Posts Tagged ‘festivals’

Canada Day 2011

Tomorrow is Canada Day!  Parks Canada is celebrating by offering free admission to all National Parks!  If you can, and you live in Alberta, go and check out Banff National Park, Jasper National Park, Wood Buffalo National Park (I’ve never been there, but want to go some day), or Waterton National Park.  There will be a variety of Canada Day activities/festivities scheduled in the towns of Banff and Jasper, and I would imagine also in Waterton and Lake Louise.  If you’re not in Alberta, go and check out whatever park is closest to you.  There are so many beautiful parks and places in this vast Nation!  There is little reason (aside from fuel cost…) not to take advantage of these wonderful spaces for free for one day.

Just be aware that it is likely to be very busy on the roads and on the trails.  With all the people on the trails, it is less likely that wildlife – especially bears – would come anywhere close.  That said, they are hungry for berries and other goodies, and so are (as always) unpredictable.

If you see wildlife on the side of the roads, the best thing to do is to admire it/them as you pass by.  If you must get some photos, please pull completely off the road!  Staying in your car is always the best, but if you must get out, stay next to your vehicle.  It is not recommended to approach wildlife under any circumstances, even to get that “one awesome shot”!

Under absolutely no circumstance should you feed the wildlife.  This horrible practice can result in death for whatever animal falls victim.

Elsewhere…

The cities of Calgary, Edmonton, Red Deer, and Lethbridge all have a variety of festivities planned.  I believe that there are also activities planned in the Crowsnest Pass, and probably many other towns across the province.

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Crowsnest Pass Festivities

Well it’s coming up on summer again, and that means festival season.  One of my new favourites is Rum Runner Days and Thunder in the Valley, down in the Crowsnest Pass in south-western Alberta.  If you check out the listed web sites, you will find there is lots to do.

Last year I went with friends for the day to check out the Thunder.  The worst part of it was leaving after the show.  We didn’t get home until about 05:30 the next morning (see here).  I’m vowing not to do that again, so was planning to spend a couple nights camping in the area.  I’m just hoping that I can make it down there early enough one morning to get a spot, otherwise I might be sleeping in the car on the highway (done it before; don’t want to do it again).

Anyway, aside from camping (and therefore, partying), as I said, there is a ton to do down there.  The following is a short listing of potential activities for the whole family to enjoy.  I’m sure there is much more to do as well.

Now I just have to see if I can actually make it down there or if I have to miss the whole thing.

Whatever you do, though, don’t forget the sunscreen and DEET-based insect repellent (just don’t apply them both at the same time, as many sunscreens are known to increase the rate at which DEET is absorbed into the skin – check out the Environmental Working Group’s sunscreen database to determine if yours is safe).

Global Fest 2010 Finale

GlobalfestThe 2010 edition of Calgary’s Globalfest multicultural festival and fireworks competition was a smashing success.  For the first time I can remember, though, we experienced not one but two weather postponements.

The countries of Germany, Spain, Italy, and Portugal presented spectacular pyrotechnical displays set to music at Elliston Park in southeast Calgary.  As usual, though, the Finale was the busiest and most spectacular of any.  The intensity of the final presentation was beyond comparison – the sky filled with fire, glittering and fluttering down to the ground.  I took my camera and tripod and managed to capture some really nice 5-MP photos (10-MP images take too long to save), which I’ll be posting to my flickr account.

Go With the Flow!

Bow River FlowThe 2010 edition of the Bow River Flow is on Sunday August 22.  It’s a celebration of human-powered transportation, running from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM.

The two south lanes (eastbound) of Memorial Drive will be closed to motorized traffic from 3 Street NW to 9 Street NW.  Instead, this stretch will be open only to human-powered transportation.  So you can walk, roll, bike, skate, hop, run, jog, to your heart’s content.  Just don’t try to drive your motor vehicle there.  In fact, it would be best to leave your car at home and take transit down instead.

The Bow River Flow is a celebration of healthy active lifestyles – a non-commercialized, non-motorized celebration where one day of the week we share the road and allow excess lanes to be enjoyed by people in a safe, car-free environment.

Of course, Calgary City Council had a big fight over this idea last year.  Area Alderman Druh Farrell’s original idea was to close part of Memorial Drive to motorized traffic for every Sunday in August.  Then the shit hit the fan.  Much had to do with the way Ms. Farrell brought this in.  There was  also a lot of bitching and complaining that it would interfere with traffic, slowing things down too much on Memorial Drive.  People really need to get out of their cars and trucks every once in a while, and go for a walk.  Unfortunately, all many Calgarians could think about was how it would (or might) inconvenience them.  Eventually, it was agreed to have this not on every Sunday in August, but on only one Sunday in August.

So no matter what you think of the way this event came to be, it is important to get  out there and have some fun.  Go play with your friends and family along the banks of the Bow River.  Go enjoy the free entertainment that is lined up for this year’s event.  Just  go.  Perhaps a brand new Council will be elected this October.  One that is capable of making a decision.  Perhaps then, within a couple years, the Bow River Flow Festival will happen each and every Sunday in August.  One can dream.

Marda Gras Festival

I went to the Marda Gras Street Festival in Marda Loop today to help with Naheed Nenshi’s mayoral campaign.  Unfortunately it rained for about two hours, but after that it was quite nice.  The sun even made an appearance and warmed things up a bit.  I had never been to Marda Gras before, so was a little surprised that it was basically local businesses vying to hock their wares.  Unlike at Kensington’s Sun and Salsa Festival, there were no street performers or such there to entertain the crowds.  On the up-side, there seemed to be a stronger “green” presence, with Green Calgary, MEC, Don’t Be A Tosser, and a couple other organizations there.  Overall it was a good time, but quite honestly there is not as much to do there as at other street festivals I’ve been to.

A Different Kind of Festival

I heard about a different kind of festival this afternoon on The Homestretch on CBC Radio One.  It’s called the Choose Yer Own (CYO) Festival and is running from August 5-8 in Calgary.  Check out the schedule (PDF) and also the event descriptions for a more concrete understanding of what’s going on.  As a teaser, though, there are ghost tours, ghost songs, toddler dance-offs, 16 mm movie nights, and much more.  Enjoy.

Kensington Sun & Salsa Festival

Today was the 17th annual Sun and Salsa Festival in Kensinton Village in Calgary.  What a day!  The streets were packed with salsa-loving party-goers, trying different salsas presented by various Kensington businesses, as well as from some of the mayoral candidates.  My candidate, Naheed Nenshi, did not participate in the salsa competition, choosing instead to focus on talking to Calgarians.

There really were only two horrible salsas that I tasted today (this is my opinion only).  One was made by Druh Farrell, the other by Kent Hehr.  Druh’s had far too much lime in it, while Kent’s looked like a kind of paste , or ambrosia salad.  It was truly one of the strangest salsas I’ve ever seen or tasted.  But what the heck – nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Overall, it was a fabulous day.  Street performers entertained.  Bands performed, contests were held, winners selected, and business was done.  Oh, and the sun was the star of the show!  Unfortunately, my camera’s batteries died part way through one street performer’s show, but I will put what I was able to get on Flickr soon.  Hopefully I will get a pro account so I don’t have to deal with the 100-MB per month upload limit.