Things to Know Before You Go: the Servus Heritage Festival

Event: The Servus Heritage Festival
Where: Hawrelak Park (Edmonton River Valley)
When: July 30 – August 1, 2016

The Servus Heritage Festival is one of Edmonton’s most popular outdoor summer festival, giving Edmontonians a chance to experience food, music, and culture from around the world. This year marks the festival’s 41st year of celebrating the multicultural mix that makes Alberta so unique.

The three-day celebration features 67 pavilions representing over 85 cultures from around the world displaying their crafts, artwork, plus over 600 food items to sample. Check out what’s on this year’s menu and prices.

On Saturday, July 30, at noon, the Festival will officially begin with a mass singing of “O Canada” with participants singing in their native language. This will be broadcast live by radio station 101.7 World FM. Event organizers also plan to video record. Anyone is welcome to record themselves with their phone singing the anthem anywhere they like and tweet it out with the hashtag #heritagefestocanada. Who knows, maybe your video may be included!

Getting There, and What to Wear

Hawrelak park is located in Edmonton’s river valley, just west of the University of Alberta. Its five-hectare lake, walking trails, and paddle boats make it a gorgeous destination all summer long. But during the Heritage Festival, hundreds of thousands of locals and tourists make their way to Hawrelak, so there is no public parking available in the park during the 3-day event.

Find out where you can park and which transportation options are available at Heritage Festival site. Park your bicycles in either of the AMA Bike Zones, located at both entrances to the park.

And remember, since this is an outdoor event and weather in Edmonton can turn on a dime, you’ll want to be prepared so bring a hat, sunscreen, or an umbrella, depending on the forecast.

The Golden (Food) Ticket

The Heritage Festival features a smorgasbord of dishes from around the world — from Aboriginal bison bannock burgers to Welsh bara brith (oven-baked loaf with dried fruit) and almost everything in between. But you can’t just walk up with your cash-in-hand. Sure, food tickets can be purchased on-site, but why not plan to buy them ahead of time to avoid the line-ups (which can get pretty long; even longer on a hot day). That’ll leave you more time for feasting. Food tickets can be purchased in advance at any of these locations.

And if your eyes are bigger than your stomach and you buy more food tickets than you need, donate your leftovers to the Edmonton Food Bank booth before you leave the park. Drop-off bins are located near the park’s exits.

Speaking Of The Edmonton Food Bank

The organization continues to see a record number of people relying on its service. Don’t forget to bring a non-perishable food item to donate — staffed drop-off boxes are located near both entrances to the park. The Heritage Festival is the food bank’s biggest food drive of the year, and they count primarily on the support of the community to help keep shelves fully stocked.

If you’re not sure what to bring, check out their list of most needed items.

Stop By and Say ‘Hi!’

  • Park your bicycle in our designated AMA Bike Zone area and talk to an expert who’ll top up your tires with air, put on loose chains, and tighten loose parts such as handlebars or pedals. Did you know that if you’re an AMA member, you always get exclusive access to our Bike Assist service which is included with every AMA membership?
  • Make sure you stop by the AMA booth for a chance to enter to win a new bike, courtesy of United Cycle. Bring your AMA membership card to receive a bonus entry.
  • There will be mobile charging stations available at the booth as well exclusively for AMA members in case your battery is running low (most likely from taking all those pictures at the festival). All you’ll need to do is show your membership card to use them.
  • Check out the Heritage Festival map to find where we will be located and to help plan your visit.

Lastly, what makes the Servus Heritage Festival so successful is because of the great support from all the volunteers who come out to help. There are all kinds of opportunities to choose from. Find out more on how you can get a free t-shirt and hat when you volunteer.

I am an Online Content Specialist from Edmonton at the AMA. Am happiest when it is gloriously gloomy outside.