Several colourful bursts at the 2003 GlobalFest fireworks competition.
|Genre||Cultural festival, fireworks|
The festival has been held every August since 2003, and is organised by The Calgary Fireworks Festival Society.
GlobalFest consists of different components: the OneWorld Festival (with up to 24 Cultural Pavilions, 14 ethnic food kiosks, and a 12 vendor Night Market) and the International Fireworks Festival (with up to 5 fireworks presentations from 5 international teams).
Human Rights Forum
The GlobalFest Human Rights Forum presented by TD Bank Financial Group is a Calgary-based, week-long event that invites various speakers, guests, and experts to discuss pertinent issues relating to human rights and diversity. The Human Rights Forum seeks to build community dialogue by addressing various topics of racism and discrimination.
Informed by the aims of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and its International Coalition of Cities Against Racism Initiative, the Human Rights Forum aims to highlight the Canadian Coalition of Municipalities Against Racism and Discrimination’s (CCMARD) ten common commitments. 
The 2010 Human Rights Forum took place from May 3 to 7 at the John Dutton Theatre within the Calgary Central Public Library.
The theme topic for the 2010 Human Rights Forum focused on Youth addressing the following commitments:
- Increase vigilance against systemic and individual racism and discrimination.
- Support policing services in their efforts to be exemplary institutions in combating racism and discrimination.
- Inform and support individuals who experience racism and discrimination.
- Support measures to challenge racism and discrimination and promote diversity and equal opportunity in the education sector and in other forms of learning.
- Promote respect, understanding and appreciation of cultural diversity and the inclusion of Aboriginal and racialized communities into the cultural fabric of the municipality.
The Human Rights Forum extended its programming in 2010 to include the GlobalFest Youth Forum, an additional program that includes youth directly. The 2010 GlobalFest Youth Forum featured UNITY Charity Presenting their “Hip Hop Away From Violence” program to five high schools in Calgary from April 26 to 30.
UNITY Charity is a youth led and artist driven anti-violence group from Toronto that specializes in urban performance assemblies and artistic workshops. UNITY seeks to provide positive artistic outlets for youth to express themselves instead of expressing themselves through violence, drug use, stereotyping, bullying and other negative forms of self-expression.
The International Fireworks Festival is held at Elliston Park in Southeast Calgary and is presented by Trico Homes. Each night of the festival showcases a different nation. Participants attend by invitation of the organizers. Pyrotechnic displays take place over Elliston Park and are synchronized to music. Thus, these choreographed pyrotechnical arrangements are referred to as 'pyro-musicals'.
In 2009 the organizers introduced a variety of artistic requirements that all fireworks designers must incorporate into their designs. In past years the fireworks were presented in the style of a competition with a competitor being limited to winning two years in a row before a mandatory year-long break would be implemented. As of 2009, the pyro-musical presentations have been presented in a festival process rather than as a competition. This new process has been introduced to better meet artistic and funding criteria set forward by various backing partners as well as to help better fulfill GlobalFest's mandate of promoting cultural diversity.
New artistic requirements included a compulsory piece of music that must be incorporated by each competitor and a 25% minimum of each competitor's music that must be native to the representing country. This was done to challenge the designers, provide a better pyro-musical experience to the audience, and better meet the mandate of GlobalFest as a Multi-Cultural Festival.
GlobalFest 2013 featured the following countries:
- August 16, 2013 - China (Returning Nation)
- August 18, 2013 - France
- August 20, 2013 - Great Britain
- August 22, 2013 - USA (Returning Nation)
- August 25, 2013 - GlobalFest Finale
The winner of the 2012 pyro-musical fireworks competition was the USA
In the early years, GlobalFest featured cultural pavilions scattered throughout Calgary, usually in various community halls. The pavilions would often include ethnic food, displays and entertainment. Cultural Pavilions included themes from Africa, Hispanic America, Middle East, Caribbean, Francophone, India, Italy, Mexico, Scotland, Ukraine and Vietnam. The OneWorld festival was originally co-organized with the International Avenue Arts and Culture Centre.
In 2007, the pavilions were grouped together for the first time at Penbrooke Meadows Community Association and was visited by over 10,000 GlobalFest patrons.
In 2008, a previously protected area of Elliston Park was opened up to the organizers and the move was made to transfer the cultural pavilions to Elliston Park and re-launch the OneWorld Village. The cultural organizations are also provided the opportunity to present their nations' foods in separate food kiosks, located adjacent to the OneWorld Village.
GlobalFest patrons can now enjoy the OneWorld Festival in conjunction with the International Fireworks Festival each evening at the same location in Elliston Park. Cultural stages will feature music, dance and other artists presented by the cultural pavilion organizers within the OneWorld Village. The Calgary Foundation Centennial stage will also be presenting various artists to those patrons on the south side of Elliston Park. A third stage has been added to the site located in the OneWorld Cafe and International Bar. The Cafe stage will provide entertainment nightly prior to the fireworks as well as for an hour following the fireworks presentation.
The idea for the festival started in 1994, when the newly established Calgary Fireworks Festival Society started looking for a safe firework launch site. It took until 2001 to discover Elliston Park and its lake. At the same time, the International Avenue Arts and Culture Centre was making plans for a multicultural festival in Forest Lawn. The two non-profit societies presented plans for a joint festival at Calgary's International Avenue Business Revitalisation Zone (a city department), and the festival began in 2003, with an audience of almost 100,000, including city residents and tourists.
The site chosen for the fireworks display, Elliston Lake, is the second largest lake in Calgary (after Glenmore Reservoir), and was created close to a landfill site in 1978. The land has been owned by the city of Calgary since 1960 The area was used for agriculture for ten years, and Elliston Park opened in 1994. Over the years the park has been expanded by reclaiming land from the nearby landfill, bringing the total area to over 410 hectares, making it the city's second largest park (after Nose Hill).