January 22, 2018 4:38 pm
Updated: May 1, 2018 7:52 pm

Edmonton prepares for the 2018 Grey Cup

Grey Cup announcement in Edmonton, June 5, 2017.

Fletcher Kent, Global News

The Edmonton Eskimos set the Grey Cup standard in 2010 when it took only six days to sell out the CFL‘s biggest game. Since then other host cities have been trying to hit the same bar.

Then Eskimos president Rick Lelacheurthe made the sellout announcement on the first day of training camp.

It’s seven Grey Cups later and that record still stands.

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That year became known as the best Grey Cup ever and raised the bar for the following years in Vancouver, Toronto, Regina,Winnipeg and all the way to last year in Ottawa.

READ MORE: Edmonton officially named 2018 Grey Cup host city

Duane Vienneau is back on the Grey Cup committee from 2010 and the executive director of the 2018 festival says, going into the 2018 event, the success of the 2010 event is something they’re going to try and replicate.

“We felt that, in the last decade, Edmonton 2010 and the 100th in Toronto were two pillar events and we thought Ottawa landed in that area with this last Grey Cup. They did a great job.” Vienneau said.

“We compare ourselves to ’10. We thought we did a very good job in 2010 and people have told us that. So why don’t we try to do a better job than we did in ’10? Our vision in 2010 was to run the best Grey Cup ever. So our goal in 2018 is to have the best best Grey Cup ever.”

If you are going to be better, you have to be different. That is not lost on Vienneau who says with Churchill Square closed for LRT construction, the festival site had to be moved.

Vienneau is taking the 2018 Grey Cup Festival to the streets. To be more precise, avenue, as in Jasper Avenue. “We are shutting down between 99 street and 96 street on Jasper in front of the Shaw overlooking the river valley.”

The favourites from 2010 will return, but Vienneau says things will be bigger and better.

“Where we left off in’10 is where we are starting in ’18. We are bringing back the football field with turf and uprights. We will have programming from basically 11 in the morning to 11 at night, we have our entertainment stage with a headliner at 9 p.m. every day.”

READ MORE: 3 Edmonton festivals want extra money to relocate from Churchill Square in 2018

One of the big draws in 2010 was the zip line. It’s back for 2018 and it will have much more of a wow factor this time around.

“It will start at the top on Jasper Avenue and go into the river valley,” Vienneau said.

“We want to do things bigger and better that will compliment all that, we can’t really talk about it yet, but they are coming”

What about ticket sales? Viennueau says they are ahead of the pace from 2010 via Eskimos season seat holders and hopes that the six day record could fall after 2018 tickets go on sale June 1.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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