by Matthew Levine
(AJNews) – Edmonton’s 50th annual Heritage Festival will be held August 5 -7. This year’s festivities have been relocated from the usual location (Hawrelak Park) and will now be celebrated at Exhibition Lands, Expo West Lot, and Borden Park. Our city’s heritage will be celebrated through over fifty pavilions and twenty-five performance stages representing more than sixty countries and cultures. Food bank donations from festival attendees are encouraged in the form of non-perishable food items or cash.
The new and improved Israeli pavilion is back and better than ever. It will be open Sunday August 6 and Monday August 7 and will include many more elements this year through the generosity of the Linetsky family and PosterTech, the (MARG) grant from the Alberta Government, and all of Jewish Federation of Edmonton’s work in setting up and organizing the pavilion.
The pavilion is designed to celebrate Israeli culture and innovation and promote cultural and cross-cultural awareness and understanding. Volunteers from the community work at the pavilion each year to make it a fun experience for everyone.
New information and interactive experiences will be offered in the pavilion as well as fun activities like an archaeological dig where visitors search through layers of sand to discover objects from Israel’s past.
“This is a fun and educational way for us to showcase Israel in a unique way and show the continuity of the Jewish people in the land of Israel for thousands of years,” remarked Jay Cairns, Heritage Days Coordinator for Jewish Federation of Edmonton.
They also worked with a VR company to showcase some of Israel’s technological innovations. Visitors will have a unique immersive experience using VR goggles to explore 3D models of technology made by Israeli companies.
“I’m fairly certain we will be the only pavilion with a virtual reality element, I love that we’re doing something innovative to showcase Israeli innovation,” said Jay.
There have also been adjustments to the food provided at the Israeli Pavilion. VISH is providing traditional Israeli dishes such as Hummus, Falafel and Shawarma pita pockets, Israeli salad, fries and Malabi for dessert. Israeli swag and goodies will also be available for purchase.
“Heritage Days is a massive production, and we really go all in,” concluded Jay. “I encourage everybody in the community to come out and support the event. There is something for everyone.”
The Heritage Festival will be accessible through transit, cab/uber, and personal vehicles. ETS is increasing its Capital Line LRT service through Heritage Day’s duration, and bus routes 8 and 53 running to the Colosseum Transit Center will have their services extended as well. Normal transit fairs still apply, and the Edmonton Heritage Festival recommends getting tickets in advance.
Most personal transit services such as uber or taxi will use Borden Park west parking lot as their drop-off location, but Co-op Taxi’s will drop off passengers at the parking lot south of the Spectrum Building. Paid parking will be available at the Edmonton Expo Center lot and will cost $15 per entry. Parking on residential streets could result in your vehicle being tagged and towed.
The Israel Pavilion is located in the racetrack infield at Borden Park.
Matthew Levine is a Local Journalism Initiative Reporter.