Nova Scotia annually hosts some 600 festivals and, at first glance, you'd think 599 were devoted to food. June's Shelburne County Lobster Festival and July's Lobster Carnival in Pictou are followed by a Seafest in Yarmouth that celebrates all things fishy. Not to be outdone, Digby turns the spotlight on scallops in August. The farm-filled Annapolis Valley brackets the fishing season by offering an Apple Blossom Festival in May and Pumpkin Fest in October. Many other events, however, highlight the diversity of the Nova Scotian people. In June, a multicultural festival on the Halifax waterfront showcases more than two dozen ethno-cultural groups. Antigonish honors its Scottish heritage with the Highland Games in July, and there is a rollicking Acadian fête in Clare each August. Halifax focuses on a different type of diversity during its mid-summer LGBT Pride Week.
Music lovers have several festivals to choose from.
The nine-day Celtic Colours International Festival, in Cape Breton, spans the first and second weekends in October, and showcases the very best Celtic musicians and dancers, while fall colors are at their peak. International artists and homegrown talent shine in performances staged in more than three dozen island communities. Ticket prices range from C$20 to C$90. Workshops and seminars covering all aspects of Gaelic language, lore, history, crafts, and culture complement the joyful noise. 902/562-6700, 877/285-2321. www.celtic-colours.com.
The Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo, generally considered the city's signature event, is a celebration of military instruments (brass and drums) and military-inspired music that runs the first week of July. The extravaganza features 1,700-plus performers from around the globe. Metro Centre, 1800 Argyle St., NS, B3J 3N8. 902/420-1114 or 800/563-1114. www.nstattoo.ca. C$34-$70.
The internationally acclaimed Scotia Festival of Music presents classical musicians via concert and master classes each June. 902/429-9467. www.scotiafestival.ns.ca.
The TD Halifax Jazz Festival, with an eclectic selection of jazz styles, takes place in mid-July. Some concerts are free. 902/492-2225. www.jazzeast.com.
Prefer more traditional tunes? Lunenburg and Wolfville stage folksy festivals in August and September, respectively. In October, Cape Breton pulls out the fiddles and pipes during the Celtic Colors International Festival, and the capital counters with the Halifax Pop Explosion.
Shoppers will enjoy the Lunenburg Folk Art Festival (www.nsfolkartfestival.com), in late July or early August.
The Halifax International Busker Festival has been bringing street performers to the waterfront area for more than two decades. It's an 11-day event that takes place every August and includes more than 50 acts and events for all ages. 902/422-9262. www.buskers.ca.
The first week of September, the Atlantic Fringe Festival presents numerous theatrical shows in a variety of venues downtown. 902/435-4837. www.atlanticfringe.ca.
Eastern Canada also has a burgeoning film industry, the product of which is presented at the Atlantic Film Festival during the third week in September. Admission to films often includes entry to a party or gala event following the screening. 902/422-3456. www.atlanticfilm.com.
Knowing a good thing when they see it, townspeople honor the magnificent mollusk during Digby Scallop Days, a five-day festival in early August replete with parades, fireworks, and food. www.digbyscallopdays.com.
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