Edmonton is a vibrant city with a rich history and plenty of attractions for families, but one of the things that makes Edmonton an especially attractive family destination is its many events and festivals. Recently I visited the city to experience some of those special events for myself and I was lucky enough to attend not just one but two of the city’s top summer festivals.
Foodie Indulgence at Taste of Edmonton
Taste of Edmonton is the city’s yearly celebration of the many fabulous restaurants and food trucks in Edmonton. The festival runs for ten days and patrons can purchase food tickets for the event in advance. While Taste of Edmonton features free admission and entertainment, tickets are purchased and traded to sample the delectable fare offered.
From the moment I stepped into Sir Winston Churchill Square, which is conveniently located right in the heart of downtown Edmonton, I fell in love with this concept. Delectable cuisine of every imaginable variety was being sold in both small and large sizes so that I could either pace myself and sample as many dishes as possible or indulge in that one special favourite I might find. One of the big appeals of this event for me was that it was family-friendly. I have been to other similar tasting festivals in the past and often children aren’t even admitted since local beer and wine brewers also take part. While Taste of Edmonton did have a special section for alcoholic beverages, the main areas and food stands were open to food connoisseurs of all ages.
The hard part about attending this festival is knowing where to start. After letting the tempting aromas taunt me for a few minutes, I decided to try some mouth-watering Butter Chicken from the popular Indian restaurant Khazana. It was absolutely phenomenal and may very well have been my favourite dish of the event. To my delight, my usually picky boys stretched their own boundaries as well and chose Chinese-style Dry Spicy Chicken Wings from The Lingnan for themselves. Even better, they both loved the dish!
Over the next few days, we visited the grounds regularly to sample a few more dishes and see what new favourites we could find. Chicken curry, vegetable samosas, dry ribs, green onion cake…and we’d still only sampled a few of the culinary delights offered. No wonder the event runs for ten days! Our final dish before leaving Taste of Edmonton for the last time was a decadent Chocolate Lava Cake with Raspberry Sorbet from Hong Kong Bakery. As beautifully presented as it was delicious, it was a fitting end to our festival experience.
Family Fun at K-Days
Just one day after the launch of the Taste of Edmonton festival marked the launch of the incredibly popular K-Days Festival, Edmonton’s annual summer fair. The event kicks off with a parade and of course, my boys were eager to see the event. The parade route wound through downtown Edmonton and was within walking distance from our room at the Sutton Place Hotel, so we headed over to join the crowd and get ready for the fun.
The city float and other inflatables weren’t flying this year due to concerns about possible bad weather, but that didn’t sink anyone’s spirits as kid-friendly favourites including Finding Nemo and Kermit the Frog went rolling by. My car-crazy boys loved the race cars and motorbikes featured in the parade and I couldn’t get enough of the various high-energy marching bands and adorable miniature train from the Camrose Chamber of Commerce.
After the parade, it was time to visit K-Days itself! While the rides and midway games, of course, are always a big part of the appeal for children, the exhibit halls are always my favourite place to visit. K-Days had stunning displays and special events set up in the indoor halls of the Edmonton EXPO Centre including Kids Town, an area especially for children. Letting my boys play in large sandboxes, ride John Deere tricycles and watch a live performance of Thomas & Friends was a great alternative to standing in long ride lines and both boys had a blast.
K-Days also features a variety of live performances included with the general admission and this year Burton Cummings and Colin James were among the many performers that took to the stage. Art exhibits, sports experiences and “blast from the past” adventures including panning for gold rounded out the fun, ensuring that everyone would be sure to leave K-Days with a smile. And after working up an appetite exploring, it was time to spoil ourselves with the city’s most tender and succulent ribs at K-Days Rib Fest!
Future Must-Attend Events
Taste of Edmonton and K-Days may be over for the year, but Edmonton isn’t known as Canada’s Festival City just for those! Tomorrow marks the launch of the highly acclaimed Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival and over the next two months, the city will play host to many other events including the Edmonton Latin Festival, the Kaleido Family Arts Festival and Alberta Culture Days.
There is so much to see and do in Edmonton that a family could certainly have a great time only visiting permanent attractions such as the Edmonton Valley Zoo and the Royal Alberta Museum, but if your family is taking a trip, make sure you check the festival schedule as well! These exclusive events are lots of fun, often free of charge and will help make your trip to this beautiful prairie city even more special!