Monday, August 06, 2007

Some Thoughts after the Heritage Festival in Edmonton

So, today we spent 5 hours walking around Hawrelak Park in Edmonton at the annual Heritage Festival. It was a wonderful afternoon for a number of reasons.

1. 75 ethnic groups had displays including crafts and artifacts, food booths and cultural performances. Living in the Phoenix area where 70% of the people are white, 25% Hispanic and 5% "other", it was wonderful to see so many people with different colors, music, languages, traditions and experiences. Our family misses that kind of cultural diversity.

2. There was virtually no commercialism at the event. There were only a couple of businesses that had booths (in out of the way places). So unlike a festival we attended in Colorado Springs in June that was essentially businesses trying to sell you stuff -- even though the event was billed as a city wide celebration. This was an event celebrating the cultural heritages of the people of Edmonton. Wonderful!

3. There was virtually no garbage around. People used the garbage cans. They recycled drink containers. Each booth had people volunteering to pick up garbage that may have dropped. The park was clean -- and there were over 50,000 people there!

4. No cars were allowed. The city provided transportation to the park. The only mode of transportation other than city buses or walking to the festival were bicycles -- and there was a bike park available that was supervised.

5. There were only a few police officers around. Apparently you don't need police when 50,000 people come to celebrate each other's heritage!

6. The event was FREE! The only "admission" was a suggested donation to the city food bank.

7. The weather was just right -- about +25 (mid-70's for Americans).

All around a great day at a great event.

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