by Alex Kinsella | July 2023
Just because it’s August, it doesn’t mean the summer is over. This month in Waterloo Region features events for everyone, from the world-famous Kitchener Blues Fest to the international mix of buskers at the Uptown Waterloo Buskers Carnival. Waterloo Region is also the place to be for farm fresh meats, cheeses, fruits, and vegetables at one of our amazing farmer’s markets. Check out our farmer’s market blog post for a complete list.
Here’s our list of great events to check out this August in Waterloo Region!
Things to do in August
Music in the Market | August 2, 9, 16, 23, and 30
The Kitchener Market is the place for incredible live music and delicious treats every Wednesday in August. Explore Turkish cuisine, inspired empanadas, and more while listening to local live music from 5 to 9 p.m.
Farmyard Fables | Every Tuesday and Thursday
The St. Jacobs Farmers Market invites you and your kids to meet new farmyard friends and enjoy a farm-based fable at the Market. Come out and laugh and learn with Bella and Buddy the pigs, Rosie the Holstein cow, and more farmyard friends.
Beers & Bands in the Gaslight District | August 4, 11, 18 and 25
Spend your Friday nights in Waterloo Region’s newest outdoor public space — The Gaslight District. The Foundry Tavern hosts Beers & Bands, a free happy hour with great live music and tasty craft beers.
BTC 21 Fight Night at The Aud | August 5
Professional mixed martial arts action takes over The Aud when BTC returns for another evening of Ontario’s best professional martial artists. BTC 21’s top event is a welterweight championship bout between Jesse Ronson and Ricardo Chavez.
Rusty Nail Comedy | August 5
Toronto’s own Nitish Sakhuja headlines the Rusty Nail Comedy show at the Crazy Canuck in Downtown Kitchener. Sakhuja has performed across Canada, including Just For Laughs 42. Insider tip: Grab a light night cocktail at the Lokal Lounge inside the Walper Hotel after the show.
Kitchener Panthers Vs. Welland Jackfish | August 6
Grab your peanuts and Cracker Jacks at Jack Couch Park as the Kitchener Panthers take on the Welland Jackfish at 2 p.m.
Kitchener Blues Fest Kickoff Concert featuring the Spin Doctors | August 10
The Spin Doctors are kicking off the 2023 Kitchener Blues Fest on Thursday, August 10. Get your 90s groove on with their hits like “Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong” and “Two Princes.” Doors open at 5 p.m. at the OLG Clock Tower stage in Victoria Park, with opening act Digging Roots starting the show at 7 p.m.
Cambridge Ribfest & Craft Beer Show | August 11-13
Celebrate the BEST summer has to offer! Enjoy mouth-watering barbequed ribs and chicken, an incredible selection of Ontario craft-brewed beer, plus live entertainment and a Kids Fun Zone – all in the atmosphere of lovely Riverside Park.
The Night Market | August 11
Kitchener-based artist, My Pet Skeleton, hosts The Night Market at the new Gaukel Block in Downtown Kitchener. The market features a collection of over 20 peculiar artists and vendors showcasing their beautifully eccentric creations.
Mighty Trucks | August 12
Get up close with some mighty trucks and vehicles at the Ken Seiling Waterloo Region Museum. The event features a fire truck, ambulance, the Wilmot Heritage Fire Brigades’ horse-drawn hand pumper, and more.
Live at the Yeti | August 13
Known for its quirky sandwiches — like the Terry Pender (grilled cheese with cheddar, sliced apple, bacon & maple syrup on 7-grain bread) — the Yeti Cafe is a great spot for lunch. It’s also one of Kitchener’s best late-night music venues. On Sunday, August 13, The Yeti has Perfect Strangers, The Jailbirds, and Drop Top Alibi live on stage at 8 p.m.
Melón Jimenez & Lara Wong Flamenco-jazz Trio at the Jazz Room | August 13
Get whisked away to Spain at the Jazz Room as award-winning Canadian flutist and bansuri player Lara Wong and one of Spain’s top flamenco guitarists, Melón Jiménez, and French percussionist Alex Carrasco create an enchanting experience that transcends musical boundaries. Insider tip: While not traditional Spanish fare, Ethel’s Lounge serves a delicious spicy stuffed pepper dish called Rajah. It’s the perfect dish to go along with the Indian and Arab-inspired Flamenco music.
Waterhill Farm Summer Series | August 16
Enjoy some delicious alcohol-free beer, wine, and spirits at the Waterhill Farm Summer Series. For this month’s event, the farm has partnered with Dog Friendly KW for a special Dog Days of Summer theme. Your $35 ticket gets your two beverages, with all proceeds supporting KidsAbility.
Alice in Wonderland at The Registry Theatre | August 18, 19, and 20
Take a trip down the rabbit hole with Playful Fox Production’s Alice in Wonderland at The Registry Theatre in Downtown Kitchener. Everyone in your family will fall in love again with this classic tale featuring the White Rabbit, the Cheshire Cat, the Caterpillar, the Hatter, and of course, the short-tempered maniacal Queen of Hearts.
Pinch Cabaret #21 | August 19
Pinch Cabaret is Waterloo’s best variety show featuring juggling, music, comedy, poetry, performance art, and more. Host Ben Gorodetsky brings performers from across North America to Button Factory Arts in Waterloo for an evening of laughter you won’t soon forget.
Twenties Tea and Tour | August 19
Head back 100 years in time to enjoy the sights and delights of a 1920s garden party at Castle Kilbride in Baden. Tour the Castle with a costumed guide and enjoy tea and sweets on the front lawn.
Moparfest | August 19 and 20
Canada’s Largest all Mopar Car Show returns to New Hamburg. It’s a two-day celebration of all things Mopar, including a swap meet, prizes, food vendors, games, and more. The New Hamburg Optimist Club has a raffle for a 2022 Jeep Trailhawk, and the festival includes a special appearance by Tom Sarmento, the lead mechanic from the Dukes of Hazzard!
North Dumfries CHC Community Picnic | August 22
The North Dumfries Community Health Centre’s annual picnic is an afternoon of family fun. The picnic features a BBQ, a bouncy castle, games, and more — and admission is only $1 per person.
Sun Life Waterloo Busker Carnival | August 24 – 27
The streets of Uptown Waterloo come alive when dozens of international buskers come to town for the 35th annual Sun Life Waterloo Busker Carnival. The three-day festival features roaming buskers, a fun-for-the-family Vaudeville show, and a circus workshop where you can learn everything from juggling to stilt walking. Insider tip: Get the complete carnival experience with some delicious snacking along King St. Grab a giant banana split at Four All Ice Cream, try some unique edible cookie dough like Rainbow Pony Show at the Crumby Cookie Dough Company, or enjoy a Korean-inspired Black Sesame ice cream at The Bingsu.
Sunset Sessions Live Music | August 25
Grab a blanket and some takeout and head to Vogelsang Green for another fantastic outdoor concert from Good Co. Productions. This free concert is a great way to meet new friends as you enjoy a sunset concert.
Mutts on Main | August 26
Explore Downtown Galt in historic Cambridge with Dog Friendly KW. This pup-approved block party is a great chance to discover new favourites in Cambridge and see where some of your favourite shows, like The Queen’s Gambit and The Handmaid’s Tale, are filmed.
The Runway | August 31
Waterloo is famous with runners for the Waterloo 10K Classic held every June. But if you’re tired of running on the road, how about racing down a runway? The Run Waterloo Runway is your chance to race 3.2km on the tarmac at the Waterloo Region International Airport. While you won’t be racing an Airbus a320, you will get the chance to run or walk alongside some new friends as you experience a race like no other.
Weekend Getaway Blues – an Itinerary
We mentioned the 2023 TD Kitchener Blues Festival kickoff concert featuring The Spin Doctors — but that’s just the start of the four-day festival of the best in blues music (and, it’s the only ticketed event too – the rest of the performances throughout the weekend are free!). That makes it the perfect reason to turn this year’s Blues Fest into a getaway weekend in Waterloo Region!
Book a room at one of our excellent hotels in Kitchener, Waterloo, or the St. Jacobs Market District to rest between sets. If you’re coming from Toronto, consider taking the GO or Via Rail into Kitchener and explore Waterloo Region by foot or on an e-bike or scooter from Nueron.
We asked longtime Kitchener resident and unofficial Blues Fest expert Tim Exton for his Kitchener Blues Fest tips to make the most out of your weekend.
“The 12 Bar Blues performances start after the main shows end for the day, and are great ways to experience music at local bars. Every year is different, but they often feature great local acts like Ginger St. James, Sean Pinchin, and Ben Rollo,” Exton said.
You can find live music at participating 12 Bar Blues venues, including Bobby O’Briens, Crabby Joe’s, TWH Social, and The Rich Uncle Tavern. Exton’s favourite bar to visit during the Kitchener Blues Fest is Sugar Run Rum Bar (33 Queen St., Kitchener). The bar is in the building’s basement, but they open a lighted patio for Blues Fest. He also said the workshops on Saturday are fantastic but fill up quickly.
When it comes to main stage shows, he says every act is world-class, but if you had to pick one, he recommends catching Mr. Sipp at the Europro Stage on Saturday at 9:30 p.m.