Edmonton is a city of festivals, summer and winter. One of the many enjoyable ones is Heritage Days at Hawrelak Park. Traditionally it runs through the August long weekend and this year it opened up again to welcome people interested in discovering other cultures.
Heritage Days is exactly as it sounds, tents and pavilions from different nations display their Heritage through foods to sample, dances to watch and cultural items to purchase.
This years scaled down version had many similarities to other years even though the countries represented were fewer. The tents were still there with food and shows to watch.
To begin the process of attending I had to go online and reserve my entrance time. It was free to enter however they wanted to spread the crowds out and only allowed so many people to enter in a two hour window. Once in we were free to wander the site with no time schedule to exit. In leu of entrance fee it is encouraged to bring items for the Edmonton Food Bank. They took cash as well for those of us who forgot.
As there is no parking at the site, you can do a park and ride from St Albert bus depot at the cost of $6/person return trip. Or there is the option of parking at the University of Alberta and riding the bus from there, also a $6/person fee. But if you would rather spend your money at the festival it is about a 15 minute walk from the parkade on the University site. We choose to park and walk as we have done the bus adventure on previous times.
Once again Edmonton is under a haze of smoke so my photos aren’t great. Wish they were better but that’s the way it goes.
The first country I looked into was Zimbabwe. They had Slush drinks to match their flag which was fun.
Travelling on we came to the Israeli tent which was different, when you entered it looked like the Wailing wall in Jerusalem.
Hawrelak Park is in the river valley of Edmonton with a man made lake that is used all year round. Skating in the winter and boating in the summer. Even the Canadian Geese are enjoying the day.
The Edmonton Police Service was well represented with vintage cars dating 1964 up to today and a Jeep Rubicon. The traffic Police use motorcycles and gave the boys a turn to sit on them.
Safety first boys, one has on a mask and the other one is checking his surroundings. All good things to do.
I didn’t taste the saffron Ice cream but im very curious what it would be like. Next time ill give it a go.
it is really hard to go wrong with a Pina Colada.
Peru had a punch made out of purple corn. Again something you would probably only see at Heritage Days or travel to Peru.
Our last food stop was the Ukrainian tent for sausage and pirogies. They did not disappoint!
Our take away learning from this year was to go early in the day when there are less crowds and it is cooler. We did miss some of the dancers and shows but saw enough to keep our interest.
I would also plan ahead with the Food Bank food so I didn’t forget to contribute. It is a big food drive for them and every bit helps.
My last learning from this year was that with 5 of us, taking the bus didn’t make sense economically, if it was a couple then I would travel on the bus and save finding a place to park.
On a scale of 5 stars I would give Heritage days a 4. It is good bang for your buck, great food to try, entertainment, outside in the River Valley and it supports the Edmonton Food Bank. It is rated 4 stars because there were not as many countries represented as I had hoped. That is probably a COVID thing.
Until next year!