Capital Ex: Parade kicks off fair

EDMONTON – There’s a lot of history behind the Capital Ex parade. Though the name has changed over the years, the tradition has remained the same.

This year marks the 88th running of the Edmonton exhibition parade. The first one started in 1903 and ran until 1929. There were no parades throughout the 1930s and ’40s but it was revived again in 1950 and has been running ever since, making it one of Edmonton’s longest standing traditions.

For 2012, the Capital Ex theme is “cranked up music and pumped up fun,” and the parade will reflect that theme wholeheartedly with a cross-section of music from around Edmonton and across the world. The 2012 edition of the Capital Ex parade will feature 120 entrants, including 25 new ones.

You can expect to see nine balloons, 40 floats, and five marching bands.

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Due to a worldwide helium shortage, the parade will be using cold-air balloons, Tamara Fahlman, public relations representative for Northlands, said in an email.

The balloons will feature many familiar characters such as Nemo and Alice in Wonderland, along with the City of Edmonton’s new balloon. The rest are being kept secret.

New to the parade is Impact Performing Arts Association, a drum core for youths aged 14 to 21 that features a brass band and colour guard.

Established in 2010, Impact is already making waves, having recently been named official band of local soccer team FC Edmonton.

“We realized that Capital Ex was going to be a really good opportunity for exposure of our new group,” said Stephan McConnell, an administrator with the association. “We heard that the theme was music and said, ‘Well we’ve got to enter.’ “

Right now the band has 20 members but is looking to grow the program to 150.

Also new to the parade this year is St. Michael’s Health Group. They will be showing that their seniors still have the music in them. The group has constructed models of a radio and an iPod and will play music along the parade route.

Another new entrant is Martin Motor Sports. Their float is a mobile beach party that will pump music from a boat’s speaker system along the parade route.

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Returning to the parade for the 49th time is Edmonton’s Chinese community.

Mei Hung, president of Chinese Benevolent Association of Edmonton, said their contribution this year will be a dragon-themed float that will carry performers as four teams of lion dancers orbit the moving stage. More than 100 people will participate. After 49 appearances the Chinese community has become a staple of the parade. “We have pictures of the float going back to ’53,” Hung said.

This year’s parade marshal is Motown legend Jack Ashford, a member of the Funk Brothers. He is best known for his work as a jazz tambourinist and vibraphone player who worked with legends such as Marvin Gaye, The Supremes, The Temptations, Stevie Wonder, and many more of Motown’s greats.

What else can you expect at the 2012 Capital Ex parade? The biggest thing is music.

First Truck Centre’s entry will have a live band.

Edmonton International Airport’s entry features singing performances by Keltie Monagham and Sarah Menzak from Cooper Vocal Performance School. The Kinette Club of Edmonton will show off their Canadian pride by singing O Canada throughout the parade.

There will also be a large number of roving performers, including stilt walkers, balloon artists and musicians.

As for the rest, Northlands is keeping that under wraps for now. To find out, you’ll have to go see for yourself. Global News will be airing the parade live on our channel, as well as streaming the Capital Ex parade on our website.


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