Today is the last day of my summer vacation. No one cares? That is okay, I am well rested and excited about heading back to work. This summer I set a goal for myself. Happily I achieved it! It was my intent that I would attend as many Edmonton Festivals as possible. Edmonton has a bit of a reputation for being Festival City. All year-long, right here in River City, there are many fantastic festivals and some that are just meh. This Summer I was able to attend 9. That meant heading out every weekend and trying something new. I went with family and friends, or brought my children and I even went solo on occasion.
It was an import goal for me because I didn’t want to waste my summer. In years past, I have over planned my vacation, enjoyed every minute during the usual 10 days away, then came home a floated in the pool. It sounds much more glamorous than it really is. My pool is a 32″ deep wadding pool. Just big enough for me to float on an air mattress, have my standard issue beverage with paper umbrella perched on the side, and read one book or more a week. Last summer it was 15 books. This summer it was 2.
Now if you have read my past blogs dear reader, then you know that I don’t consider reading to be a waste of time. But I always felt I could do more with my days other than clean and organize my linen closet. Don’t get me wrong, I did that too, but I wanted to explore this great city I live in. And I did that.
When I was small, Edmonton didn’t have as many festivals, but the ones we had were so amazing! The biggest and Best was called Klondike Days. I know you are thinking – the Klondike was in the Yukon not Edmonton! True. Edmonton was known as the “gateway to the Klondike” the Alaska highway is just down the road and for the longest time Edmonton was the last major city to get supplies before heading north. So that’s how we called it Klondike Days.
Klondike Days had 10 days of bizarre and fun activities as well as a midway. There was everything from Bathtub races down Jasper Avenue to the Sourdough Raft races on the North Saskatchewan River. Sunday was the Promenade. Jasper Avenue would close down for the afternoon and people would dress up in their Klondike finery and stroll dawn the street parading around like peacocks with feathers in the lady’s hair and straw hats on the gents heads. Thinking about it now seems unbelievable that people would take the time and effort to do this. Shop owners would paint their store windows with Klondike themed pictures, the city would use Klondike dollars for currency during the 10 days.
The year I was 4, my mom made matching pink Klondike dresses and hand bags for me, her sister and herself. I felt like a princess! We went downtown and walked with the hundreds of other people in their Klondike attire. Stopping to look at booths set up for the street fair. People would stop and compliment us on our gowns. I loved every minute of it! If you weren’t dressed up there was a chance that you would be thrown into the Klondike jail and would have to be bailed out. That terrified me, so I was secretly glad we had the pretty pink dresses.
I couldn’t be bothered with all of that costuming now, and I am sure no one else can either, which is largely the reason for the festival to be changed in the first place. Now it is just Capital Ex. A non descriptive midway carnival with not a lot of other things going on during that week. Thankfully there are other festivals with flair and flash that make festival season here fun.
I am thankful that my mom thought it was important to get out and explore the world where you live. It has brought a richer sense of community into my life and I appreciate home after traveling. It makes me feel like Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz, “There’s No Place Like Home”. I am trying to bring that sense to my children and hope they carry fun and crazy memories with them into their adult lives.
This summer I learned that to be a tourist in your own life, you really need to take the time to get to explore and discover your surroundings in order to better understand your personal journey.