-3 Hockey Challenge invites local hockey players from all divisions to take part in a holiday tournament at the Suncor Community Leisure Centre at MacDonald Island Park. The event also brings in the local AHL players to meet with guests, take part in a skills competition and sign autographs. Registration is now open for the 2018 event. Learn more at macdonaldisland.ca
More December Events: Elders Christmas Celebration (TBA), Oil Barons Teddy Bear Toss (TBA) and the 24th Annual Community Christmas Day Dinner – December 25, 2018.
Malanka Ukrainian New Year
January 2019 (TBA)
Hosted by the Fort McMurray Ukrainian Cultural Society, the annual Malanka celebration hosts hundreds in Fort McMurray to a gala-themed evening full of culture. The local Ukrainian new year event entertains the crowd with the colourful and lively dancers from the Avora Dance Club and a feast including traditional perogies and cabbage rolls. Learn more of the Fort McMurray Avrora Ukrainian Dance Club on Facebook.
More January Events: Mayor and Council Toast of Champions (TBA).
February 2019 (TBA)
Thousands of festival-goers take over Snye Park to embrace the winter season with a free local community event. Featuring sports, arts and outdoor activities, plus world-class ice sculptures for residents to admire. Residents also take part in the Shootout on the Snye pond hockey challenge. Learn more at rmwb.ca
More February Events: World Hijab Day, Black History Month and the Regional Aboriginal Recognition Awards.
Sno-Drifters Poker Rally
March 2019 (TBA)
Hosted by the McMurray Sno-Drifters Snowmobile Association, the Poker Rally brings outdoor enthusiasts into Fort McMurray’s backcountry. With two trails to choose from, it’s a great way for locals and tourists to experience the beauty of the Boreal forest. Learn more at snodrifters.ca
More March Events: Mullets for Music and Wood Buffalo Regional Library’s Center Stage.
FMFD Annual Rooftop Campout
April 2019 (TBA)
The Fort McMurray Fire Department’s Rooftop Campout is a community fundraising initiative that takes local firefighters camping on top of a roof for the course of 100 hours. Held above the Tim Hortons restaurant in Timberlea, members of the Fort McMurray Firefighters Charities Association raise money for local social profit organizations Learn more on the Fort McMurray Firefighters Association’s page on Facebook.
More April Events: Timeraiser (TBA), Northern Lights Health Foundation’s Spring Fling (TBA), Wood Buffalo Regional Science Fair (TBA), the Multicultural Association of Wood Buffalo’s Block Party and Volunteer Manager Appreciation Reception.
May 2019 (TBA)
The McMurray Métis Festival highlights rich culture and history of the Métis people of Local #1935 from the Wood Buffalo Region. The event highlights cultural entertainment with traditional dancing, a crib tournament, crafts and an abundance of family-friendly activities. Guests are also treated to Métis cuisine, including bannock – a festival favourite. Learn more at mcmurraymetis.org
More May Events: Fort McMurray Urban Market (TBA), the Heart of Wood Buffalo Awards (TBA) and Hope in the Dark (TBA).
Fort City Car Show
June 16, 2019
First launched in 2011, the Fort City Car Show is a Father’s Day event for the entire community. Each year, a unique collection of vehicles is showcased for residents to check out. With trophies and prizes award to the best in the show, guests also enjoy a community bbq and children activities.
Learn more at fortcitycarshow.com
More June Events: Hues for Humanity Colour Run (TBA), Seniors Month Celebrations (TBA), Puttin’ on the Ritz Gala (TBA), Diner en Blanc (TBA), Women of Inspiration Celebration (TBA) and Telus Motorcycle Ride for Dad (TBA).
Canada Day Celebrations
July 1, 2019
The Canada Day celebrations begin each year with the Multicultural Association of Wood Buffalo’s popular pancake breakfast, following with the traditional parade along Franklin Avenue. Several free events are held throughout the day at Heritage Village and Shipyard, as well as with a list of family activities and entertainment at MacDonald Island Park. The evening ends on the Island with live bands and the Canada Day fireworks display. Learn more at rmwb.ca
2019 Fort McMurray Food Festival
July 24-28, 2019
First launched in 2017, the Fort McMurray Food Festival is a great opportunity to soak up some summer fun! Enjoy four days of culinary and entertainment events that embody the best of what Wood Buffalo has to offer foodies, entertainment lovers, and those seeking a great summer festival experience with events targeted for all ages.
More July Events: Fort McMurray’s Largest Outdoor Yoga Class (TBA).