I think that Edmontonians may love summer more than anyone else. Perhaps it is because of our long, cold winters. Or maybe it is because of all of the fun things going on around the city. Whatever the reason, summers in Edmonton are pretty wonderful. Actually, I should revise that, life in Edmonton is pretty wonderful.
At the end of my post on Woodwork I said that Edmonton is a city that we shouldn’t be afraid to be proud of and that it almost feels like a new city. Since then, I’ve discussed this thought with a lot of different people. There is a new energy that has been growing in this city over the past few years. There is an excitement and feeling in the air that I can’t quite put my finger on, but I know it’s there. There is a large population of people here who really want to make the most of our city and show off everything it has to offer. Which is, in fact, a lot.
Over the past month I have had the chance to take in a handful of some of the wonderful events going on around this beautiful city. And since I am a little behind on posting (what’s new about that) I thought I would consolidate it all into one big, awesome, super-post.
Yelp’s Ultimate Science Fair at the Telus World of Science
About a month ago I was invited to attend the Taste of Edmonton’s 30th Anniversary Party at Yelp’s Ultimate Science Fair hosted at the Telus World of Science’s Dark Matters evening. Dark Matters is an adults only event put on by the Telus World of Science, every couple of months or so. It follows in the foot steps of other adults only events at other locations throughout the city, including the awesome Refinery Late Night Art Parties at the AGA and Museum After Dark at the Royal Alberta Museum.
For this event Yelp and Taste of Edmonton were partnering to put on a special Dark Matters evening celebrating 30 years of Taste of Edmonton. The event was awesome, my friend, Ivy, and I, both had a really good time. A bunch of the Taste of Edmonton restaurants were there providing samples of their delicious food, in fact, there was so much food there we had to really pace ourselves. I think, surprisingly, the best thing I tried ended up being the Green Onion Cake from the Hong Kong Bakery. So fluffy, oily and delicious!
Other non-food vendors were also featured at the event; mini manicures, a braid bar and the very popular balloon artists. We of course took the opportunity to get our nails done and I procured a set of lovely, balloon fairy wings.
The entire venue was open for us to explore and we had a great time wandering through the exhibits. The staff was all excellent, going out of their way to explain their stations and get everyone involved. The event was really well organized and it was so much fun to get out to the Telus World of Science and explore the exhibits again. If the other Dark Matters events are anything like this one, I really recommend checking them out.
A big thank you to Jennie and all the other Yelpers for putting on such a wonderful event!
Dîner En Blanc
I think I first heard about Dîner en Blanc on Facebook. At first glance the event seemed really interesting; a large group of people, all dressed in white, meeting somewhere beautiful for an outdoor picnic. I signed up for the waiting list and, to be honest, kind of forgot about it. When I received the e-mail inviting me to purchase tickets, I did a little reading up on the event and the detailed rules were actually a little intimidating! Participants were expected to bring their own white chairs, tables, white table-cloth and napkins. All while dressed in white. Not ivory, not cream, white. The rules seemed pretty intense, but I decided that it would be fun to attend, just to see what it was all about.
We ended up renting our linens and chairs from Special Event Rentals and my parents had a card table that I borrowed. That worked out pretty well, but we still had to haul everything to the buses ourselves.
Unfortunately the weather decided not to co-operate that day and it ended up being grey, a little chilly and rainy. Laura and I spent the night before the event and our lunch hour on the day-of frantically searching for a white or clear umbrella or poncho, but couldn’t find anything. Luckily we ran into some very kind friends who lent us their umbrellas at the event, so we weren’t just sitting miserably in the rain.
The secret location ended up being Louise McKinney Park, which was a beautiful venue. And it was pretty spectacular to see everyone in white, enjoying a lovely outdoor picnic. Yes, the event was a little pretentious, I mean I wouldn’t have been surprised to overhear someone discussing the “sandalwood undertones” of their wine, but it was still a lot of fun. And sometimes fun events require a little effort and in the end, it really was about being a part of the spectacle.
I also hope the organizers work to make next year’s event a little bit smoother. The overall organization and direction could have been better and it really would be SO much better if the tables, chairs and linens were already set up at the venue. I’d rather pay for that and not have to haul it myself. Oh, and maybe consider ordering clear ponchos for everyone. I am sure there must be a bulk discount and with Edmonton’s summers… it’s probably a good idea.
Taste of Edmonton
After attending the Taste of Edmonton’s 30th Anniversary event, I was really excited to visit Taste of Edmonton this year. While talking to the vendors I had learned that Taste of Edmonton was really going to focus on providing small portions for fewer tickets. Finally! For the past few years I had been getting more and more frustrated as portions and the number of tickets to buy those portions kept increasing! After all I wanted a taste, not a meal!
The layout of the event seemed to have improved, as everything appeared to be more spread out. This meant, despite the large crowds, it didn’t feel as claustrophobic as it has in previous years. I also liked how the Sip ‘n’ Savour tent was more central this year, right in the middle of the festival, at the back of the beer gardens. (And I actually I was fortunate enough to attend the Alberta Beef Night at the Sip ‘n’ Savour tent, which I’ll be discussing in a separate post).
With most of the offerings costing 3 or 4 tickets, 40 tickets split between 2 people ended up being more than enough for us to taste all sorts of delicious morsels. I really had such a great time at Taste of Edmonton and I am so happy to see that the event organizers took feedback from previous years to make this year’s festival so great!
I think my favourite of the night had to be the Duck Tots from Atilla the Hungry. Crispy Tater Tots topped with tender braised duck legs, lime Sriracha sauce, Hoisen aioli, and a combination of green onion, cilantro, and peanuts on top… so delicious!
There is so much going on in Edmonton these days that it can be hard to keep up. And as a blogger sometimes I feel like I can’t stay on top of all of the great restaurants and events I attend! It really feels like Edmonton is an exciting place to be these days. I was talking with my friend Lana and she likened how Edmonton is to Calgary, is similar to what Portland is to Seattle. Sometimes, by necessity, the “little sister” cities end up having to pave their own way and by doing so create their own unique, exciting culture and become really awesome cities.
I am really proud to be an Edmontonian and I can’t wait to see how this gorgeous city continues to grow and develop!
Looking for some fun summer events in August? Some of the best are yet to come! Check out:
- Heritage Festival (August 2-4)
- The Fringe (August 14-24)
- What the Truck!? (August 16)
- Dark Matters: Aliens and Cowboys (August 28)
- Slow Food Edmonton Patio Party (August 23)
- Latitude 53 Patio (every Thursday)