If you’re looking for what to do in Stratford Ontario, this weekend, you’re in luck! The town is about to come alive with the sound of music — and puppets and theatrical shows. For one weekend in August, locals and visitors are promised a weekend of delight with the World in a Weekend Festival.
Being presented by SpringWorks PuppetWorks! and Stratford Summer Music, this festival is bringing affordable shows and activities to the banks of the Avon River. There will be interactive stations for kids, music events, and stilt-wearing actors to amuse and entertain you.
Sound like the perfect weekend out? Read on to learn more about this Ontario festival, and be sure not to miss it.
Stratford Tourism: About the World in a Weekend Festival
The World in a Weekend Festival is the brainchild of Eileen Smith, SpringWorks artistic producer, and Mark Fewer, Stratford Summer Music’s artistic director. They noticed a gap in the market for affordable family entertainment. They also realized nothing was stopping them from collaborating with Mark’s musical events and Eileen’s puppetry and stilt walkers.
And so, World in a Weekend was born. A festival that anyone can join, no matter your budget. The idea is to bring people together again after being apart for so long.
Eileen herself put it perfectly, saying, “With gas and grocery prices going through the roof, most people these days could use a break. The World in a Weekend Festival is a fantastic opportunity to make summer memories and spend time with the people you most care about.”
What To Do in Stratford Ontario: Weekend Schedule
The fantastic news is that many of these shows and events repeat over the weekend. So if you miss a show on Friday, chances are you’ll catch it again on Saturday or Sunday. Here’s a look at what you can find.
Puppet Show Line Up
These are perfect for all ages, so get your tickets for the following shows. The magical communication of puppetry – stories told without words and accessible to all!
- Metamorphosis – A puppet master shares a collection of metaphorical adventures told by wooden and silk puppets and human hands.
- Tricyckle – An introspective story about a wanderer, his tricycle accomplice, and the box of memories he is towing.
- Cache Cache – This is a “puppet walk” that leads the audience on a path to find puppets that spring to life in the forest, followed by a short “make your own puppet” workshop.
- Wood/Bois – In this incredible show, the puppets, who are twigs and branches, come to life and go on a hilarious and whimsical quest.
Music Shows To Buy Tickets For
Take the chance to see some of the fantastic bands and performers from Stratford Summer Music this weekend. The main venues are Veterans’ Drive, Gallery Stratford, Factory 163 & Revival House.
**Please note that these venues are outdoors, so please bring hats and water**
- Sounding Thunder – An indigenous musical storytelling about the life of Francis Pegahmagabow, renowned Ojibwe WWI sniper and decorated officer of the Canadian military.
- SSM Jazz Allstars – This is a fantastic ensemble of four talented musicians.
- The Thalea Quartet and Shuffle Demons – Experience the high energy of the Thalea Quartet and the deep funk sounds of guest artists, The Shuffle Demons.
- Ladom Ensemble – A music concert designed for children and those kids at heart.
These events don’t need paid tickets, and many are kid-friendly. Some events require you to book your seat, so check the schedules to secure a spot.
- Garden For Little Souls – Designed for ages 12 months to 7 years old, this is an interactive sensory garden for little ones to explore.
- Go Home Tiny Monster – A kiddies puppet show with the most fun audience engagement.
- Jacques et Zebrèlle – Watch this love story told by two 12-foot-tall protagonists, a juggler on a tricycle, and lively rhythms.
- The Imbayakunas – This concert will take place on the floating stage on the Avon River, so bring a picnic blanket and watch from the banks.
OKAN – A women-led ensemble of Afro-Cuban music with jazz, folk, and global rhythms.
Dayna Manning’s Folk Army – A magical ukulele play-along opportunity for the audience.
Stratford Ontario World in a Weekend Details
Find all the essential information below so you don’t miss out on one of the best Stratford things to do this August.
Festival Dates & Times
The World in a Weekend Festival kicks off on Thursday, 4 August at 7 pm. There’ll be three shows on Thursday, with the last starting at 9:30 pm. Then, festivities begin again on Friday at 9:30 am and go all the way through until the final show at 9 pm.
Saturday is just as long and full as Friday, and then on Sunday, things calm down with the very last show at 4:30 pm.
Where To Find Shows & Activities
The entire town is the stage for this event, but you’ll find most of the entertainment around the following places in Stratford, On:
- Veterans Drive
- Waterloo Street
- Downtown Square
- Factory163 in King Street
How To Buy Tickets
Many of the shows and events are free! But for the ticketed concerts, you can buy tickets online or at the Box Office, which you’ll find at 19 Waterloo Street. The office is open from 10 am to 4 pm Monday through Friday.
Where To Stay in Stratford
Check in to the Bruce Hotel on Parkview Drive for a convenient location, a warm welcome, and the comfiest stay. There’s a range of rooms available at this hotel, which also boasts 6.5 acres of stunning Stratford land. And after tiring yourself out at the festival, you can enjoy dinner at the hotel’s restaurant or drinks in The Lounge.
Other Stratford Attractions
Stratford is just an hour’s drive from Toronto, great for a day trip. The town has terrific food, great outdoor spaces, and friendly faces around every corner. But if you’re taking a weekend getaway to visit Stratford, Ontario, you may want to see a few of these other great attractions.
- Visit the Stratford Perth Museum
- Treat your taste buds on the self-guided Chocolate Trail
- Stroll through the Shakespearean Gardens
- Browse the Gallery Stratford
- Paddle boat out onto the Avon River
Experience the Best Things To Do in Stratford, Ontario This August
This festival promises a fantastic time for the whole family. Come along to the ukulele play-along concert or dance with the Juno-winning Afro-Cuban band Okankan. Get the kids busy with crafts and settle down at one of the many music shows.
We simply cannot wait to experience the Metamorphosis, Tricyckle, and the Jacques et Zèbrelle shows. And, of course, Sounding Thunder. Perhaps we’ll see you there?