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Montreal Summer Festival Guide: Montreal Fireworks Celebrates 25 Years; Montreal Jazz Fest Turns 30

Published by Quincy Critcher

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Here are the best fests that Montreal has to offer.

Montreal Fringe, Fireworks, and Fete Nationale

The 19th edition of the Montreal First Peoples’ Festival celebrates Amerindian and Inuit culture and tradition through visual arts, film, video, song, and dance June 11 through 21. Call (514) 677-1377.

The 19th edition of the Montreal Fringe Festival presents an over-the-top bilingual bash of eclectic and independent theatre June 11 through 21. Call (514) 849-3378.

The Montreal International Fireworks Festival celebrates 25 years of pyrotechnic masterpieces and moves to an all-Saturday schedule June 13 through Aug. 15. Call (800) 797-4537.

St. Jean Baptist Day, also known as La Fete Nationale du Quebec, is Quebec’s big summer holiday full of provincial pride — think St. Patrick’s Day meets the Fourth of July. Many special events are held on and around June 24. Blue and white are the colors du jour. Call (514) 849-2560.

The Montreal Baroque Festival offers a touch of class June 25 through 28. This year’s Death by Chocolate theme celebrates the 350th anniversary of composer Henry Purcell’s birth whose “premature death at the age of 35 was suspected to be the tragic result of an overdose of chocolate,” says the Web site. Call (514) 845-7171.

Montreal Jazz, Fantasia Films, and Just for Laughs with Whoopi

Montreal’s Gay Village hosts the 10th edition of Festival Montreal en Arts or FIMA, an outdoor art gallery along Ste. Catherine Street that features the works of more than 125 artists July 2 through 5. Call (514) 525-4545.

The Montreal International Jazz Festival celebrates a great big 30th anniversary this year with an extended edition that runs June 30 through July 12. This year’s impressive line-up includes a free opening festival concert starring Stevie Wonder. Ticketed shows include Joe Cocker, Al Jarreau, Jeff Beck, Chris Botti, Buddy Guy, Jackson Browne, Brian Setzer, and Pink Martini. In addition, there are another 450 free concerts scheduled on nine outdoor stages near Place des Arts. Call (888) 515-0515.

The Fanstasia Film Festival highlights the latest fantasy, martial arts, unique genre, and animated movies from throughout Asia and the world July 9 through 27. Call (514) 490-9354.

The 23rd edition of the African Nights Festival features vibrant music, colorful dance, authentic cuisine, and unique workshops July 14 through 26. Call (514) 499-9239.

The 27th edition of the Just for Laughs Festival offers traditional stand-up comedy, unique theatre performances, and lots of funny free events centered along St. Denis Street in the Latin Quarter July 16 through 26. Sarah Silverman, Jon Dore, Martin Short, Louis CK, Lewis Black, John Cleese, Whoopi Goldberg, Bill Cosby, and Roberto Benigni are all scheduled to appear. Call (514) 790-4242.

Colorful Montreal Dragon Boats, Gay Pride, and Hot Air Balloons

The 14th Montreal International Dragon Boat Race Festival celebrates Chinese culture highlighted by competitive dragon boat races at Olympic Basin on Jean Drapeau Park July 25 and 26. Call (514) 866-7001.

Two separate gay pride celebrations are held with Divers/Cite’s music and dance events July 26 through Aug. 2, and another gay pride weekend with even more music and outdoor festivities starting Aug. 13 complete with a centerpiece pride parade Aug. 16.

First-rate French music takes front and center stage at the Les FrancoFolies de Montreal July 30 through Aug. 9. Call (514) 876-8989.

The fourth Osheaga Music Festival plays outdoors at Jean Drapeau Park Aug. 1 and 2. Coldplay, the Beastie Boys, Jason Mraz, Arctic Monkeys, the Roots and Rufus Wainwright headline.

The 33rd Montreal Scottish Festival features Scottish Highland athletics, dance, and music — some 40 bagpipe bands in all. BYOK — Bring your own kilt. At Pierrefonds Sport Park Aug. 2. Call (514) 332-5242.

The International Balloon Festival of St-Jean-sur-Richelieu floats into town Aug. 8 to 16 at the St-Jean Municipal Airport. Bring the camera. Call (450) 347-9555.

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