Things to Do in Waterloo Region in June 

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…plus a Road Trip itinerary to celebrates Black Excellence in Waterloo Region!

by Alex Kinsella | April 2024

It’s June (yes, we’re shocked, too), and we have events to celebrate Pride and National Indigenous Peoples Day. Read on to learn more about these and other unique events to check out this June across Waterloo Region! 

The Gaslight District Summer Market | June 2, 9, 16, and 23 

Summer is for shopping! Explore The Gaslight District Square every Sunday in June to discover local vendors, artisans, and small shops. A different rotation of vendors will be on hand each week, and no two weeks will be the same. 

Kitchener Panthers Baseball | June 2, 6, 13, 23, and 27 

Jack Couch Park in Kitchener comes alive with cheering and home runs as the Kitchener Panthers take the field this June. This month, you can catch home games with the visiting Welland Jackfish, London Majors, Toronto Maple Leafs, Guelph Royals, and the Chatham-Kent Barnstormers. 

Grand River Pride Open Mic and Karaoke Night | June 4 

Join Grand River Pride at Farm League Brewing for a fabulous celebration of love and diversity at their Pride Open Mic & Karaoke Night. The evening kicks off with an open mic session followed by a chance to sing your heart out during karaoke.
Pro tip: Grand River Pride serves the queer community in Cambridge and across Waterloo Region. Check out their full lineup for Cambridge Pride Week, running June 1–8.  

Kitchener-Waterloo Little Theatre presents Firebringer | June 6–8, 13–15, and 20–22 

At the dawn of civilization, one girl had a bright idea. The Kitchener-Waterloo Little Theatre presents Firebring, a comedy musical set in prehistoric times. It tells the story of a group of early humans discovering fire, leading to chaos and hilarity as they navigate this groundbreaking innovation.  

Elmire Wagon & Walking Tour | June 6, 13, 20, and 27 

Two tours are better than one! Join Stroll Walking Tour and Elmira Wagon Tours for a wagon tour in the morning and a walking tour in the afternoon. The guided wagon tour winds through Martin’s Family Fruit Farm and orchard, past a Mennonite school and rural Mennonite farms. The guided walking tour of Historic St. Jacobs will tell the tales of a town that blends the modern and traditional but always stays connected to its roots. 

Together in Pride Ride | June 7 

Join the City of Kitchener, Spectrum, and OK2BME for the Together in Pride Ride on June 7. The ride is being organized to celebrate Pride Month and bring attention to the 2SLGBTQIA+ community across Waterloo Region. There will be prizes for the best Pride-themed bike decorations or clothing! 

Buns Gone Bad with Author Anna Humphrey | June 8 

Join Waterloo Public Library and Words Worth Books for a book reading with children’s author Anna Humphrey. Anna is launching her new graphic novel series, Buns Gone Bad, and is the author of the wildly popular Mega Bat Series for young readers. 

Cambridge Mill Race | June 9 

Crossing the finish line in a race is one of the best feelings in the world. What could be better? How about crossing the finish line and sitting down for a delicious lunch at The Cambridge Mill? That’s precisely what’s in store at The Cambridge Mill Race on June 9. The race offers an 8 km run or a 1 km kids’ race on the Walter Bean Trail, followed by lunch at The Mill! 

Grand Porch Party | June 9 

Looking for a musical way to spend a Sunday afternoon in Waterloo? Check out the Grand Porch Party, an annual community event celebrating local music and arts. Started in 2011, this tradition transforms neighbourhood porches in Uptown Waterloo into stages, where musicians of all genres perform for visitors strolling through the streets.  

Pride Drag Brunch | June 9 

Celebrate Pride Month with flair at the Pride Drag Brunch hosted by House of Adam and Steve at the historic Walper Hotel. Enjoy a vibrant performance by talented drag artists, including Miss Fiercalicious from Canada’s Drag Race, and a delightful brunch buffet and mimosas.  

Willibald’s Summer Music Series | June 12, 19, and 26 

The Willibald Farm in Ayr is more than amazing food and craft spirits. It’s also the place for great live music all summer long. Check out Adam Lefly on June 12, Tyler Montague March on June 19, and Patrick Grehan on June 26. 

Spectrum’s 3rd Annual Fundraising Gala | June 13 

Celebrate Pride with comedian Brandon Ash-Mohammed, who was recently named a JFL Montreal New Face and the winner of a Canadian Screen Award for his work as head writer on Canada’s Drag Race. The evening features dinner from B Elegant Catering and is MC’d by award-winning playwright, performer, fragrance aficionado extraordinaire, and producer Robert Watson.  

Black Presence in Berlin | June 13

Author Peggy Plet leads this illuminating Stroll Walking Tour in Downtown Kitchener that shares Kitchener’s connection to the early Black settlers of the Queens Bush settlement in the late 1800s and early 1900s. You’ll hear the stories of Black teachers, a Black lawyer, and Black domestic workers who impacted the city during its formative years.  

Grand River Black Music Festival and Conference | June 14–16 

The Grand River Black Music Festival and Conference is a Black-led project celebrating Black music and artistry across Canada and the world.  The annual event takes place at the Kitchener Public Library Central Branch. It features talks, panel discussions, and live performances from Jully Black, Zochi, Erroll Starr, Reharm, Solitair, and the Toronto Mass Choir.  

Downtown Kitchener Art Walk | June 15 

The Kitchener Waterloo Art Gallery invites you on a guided tour of the murals, installations, and public sculptures found throughout Downtown Kitchener. The tour starts at the KWAG Sculpture Garden at 1 p.m. Pro tip: Thanks to the DTK Art Guide, you can explore the art of Downtown Kitchener on your own. The latest edition is available at stores and restaurants in DTK, or you can check out the digital version here. 

City of Kitchener Neighbours Day | June 15 

Celebrate community spirit across Kitchener during Neighbours Day! Explore your neighbourhood or visit somewhere new for a fun day of activities and live entertainment. From interactive workshops to engaging performances, Neighbours Day is a time to build a stronger sense of belonging in our community.
Pro tip: There are so many amazing things happening on Neighbours Day. Our top picks are the first-ever Gruhn Street Porch Party featuring a lineup with Vintage Playground, Chris Downey, The Peanut Butter Jams, The Pistols, and Rowdy Ray & The Vagabond from 3 to 7 p.m. Kitchener’s own JP Sunga has two performances on Neighbours Day, 2 p.m. at 39 Meadowlane Dr. and 5 p.m. at 10 Albion St. 

Woolwich Pride | June 15 

Celebrate diversity and inclusion at Woolwich Pride on June 15 in Gibson Park, Elmira, from 1 to 4 p.m. This family-friendly event features live entertainment, food trucks, children’s activities, and community resource booths, creating a joyful and supportive atmosphere for all. 

Open Streets Waterloo | June 15 

Open Streets returns to Waterloo on Willis Way on June 15. The street will be closed to cars and open to people to celebrate local arts, culture, and more. Be entertained with a live performance from KW Breakers, browse through the art market, and join in on the fun and games. 

Destiny Boxing Fight Night | June 15 

You don’t have to fly to Las Vegas to catch world-class boxing! Syd Vanderpool is hosting Destiny Boxing Fight Night at Bingemans, featuring amazing local amateur boxers going toe-to-toe live. 

The Wilks Cookout | June 16 

Forget about another tie or pair of socks. Langdon Hall is hosting The Wilks Cookout, its annual Father’s Day event, on June 16 from 5 to 8 p.m. Treat dad to delicious food and games, including giant Jenga and a golf chipping station.  

National Indigenous People’s Day at UWaterloo | June 20 

The University of Waterloo celebrates National Indigenous People’s Day on June 20. The event features a ceremonial fire and a teaching on the significance of the Eagle Feather by Knowledge Keeper Myeengun Henry. Everyone is welcome to bring their own drum! 

Cirque Italia Water Circus | June 20 

Have you ever had a dream so vivid you thought it was real? Cirque Italia invites you on a magical adventure through a 1950s dreamscape filled with sock hops, drive-ins, and dazzling performances from international artists. Don’t miss this extraordinary, high-energy show, Cambridge—it’s an escapade you won’t want to miss! 

Indigenous Art Market | June 29–30 

What better way to commemorate Indigenous History Month than by supporting local artisans and purchasing stunning pieces? The Indigenous Art Market at 44 Gaukel in Kitchener is your chance to immerse yourself in a showcase of exquisite craftsmanship from over 60 Indigenous vendors. Discover an array of treasures that reflect the rich diversity of Indigenous artistry. 

Celebrate Black Excellence in Waterloo Region Road Trip 

Two major festivals kickoff the summer festival season in Waterloo Region in June, with both featuring celebrations of black culture and music. So get ready to jump in your car and celebrate one – or both! – festivals with a road trip to Waterloo Region!

The AfroVibes Festival is back for its second year in Downtown Kitchener for three days of African culture, art, music, dance and community June 6-8, 2024. The festival is an extension of Digimillennials, a digital publication that amplifies African culture across Canada.  

Peter Pearse-Elosia is the festival’s organizer and says he saw a need for African events in the community. “We wanted a celebration of the African community that puts culture at the center,” Peter says. “Our mission is to celebrate, elevate, and amplify African culture, and this festival lets us do that.” 

This year’s AfroVibes festival includes Afrokaraoke in Waterloo Town Square on June 6, a panel discussion on the Black business landscape, community empowerment, and cultural advocacy at Den 1880 on June 7, the main festival on June 8 on the Gaukel Block and at Carl Zehr Square, and the official after party on June 8 and THEMUSEUM. 

The main event of the AfroVibes Festival features nearly 50 vendors offering African-inspired cuisine, art, and fashion.

When you’re here for the festival, Peter recommends checking out the Somalian cuisine at AMA Café or the delicious curries and patties at Caribbean Kitchener at the Kitchener Market Food Hall. For dessert, his go-to is Four Al Ice Cream, which has locations in Uptown Waterloo and a soon-to-open spot in Downtown Kitchener. 

The Grand River Black Music Festival and Conference is a Black lead project celebrating Black music and artistry. It takes place June 14-16, 2024 in downtown Kitchener at the Kitchener Public Library, and at the Civic Centre Park for an outdoor music festival on June 16. Pop-up concerts will also be held around Waterloo Region throughout the weekend. Food vendors, artisans, and artist merchandise will also be available.

Performing artists include Jully Black, Solitair, the Toronto Mass Choir, Juno-Award-winning R&B vocalist Erroll Starr, Zochi, and Reharm.

There’s also a lineup of films being screened at the festival, including Temple of Love: The Erroll Star Story, Making Music: The Making of “Why I Sing the Blues”, and Hip-Hop Hope, a documentary focusing on the legacy of Hip-hop in The Waterloo Region.

A complete schedule for the Grand River Black Music festival and can be found on its website.

SEE WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING IN WATERLOO REGION. CHECK OUT THE LOCAL BUZZ!

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