Style of Edmonton is again to regular on Churchill Sq.
Breadcrumb Trail links
The fest runs July 21-31, 11 am to 11 pm each and every day, rain or shine
Photo by David Bloom /Postmedia
This might surprise you, but last year’s socially-distanced version of Taste of Edmonton actually had a substantially greater number of attendees than 2019’s — some 20,000 extra people.
While there is any number of reasons for this — that mob twitch of being pandemic shut in for too long; the core lunch rush missing from the festival’s temporary location at the Legislature — some 241,000 people came down to Churchill for the nosh, drinks and a tiny little bit of music on a modest ground-level stage running local musicians.
This year, however, the full juggernaut (including the full stage and nightly programming) is back, including 52 restaurants, caterers, beverage, dessert and alcohol vendors — 10 of them food trucks, newly located on a closed-off 100 Street west of Churchill Square dubbed Wheels on 100th.
The fest runs July 21-31, 11 am to 11 pm each and every day, rain or shine.
Following a tradition going back to the festival’s founding in 1984, a potential tidal wave of curry, churros, cheesecake, sushi, perogies, flurries, bubble tea, meat on a bun, meat on a stick and that ubiquitous pair of ever-changing balls of various ingredients fused together into the delicious is all yours for the swallowing.
“We’ve got 11 new restaurant partners this year,” notes Donovan Vienneau, general manager of Events Edmonton, the non-profit that puts on taste. “We also have three new food truck partners.
“Other than that, we’ve got 150 menu items, and 65 of those items are brand new with our new partners, and also existing restaurant partners that have shaken their menus up a little bit.”
Vienneau notes two very important facts here: ticket prices haven’t gone up, and most booths have at least one low-budget option.
“We know how hard everybody’s being hit in this economy,” says the organizer, “so we left our pricing alone on our full sheet.
“Last year was also the first year of the implementation of the two-ticket menu items. So we went to all our restaurant partners and said, ‘Guys, we want you on the affordability side,’ and everyone accepted it with open arms.”
A sheet, or 40 tickets, runs $69.50 — just under $1.73 a ticket.
“And so, for a full sheet of tickets, you can potentially get 20 menu items.”
As with the 2021 edition, as the festival is gated and head-counted, you can wander with alcohol around the entire site — something we’ll also be seeing at the folk fest this year.
“It’s less volatile, where you don’t have a traditional beer garden where people are crushing beers three or four at a time,” Vienneau notes, “maybe when the weather is really hot, so perhaps their alcohol tolerance goes down and then they forget to eat,” he says, “even at a food festival.
“This really has opened the door to less restrictions. For us as an organization, it’s eliminated a lot of the headaches surrounding the liquor side of things.”
Alcohol tickets — depending on what your liquid jam is — range from five to eight tickets, or $8.69 to $13.90 (this is the Moscow Mule, where you can keep the glass).
Leftover tickets, by the way, can be donated back to the festival at the information center or any gate for a good cause. “All that money is added up and collected and then we issue a check to the Edmonton Community Foundation.”
Last year the festival and events Edmonton raised over $100,000.
“This is what dreams are about for us as non-profit people,” Vienneau says.
Not to play favorites (though we will be posting Taste of Edmonton food reviews this and next week), the entire list of vendors and their food is at the 2022 meu at tasteofedm.ca/food, including a very handy map.
“We’re really going to have something for everybody,” says Vienneau.
Taste of Edmonton
Where Churchill Square
When 11 am – 11 pm, July 21-31