Edmonton’s growing population helping local festival

People filled the Servus Heritage Festival in nearly record numbers this year, Monday, August 4, 2014. Global News

EDMONTON – The 39th annual Servus Heritage Festival is being deemed a major success by those responsible for putting the event together.

Organizers estimate 360,000 to 380,000 people attended this year’s festival, which is equal to last year’s record breaking number.

“Day one and day two were on par with last year. Day three looks like it’s going to be on par too,” said Jack Little, Servus Heritage Festival Executive Director.

Sixty pavilions filled Hawrelak Park for this year’s festival.

Little believes there is still room to grow the quality of the event but not the size.

“People want to add an extra tent in here, and they got to realize we’re in a park, and we have trees and stones and roads. So that’s been a huge problem. So the growth has really stymied now. We’re pretty well finished growing.”

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Little said festival-goers did their part to make it a more enjoyable experience this year by purchasing tickets in advance which helped them avoid long lines.

“They seemed to have really smartened-up.”

The three day festival also serves as the largest donation drive for Edmonton’s Food Bank, and the organization believes they surpassed their donation goal of 50,000 kilograms of food.

“People tend to think of us at Christmas or festive times of the year, but the need for Food Bank services is all year round. So the food that’s collected at this particular event helps stabilize us, provide us with those non perishable food items that we need heading into the fall,” said Marjorie Bencz, Edmonton Food Bank.

Planning has already begun for next year’s Servus Heritage Festival which will mark the 40th edition.