Can you believe it’s May already? Winter seemed so long and then poof! Suddenly it’s spring. But spring doesn’t last long in Calgary, and the unofficial start to the summer season: the May long weekend is quickly upon us. Do you have plans for the long weekend? Here are 4 spots to consider within easy striking distance of Calgary.
Little Britches Weekend in High River
If I’m not travelling, this is where you’ll find me. My hometown puts on the best festival every May long weekend, and it kicks off with the Little Britches Parade on Saturday, May 20 at 10 a.m. It’s one of those sweet small town parades, where candy gets tossed off the floats and there are tons of marching bands playing Disney theme songs, as they side step the road apples.
But there’s more to Little Britches than the parade. After the last float has gone by, make a beeline for the Highwood Memorial Centre for a Cultural Taste of High River and sample dishes from around the world. You’ll also want to head into George Lane Park, one of my favourite green spaces filled will stately trees, a lovely outdoor playground and on Saturday, the battle of the show bands.
Music flows throughout the weekend, with musicians and food trucks dotted throughout the downtown area. Of course there’s the Little Britches Rodeo, a children’s rodeo with events like goat tying and sheep riding! Cap off your weekend with a visit to the Hitchin’ Post and the historic Wales Theatre.
May Long Weekend at Sunshine Village
After hitting Little Britches on Saturday, we make our way to Sunshine Village on Sunday. Monday is Slush cup, but all weekend long there are crazy fun things happening. Saturday and Sunday you can ski and sip champagne during Veuve in the Snow (check out my previous experience). They’ve got that champagne ice bar running every weekend until closing, actually. Live bands perform all weekend long and there’s plenty of ski-over-a-pool-of-water events taking places before Monday’s big slushy event.
Three Hour Drive Away: Invermere
Say you want guaranteed warm weather. Bypass Banff and situate yourself in the Columbia Valley. It’s awesome here because it truly feels like summer (even when it’s spring in Calgary). The golf courses are open, the hiking trials are usually dry (try Fairmont’s Hoodoo trail), and there’s such a good mix of accommodation.
I’ve got my eye on Copper Point Resort, which many friends have raved about. It’s got this fantastic outdoor pool (an indoor one, too!) and an outdoor sport court for ball hockey and other games. If you like to shop, be sure to check out the Artisan Market taking place May 20 and 21 at the Invermere Community Hall.
Quick Flight: Vernon
If you like it hot, Vernon is definitely for you! This Okanagan town is tops for families, free spirits and well, pretty much everyone. I find Vernon less crowded than Kelowna and if you’re driving it’s about an hour closer to Calgary. Or you could fly into Kelowna. Whatever you decide, you’re spoiled for choice with three (warm!) lakes wrapping around the town and plenty of vineyards to explore.
Golfers know Predator Ridge Resort, but my friend Melissa of Family Fun Canada held an amazing girl’s weekend here and says it’s awesome for families, too. Anyway, May long is the grand opening of their new walking trails. Nearby Sparkling Hill Resort is also pretty divine. The entire hotel is decked out in thousands of Swarovski crystals! Their spa has this cryotherapy chamber, which is essentially a freezing sauna. Bizarrely, an article I wrote about it ended up on Huff Po.
Back to May long festivities around Vernon, Davison Orchards has their Spring Blossom Festival, which is really beautiful. It’s awesome to eat here on their cafe patio and there are too many kiddie attractions to count. Families with young kids must visit here and O’Keefe Ranch, too. Like Canada, the ranch is celebrating its 150th. Besides touring the historic site, they’ve got horseback riding and loads of farm critters to make friends with.
What are your plans for the May long weekend? Do you have an annual tradition?