Canmore International Improv Festival
About an hour and 20 minutes west of Airdrie by car, the beautiful mountain town of Canmore is home to the Canmore Improv Festival. This second annual event, with an expanded lineup of 10 shows in 2018, features an international cast of A-list performers sure to entertain. Children’s programming has also been added this year, making the festival something everyone in the family can enjoy. Festival tickets are available through the event venue. Visit artsplacecanmore.com
Just a 25-minute drive southwest of Airdrie, where Highway 1A and 22 meet and everything begins. Cochrane offers spectacular vistas of the rolling foothills, a recreation playground for families and adventure enthusiasts and for those seeking rest and relaxation, the serenity of the valley. Enjoy a variety of activities in the area, including biking, golf, horseback riding, paintball, skateboarding and white-water rafting. Spend a day in historic downtown and enjoy boutique shopping, art galleries, fabulous restaurants, the monthly street market and world-famous ice cream at MacKay’s. Do a little sampling at the town’s distillery and the brewery. Book a hiking or photography tour to experience the natural beauty of the area or learn about Cochrane on the new historical walking tour. The Cochrane Farmers’ Market is a popular Saturday morning destination. Make sure to visit the Cochrane Historical Museum to see this year’s prior-1950s toy exhibit. Other summer events include the Canada Day Community Festival, Vikings from The Shetland Islands, Cochrane Fair, Prairie Girls Vintage Market, Cochrane Classic Car Show and the Outhouse Races. Rodeo events include Extreme Cowboy, Cochrane Classic Bull riding and the 52nd Annual Cochrane Lions Labour Day Rodeo.
Small-town charm awaits in Crossfield, just a 15-minute drive north of Airdrie. In honour of legendary 20th century bronc rider Pete Knight, who first rode in the Crossfield Rodeo in 1918, the town proudly hosts the annual Pete Knight Days each June. The celebration features a rodeo, dances, demolition derby, parade, fireworks and more.
While in Crossfield, be sure to stop in at the Crossfield Farmers Market, celebrating its 43rd year in 2018. The market runs every Thursday, June through September, outdoors at the Crossfield Community Centre parking lot (900 Mountain Ave.) from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m. Find the best in local produce, baked goods, handmade arts and crafts and more, plus assorted weekly entertainment and demos. Crossfield Farmers Market is an Alberta Approved Farmers Market with make it, bake it or grow it vendors. Also watch for the spring market in April at the Crossfield Community Centre 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and the Canada Day market June 28 in 2018. The Christmas Market is held the first Saturday of November (Nov. 3 in 2018) at the Crossfield Community Hall, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; admission is free, food bank donations are accepted. Check Facebook for more information and other events happening at the market.
Looking for a unique shopping experience? Be sure to stop by Canada’s largest western store, Irvine Tack & Trailers. This family-owned-and-operated shopping destination located near Crossfield, east of Highway 2, offers an 85,000-square-foot warehouse with western clothing, jewelry, decor, tack, rodeo gear, ranch supplies and more. With tons of inventory – such as more than 1,500 saddles in stock at any given time plus a huge supply of in-stock boots for the whole family – Irvine’s doesn’t disappoint. Ask about shipping arrangements if you can’t take your purchase with you. Open 364 days a year (closed Christmas Day).
Pioneer Acres (Irricana)
Discover what life was like 100+ years ago at this family friendly museum located just 20 minutes east of Airdrie, where volunteers work hard to collect, restore, maintain and demonstrate the artifacts once used by the pioneers of early Alberta. With 50 acres of land and more than a dozen buildings to explore with unique exhibits and artifacts from our pioneering era, there is always much to do at Pioneer Acres. Discover how many of the conveniences we take for granted today simply didn’t exist in the early 1900s. Learn about the tractors, tools and machinery used during the early days of farming in the area, and explore the displays of antique trucks, furniture and gas pumps, as well as the working grain cleaner, 1905 schoolhouse, blacksmith and wheelwrights shop. Enjoy dioramas on the family life of early settlers, including a fully equipped kitchen, a music room and a well-stocked General Store.
Feature 2018 events, such as the Spring Tractor Pull (May 26) and Steam and Stationary Engines (Sept. 8-9), highlight one or more areas of the museum.
Pioneer Acres’ main event of the year is the Annual Show and Reunion (Aug. 10-12 in 2018), which has virtually every piece of museum equipment running, and many outside exhibitors bringing displays, equipment, crafts and more. The 2018 show will feature Allis-Chalmers and Rumely Tractors and Equipment.
Please visit the website for more details closer to the event.
In 2018, the museum is open Thursdays through Mondays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 17 through Sept. 30 (closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays). Admission is by cash only; no debit or credit cards are accepted.
Tamarack Jack’s Honey and Meadery
Located in Clearwater County near the village of Caroline, about an hour and 30 minutes from Airdrie, Tamarack Jack’s buzzes with activity and excitement. The meadery uses its own raw honey to put a new-world spin on an ancient recipe, producing a unique lineup of light and refreshing meads sure to please. Stop by for a tour (please make arrangements in advance) and also enjoy a variety of natural products, including bee pollen, raw honey, beeswax and natural products.
Your Local Ranch
Since 1909, six generations of the Hanson family have raised cattle in Alberta. Today, the family continues the tradition. Their business, Your Local Ranch, raises cattle the natural way to produce wholesome beef. Visit their Airdrie farm and see the livestock, learn about the ranch history and stop by the onsite store to select from a variety of beef products. The farm is open to the public Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays; it’s best to call in advance to arrange for a tour.