Consistently ranked as one of the most diverse zip codes in the United States, Irving is home to a rich international community. There is no better place to appreciate this diversity than at Canal Fest, Irving’s annual arts and cultural celebration. As one of the most anticipated Irving festivals every year, Canal Fest brings together a wide range of people to celebrate world cultures through interactive experiences and international entertainment.
Time: 2 - 10 p.m.
Location: Mandalay Canals, Levy Event Plaza, 501 E. Las Colinas Blvd.
Parking: Available at nearby garages for $10; or take the DART Orange Line to Las Colinas Urban Center Station and take a free shuttle to the event site.
Hosted by the City of Irving, the day-long festival is held in Las Colinas, extending through the stunning Mandalay Canals to the shores of Lake Carolyn. In addition to browsing the goods of local vendors and artisans and listening to music, you can also take part in the fun from the water. Rent a stand-up paddleboard, take an authentic gondola ride, try out an aqua-trike, or ride on the Lady Carolyn electric cruise boat and admire the festival with a cool breeze in your face.
Canal Fest Irving is home to food with flavors from all around the world. Vendors set up shop along the banks of Lake Carolyn and the winding paths of the Mandalay Canals to share tasty creations from Asia, the Middle East, South America, and Africa, to name a few. Many vendors also offer vegetarian and vegan cuisine. Past vendors include Doc’s Caribbean Grill, The Halal Guys, The Gourmet Bread Pudding Company, and many more. Plan to take your tastebuds on a cruise around the world at Canal Fest!
At Canal Fest, you get to experience the arts and music of other cultures. Take some time to sit for a temporary henna tattoo, or try your hand at calligraphy and origami as artists show you the ropes.
The festival also features musical acts representing all parts of the globe: Africa, India, Mexico, the Middle East, and more. So prepare to sing, dance, and, if you’re game, learn a new instrument during one of the many performances. When the renowned drummers of Burundi perform, you may have the chance to get up on stage and learn how to play an African drum.
The music included on the cultural stage ranges from flamenco, Middle Eastern belly dance, Polish folk dance, German Alpine dance, and more. Other music includes rock, pop, country, R&B, and Top 40.
Also not to be missed is Canal Fest’s art exhibit, featuring art from local artists around the DFW Metroplex. Here, you can admire visual art, sculpture, and pottery, and support the artists directly by purchasing a piece to bring home. The festival’s marketplace lets you buy a wide range of goods from local artisans that sell handmade decor, clothes, jewelry, and more.
Kids love Canal Fest and families have a blast together when they come. Whether it’s sitting with the whole family for a humorous artist caricatures, or getting their faces painted to look like a zoo animal, you can guarantee lots of laughs at Canal Fest.
The festival is typically held in April or May of each year and features food, entertainment, and educational cultural events perfect for the whole family. Be sure to check the City of Irving website for the most up-to-date information.