Yet more evidence that Edmonton deserves being called the Festival City. Now I have been to the Heritage Festival (previously Heritage Days, I think) as well as the Fringe theatre festival and the Folk Music Festival, and they’ve all been excellent, urban events with attention to the transportation, hygiene, and shade needs of summertime crowds. And there are lots of other events that I haven’t been to yet but maybe I will sometime: Capital Ex, Taste of Edmonton, the Grey Cup, Silly Summer Parade, Old Strathcona Music thing whatever it is called, Film festival, Blues, Jazz, dragon boats, and more.
The Heritage Festival http://www.heritage-festival.com/ is held in a park on the riverfront, just past the university. I should have anticipated that getting there by bicycle was probably going to mean going down a hill on the way there and up one on the way back – there may be a flatter route or one with less traffic so that I could have ridden up instead of walking in a crowd of pedestrians, but that was okay. Admission is free, although they take food bank donations. Each of the 65+ cultural pavilions (marquee tents) in the park had some or all of the following: food for sale (you bought tickets at a central kiosk and bought the food for tickets), folk-dancing children, arts and crafts for sale, and displays about the history and culture of the ethnic group(s) in the homeland and in Canada. I did not find any Irish-speakers at the Irish pavilion, only a vague encouragement to call the president of the Sport and Social Club. I wandered about in a not very systematic way eating various foods: satay from Borneo, pierohy from Ukraine, barm brack from Ireland and bara brith from Wales (similar fruit breads), bannock with jam from the Aboriginal pavilion, a chocolate crepe from the French one, and then my stomach got full before I ran out of tickets or suggestions.
Even when I’m travelling, lately, I work at not trying to do things in a perfect, once-in-a-lifetime way but to pace myself and enjoy what I can manage easily. So while it would have been nice to take photos with my good camera, I chose not to carry it around, and instead experimented with the camera on my new phone. I’ve learned that although the zoom seems tempting, it’s generally not worth it for me, because I don’t get clear enough pictures. Also, it doesn’t do a great job of high-contrast bright sunlight – this may improve if I learn more about how to do it.