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Montreal Summer Events 2014

Montreal's Hottest Summer Festivals

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Montreal Summer Events in 2014: The Crème de la Crème
Believe it or not, this town is high on energy every season. Even the coldest days of winter don't stop us from dancing in the streets, but there's something unique about Montreal's hot and sticky summers. Thoroughfares close off to cars to make way for sidewalk sales and terrasses (Montreal-speak for "patio"), the Place des festivals primes its 235 water jets for weeks of free concerts and events, Parc Jean-Drapeau turns into a wonderland of music fests, picnics and assorted frolicking and the Montreal summer events below draw crowds in the millions.

1. Montreal Beer Festival

montreal summer events 2014 beer festival
Brendon Thorne / Getty Images
I'm cheating a little here. It's technically still spring when Montreal's Mondial de la bière rolls around the first week of June, but this event has the making of a summer prelude. A chance to sample hundreds of beers from around the world, try the latest in chocolate beer, pair a lager with a slab of kangaroo meat or indulge in special brews made expressly for the festival.
When: usually the first week of June

2. Montreal Fireworks Competition

montreal summer events 2014 fireworks competition
Photo by Flickr user Zanastardust
The largest pyrotechnics competition of its kind in the world, the Montreal International Fireworks Competition has been going strong since 1985 and remains one of this city's top attractions, showering Montreal skies every Saturday evening (Wednesday evenings too, depending on the edition) throughout the summer.
When: June through July, sometimes August

3. Dancing Under the Sun and Stars

montreal summer events 2014
Photo © Evelyn Reid
Montreal dance events are popular and plentiful regardless of season. But when summer rolls around, outdoor dancing becomes an epidemic in this town. Whether you want to practice the tango with a partner, learn the salsa on a tight budget, dance to tribal beats in the park or just want to let loose to tunes spinned by international icons for a bargain, then read on. There's a dance event for everyone of every age.
When: June through September

4. Sidewalk Sales

montreal summer events sidewalk sales
Photo © Evelyn Reid
Great shopping deals are a sidewalk sale given, as are car exhibits, outdoor cheap eats live entertainment, busking and activities for kids. The favorite sales of the season tend to be sidewalk sales held on the Main but all of Montreal's ventes de trottoir have a little something to offer bargain hunters as well as the whole family.
When: June through October

5. F1 Canadian Grand Prix

montreal summer events 2014 formula 1 canada grand prix
John Marsh / Getty Images
Montreal goes absolutely nuts when F1 rolls into town. But it's not everyone's cup of tea. Many locals hide at home the duration of the weekend, while others dive head first into the madness.
When: generally early to mid-June

6. Les FrancoFolies de Montréal

montreal summer events 2014 les francofolies de montreal
Quebec icon Robert Charlebois performs at Les FrancoFolies in 2010. Pascal le Segretain/Getty Images
One of Montreal's most important festivals, attracting almost one million spectators over the course of ten days, Les FrancoFolies de Montréal is the largest French music festival in the world, and the best time of the year to discover the language of love in song. Over the fest's ten-day run is featured several free outdoor shows at Place des festivals.
When: two weeks in mid-June

7. Montreal Jazz Festival

montreal summer events 2014 jazz festival
Dave Brubeck was a Jazz Fest regular for many years until his passing in December 2012. Getty Images
The largest jazz festival in the world is right here, in Montreal, drawing in two million people over the course of its roughly two-week run. Hundreds of indoor shows complemented by hundreds of free outdoor show featuring the best in the biz -- alumni include Diana Krall, Prince, Pat Metheny, Ray Charles, Sade, Dave Brubeck, The Roots, Smokey Robinson, Esperanza Spalding and Robert Plant -- check out the full Montreal Jazz Fest indoor lineup and buy tickets. And be primed to join the masses indulging in dozens of free outdoor shows scheuled every day at Place des festivals, the Jazz Fest hub.
When: late June through early July

8. Carifiesta

montreal summer events 2014
Photo by Flickr user Zanastardust
Carifiesta Montreal -- Carifête in French -- is one of the city's more engaging parades, a July tradition since 1975 celebrating Montreal's Caribbean community, carnival style, with beautiful costumes, steelpan performances and vibrant parade participants animating the event. When: usually the first Saturday of July

9. Just for Laughs

montreal summer events 2014 just for laughs comedy festival
Photo © Evelyn Reid
Montreal's other juggernaut fest attracting in the upwards of two million is Just for Laughs, a comedy fest crawling with talent scouts, booking agents, managers and producers looking for the next big thing. Many of today's household names -- Denis Leary, Tim Allen, Dave Chappelle, Jon Stewart -- got their big break at the Montreal Just For Laughs Festival or saw their career (serendipitously?) take off after participating. In addition to a heavy dose of stand-up and big ticket galas, Just for Laughs offers free events at Place des festivals, migrating from its previous street performance hub St. Denis: count on comedy sketches, fire breathers, crowd pleasers in outrageous costumes ... you name it.
When: most of July

10. Circus Festival Montreal Complètement Cirque

montreal summer events 2014 circus festival completement cirque
Photo © Daniel Auclair, courtesy of Cirque du Soleil
In many ways, Montreal has etched itself a spot as a world capital for circus arts, with the Cirque du Soleil headquarters located in the city, alongside the National Circus School. Other renowned circus troupes such as Les 7 Doigts de la main and Cirque Éloize are Quebec natives so it should come as no surprise that one of Montreal's newest festivals -- Montréal Complètement Cirque -- homes in on the mind-bending contortions, flips, juggling, balancing, clowning, flying and other physical feats circus artists surprise us with, year in, year out.
When: two weeks in early to mid-July

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