Annual events not to be missed in Birmingham

Brum has a whole host of events to please everyone, from foodies to car-buffs

There is no shortage of events in Birmingham – with everything from sports tournaments and music concerts to the Birmingham Chili Festival, one of the city’s “hottest” events… But what will you be able to see when you’re next in town?

Crufts Dog Show – National Exhibition Centre – March
Crufts is the world’s largest dog show but it’s much more than just prancing pooches. The show celebrates all things canine and acknowledges the important role dogs play in history and our lives today. Taking place over four days in early March, you can shop at the trade show featuring the latest toys, accessories and technologies, meet hero police and fire brigade dogs, talk to breeders and rescue charities, and of course watch the famous best in show competition. Running since 1891, Crufts is now so popular it is even live-streamed on YouTube to the whole world. A must-see for any animal-lover!    

Birmingham Pride – Gay Village – May 
Over the Bank holiday weekend in May, Birmingham is covered in rainbow coloured memorabilia for Birmingham Pride, the UK’s biggest two-day LGBT festival, held in Gay Village on Hurst Street. Over 50,000 people take to the streets to see the carnival parade in the heart of the city, before visiting the main Pride festival site for concerts, dance parties, funfairs, cabarets, a temporary village green and a street party. 

Brindleyplace Dragonboat Festival – Brindleyplace – June 
The Brindleyplace Dragonboat Festival is a fun but competitive race which sees teams taking to the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal in traditional Chinese longboats. A fundraising event held by local businesses, you’ll definitely want to have your camera at the ready to snap the rowers dressed in crazy costumes as they battle it out to be the fastest boat to reach the Barclaycard Arena. And what’s even better is all the festivities are for a good cause, raising money for the charity Cure Leukaemia. 

Birmingham, Solihull & Sandwell Jazz Festival – various venues – July
The international jazz and blues festival brings some of the world’s best musicians to Birmingham every summer. Over the course of a week in July, you can enjoy over 200 concerts (mostly for free) in 99 different venues – including the hippest restaurants, bars, public spaces and museums all around the city. The line-up is always varied, featuring acts from America, Argentina, France, Spain and Canada, as well as both well-known and up-and-coming local musicians. Listen to all types of jazz, from ragtime and hard bop to blues and swing.     

Birmingham Chilli Festival – Brindleyplace – September
How much heat can you handle? The Birmingham Chilli Festival is a hot event held at Brindleyplace every September. Test your taste buds at the chilli themed market, selling everything from traditional hot sauces to spicy marinades from all around the world. There are also some extreme chilli eating contests guaranteed to make your eyes water, live music, and cooking classes from local Brindleyplace restaurants. 

Birmingham Comedy Festival – various venues – October
Since 2001, the Birmingham Comedy Festival has been marking the city as a top comedy destination. It is now one of the largest independent arts festivals in the region, featuring both big name comedy stars and emerging new talent. Previous acts have included Russell Brand, John Bishop, Miranda Hart, Harry Hill and Ken Dodd, as well as celebrations of Tony Hancock, Laurel and Hardy, and Monty Python. 

The Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show – National Exhibition Centre – November
Rev-heads won’t want to miss Birmingham’s Classic Motor Show, the UK’s biggest classic car event where you can see over 2,500 vintage cars and motorbikes spanning the last 100 years. You can also meet members from car and bike clubs, visit the indoor Autojumble where you can pick up hard-to-find spare parts, and take part in the high-profile Silverstone Auction. If you’re already an owner, don’t miss the Restoration Theatre which offers expert tips and tricks on renovating and maintaining your automotive baby.       

Bonfire night – various venues – November 
Celebrate your Birmingham holiday with a bang on bonfire night, held on November 5 every year. Parties and displays take place in parks all around the city as dazzling fireworks light up the monuments. It’s a family-friendly event the kids are sure to love – it normally starts quite early and there’s always face painting, fire twirlers, food stalls and a whole host of other all-ages activities. For a more romantic bonfire night, many restaurants also offer a special menu with great views of the fireworks. 

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