10 Reasons to Celebrate Summer in Cochrane, Ontario

by | Jul 20, 2016 | Attractions and Festivals, Big Blog | 0 comments

You’re lakeside, local artists serenade you with live music, and the smell of mouthwatering BBQ permeates the air. It’s Summerfest 2017, and Cochrane wants to celebrate with you at the Tim Horton Events Centre Recreational Fields! Check out the festivities from August 10 to 13, 2017.

It’s a BIG festival, so start with…

1. The Soap Box Derby

Cochrane Soap Box Derby

Design it, build it, and race it! Early birds will kick Summerfest off with a Soap Box Derby on Thursday August 10 at 7 pm. Come to Fourth Street East. Especially popular with kids and their parents, the derby is a great opportunity to design and build a creation from scratch. Then show off your car in a race against other participants on the street! Entry is free and prizes are available to be won.

The rules?

All cars must have steering and breaks, and helmets are mandatory. Cars are to be a maximum of 3.5 feet wide and no longer than 5 feet. Register your cars at the Tim Horton Events Centre!

2. Catch an Outdoor Movie Under the Stars

Movie Under the Stars

When night falls, snuggle up on a blanket at the beach and take in an outdoor movie. This Thursday night Cochrane tradition falls on August 10 this Summerfest. Movie screenings are decided weekly and are weather dependent so check out the Town of Cochrane Facebook page for the Summerfest listing and alternative weather location.

3. All-day Live Music Line-up at the Tim Horton Events Centre

Spend the day at the Tim Horton Events Centre on Saturday August 12. Musical acts featuring northern talent begin at noon and will continue all day. Of age guests can keep cool with a visit to the beer gardens.

Front and centre performing acts will be Rosedale and Off the Cuff for evening entertainment. See the full line-up here. Stick around, as the annual fireworks display begins at 11 pm.

4. Stroll Main Street at the Sidewalk Sale and Street Dance

Enjoy the festivities during the Sidewalk Sale & Street Dance on Friday August 11. Stroll along Main Street while listening to music or watching a Jiu-jitsu demonstration. Children can test the sirens on fire trucks or sit in a loader during our Touch A Truck event. For the connoisseur, sports cars and motorcycles are the feature at the Show And Shine event.

5. Smoke on the Water Amateur BBQ Competition

Smoke on the Water BBQ Competition

Are you a foodie looking for a bit of competition? Maybe you’ve been told your ribs are “the best in the world”. Show what you’ve got at Smoke on the Water – an amateur BBQ competition held on Saturday August 12 from 9:30 am to 3 pm! This growing event sees folks from all over come together to show off their skill on the grill with ribs, chicken and sauce.

Think you’ve got what it takes? Contact Bill by sending an email at [email protected].

6. Kids Play, Too – at The Kidz Zone!

Bouncy Party Zone
Children will love the Kidz Zone – zip lines, bouncy castles and campfire story time are just some of the fun activities delivered specifically with kids in mind. Kids can also try to win BIG at the carnival games, where Chimo the Polar Bear plushie toys are available to be won.

7. Don’t Just Watch – Get Active!

Rock Climbing Cochrane Summerfest

Festival goers will have endless opportunities to get active at Summerfest this year.

Engage in a little friendly competition by entering a team to the softball tournament or trying your luck at horseshoes. Back for its second year is the 3-on-3 volleyball tournament!

If team sports aren’t your game, consider checking out the kettle bell competition. Not feeling competitive? Kids and adults alike will be challenged by our rock-climbing wall.

8. King of Portage Competition 

Watch on and cheer as teams paddle voyageur-style freighter canoes, demonstrating their strength and paddle-prowess in a race to win the title of 2017’s King of the Portage.

canoe race

9. Accommodations of every shape and size

For fixed-roof accommodations, check-in to the Best Western Swan Castle Inn, located in downtown Cochrane or the Cochrane Station Inn, located in an operating train station. Each location offers guests easy access to the festivities on Lake Commando, in addition to a range of food options and local shopping.

Alternatively, make it a complete Northern Ontario getaway and book a stay with Flood’s Landing Camp. Located 20 minutes north of Cochrane on the Frederick House River, Flood’s Landing provides housekeeping cottages or campsites, hiking opportunities, access to ATV trails, and boat rentals.

If you’re driving an RV, free overnight parking will be available in the Tim Horton Events Centre parking lot. Visitors will have access to washrooms and change rooms. The Town of Cochrane is making a non-service campsite available for Summerfest at the north end of 8th Avenue, located just two blocks from the Lake Commando peninsula. Tents and campers welcome. Note that anyone using this location will need to bring their own water. Check back to the Summerfest page for full details on location and booking.

10. Get Dirty at the Cochrane Mud Bogs

Cochrane Mud Bogs

End your weekend at the Cochrane mud bogs on Sunday August 13. Cheer on ATVs, side by sides and trucks as they tear through a 20 foot course of filthy mud!

With so many ways to experience living like a northerner, visit the Cochrane Summerfest celebration and send summer out with a bang! For a full schedule and event listings, please visit the Summerfest 2017 website or the official Summerfest Facebook page.


Want to be a part of Summerfest? Please contact

  • Terry Vachon, Director of Community Services
    Tel: (705) 272-5084 ext.: 3
    [email protected]
  • Roxanne Genier, Cochrane Summerfest Chair
    Tel: (705) 272-2048


About Isabelle Denault

Isabelle is a resident and Economic Development Officer of Cochrane, Ontario.