Edmonton Festivals

July 29, 2015 6:42 pm
Updated: July 29, 2015 9:06 pm

Servus Heritage Festival to celebrate 40th anniversary this weekend


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EDMONTON — Decades ago, Edmonton’s Heritage Festival was a small, one-day concert in Fort Edmonton. Now it’s a popular and ever-growing food and cultural event at Hawrelak Park.

Organizers of the event say this year – their 40th anniversary – will be no exception.

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The annual festival features food, dance and various performances that represent more than 85 cultures. It gives attendees the opportunity to try things they may not otherwise know to look for. In doing so, they may be compelled to want to better understand the culture from which the item they sampled came from.

“Food is a universal language. There is no question about that,” said Executive Director Jack Little.

“When people understand the food, they have a tendency to understand each other a little bit better.”

Last year, the festival saw a record number of guests, with 350,000 attending over the course of three days. This year, organizers are expecting an even better turnout if the weather is good.

READ MORE: Heritage Festival flirts with record attendance 

“We estimate it’s got to be close to 40 per cent of metro Edmonton who’s coming,” Little said.

The festival runs noon to 9 p.m. on Saturday, August 1, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday, August 2 and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday, August 3.

As always, entrance to the event is free, but a donation for the Edmonton Food Bank is recommended.

This festival is the food bank’s biggest fundraising event. Last year, it collected $50,000 in monetary donations and $50,000 in unused tickets, as well as food items. The group is hoping to have the same high level of support this year.

“We really do need the boost,” said Executive Director Marjorie Bencz. “We’ve been under a lot of stress and strain starting in September with an increased amount of people turning to us. We’ve been under a lot of pressure to increase our food supply and we can still provide nutritional food to people in need.”

In addition the usual concerts, performances and pavilions, there will be a few new additions to the festival this year including a heritage history tent, a science program next to the EIA Kidzworld, additional food items and _ new pavilions.

WATCH: “It’s our 40th anniversary and we’re pulling out all the stops.” Executive Director of the Heritage Festival Jack Little gives us the scoop.

Heritage History Tent
The Heritage History Tent will feature a visual look back at the festival’s history and retrace how it went from a one-day concert to the celebration of multiculturalism it is known as today. It will be at the core of the Festival Grounds.

Science program
A science program facilitated by the University of Alberta Science Outreach Program will be located next to the EIA Kidzworld this year.

New food items
There will be over 60 new food items to choose from at the festival this year including: Chicken Red Curry from Cambodia, Dovga soup from Azerbaijan, Patatje Oolong (a type of Dutch poutine), Moroccan Tfaya couscous and Turkish-style pizza.

New Pavilions
Last year, 60 pavilions representing more than 85 cultures were on the grounds. These pavilions included: Arab, Caribbean, Chile, Philippines, Germany, India, Ireland, Japan, Korea, Scandinavia, and Wales.
This year, Haiti, Lebanon, Morocco, Rwanda and South Soudan will be represented as well.

Discounted food items
The food at the Servus Heritage Festival is about to become even more affordable. On top of the option to buy 30 tickets for $25, 38 countries are having 40 per cent discounts at different intervals during the three days. The discounts will be announced on-location via special pavilion signs and on Twitter.

To put that into perspective, the items available at the festival cost between one ticket to 12 tickets.  A full list of foods, along with their descriptions and prices, as well as an interactive map of the grounds will be on this smartphone-compatible app.

If you’d like to purchase food tickets in advance to avoid line ups, click here.


© 2015 Shaw Media

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