Travel Alberta Domestic

July 08, 2011 13:24 ET

Absolutely Alberta: More Than You Can Imagine

EDMONTON, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - July 8, 2011) - The sun is blazing hot, so you pull your cowboy hat down just a smidge as you lie back and get ready to get your country on at the Big Valley Jamboree in Camrose (July 28-31). And as the clapping and "yeehaws" grow louder and louder, the performer walks onto the massive stage. You play it cool for a second, but then getting caught up in the wave of excitement throw your hat in the air let out a holler as the first guitar note pierces the air. (1.888.404.1234)

The sun is going down behind Shaw Millennium Park, but it's still warm. You're surrounded by hundreds of avid jazz fans. The murmur of the crowd dies down when a lone performer starts blowing a sax under the lights on stage. He's good. Real good. Then he's joined by a guitar and slowly the drums come in, and now they're mashing together in just one of many sublime moments of the blues at the 7th annual Calgary International Blues Festival from August 1-7.

The boom of the first fireworks of the night fills the clear late July Edmonton sky. You're on the midway at the Capital Ex and after a day of rides, games, the Chuckwagon Derby and maybe a little bit too much sun, you're happy to take a moment to finish off the last of your mini-donuts and marvel at the nightly crescendo. From all the "oohs" and "ahhs", you're obviously not alone. The Ex goes for 10 days, from July 22-31, and this year you've decided to try to make each one, if your stomach holds out. But hey, it's only once a year.

Arriving on the scene at Edmonton's Hawrelak Park during Heritage Days, your senses are immediately overwhelmed with the colourful sights, sounds and smells of exotic cultures. So much so that for a second you're stunned like a deer in the headlights. Where do you start? There's almost too much. Just then, you pick up the scent of spiced samosas being offered up for tasting. Problem solved. It's going to be a great day. (780.488.3378)

You're in the middle of a real old-time stately mansion's estate. Wandering through Lougheed House Gardens that recreate the floral themes of the early 1900s, you can almost hear the string quartet playing for the early leaders of the Calgary society set. You can picture the first generation of Lougheeds sipping juleps as they leisurely strolled together through the meticulously planned and kept flower beds, wearing their finest Sunday whites, all the while debating the future of what was yet to be Alberta. (403.244.6333)

You've been training for this moment for weeks. An extra kilometer on a run here, another 15 minutes on the treadmill there. You've got your stretchy pants and you skipped breakfast on the trip to Vegreville, for Dine Kalyna, (Aug 4) the yearly Ukrainian gourmet food festival. It's you versus nine chefs, 17 local food producers, and an amazing array of culturally inspired food. Looking over at a chef preparing wild boar, you give yourself a quick pep talk. "Bring it on". August 4th. (1.888.452.5962)

You wake up on July 16th to be greeted by another sunny Alberta summer morning. Only this day, this Saturday, holds a bit of extra promise. It's Parks Day and you've had it circled for weeks. Your cooler is ready, the food is packed, you bought a new kite and slathered the kids in sunscreen. Today you're going to join people all across the country in a shared experience of getting back to basics by enjoying the simple pleasure of savouring a warm July day in the park.

"This is amazing," you tell yourself as you run your hands along the inside of a birch bark canoe. "It's so light, so delicate to the touch, yet so strong." Here, in the Museum of Aboriginal Art & Artifacts at Portage College in Lac La Biche you're finally getting a real taste for the ingenuity of Canada's Aboriginals, first hand. You're eager for more, so you decide to sign up for a session to try it for yourself. (1.866.623.5551)

You can tell by the raging fight being put up on the end of the line that you've got yourself in more than a little tangle with a Northern Pike here along the Athabasca River. "Gotta be at least 20 pounds," you tell the Reel Angling Adventure guide. You lean back and reel in vigorously, then let him wear out a bit before you do it again. As the feisty Pike leaps out of the water, you swear he looks right at you, sizing you up. He's not giving up just yet. And that's when you're glad you started going back to the gym again a few weeks ago. (1.866.961.3425)

All around you and your kids are ten foot tall sunflowers. But you know that behind those bright cheery blossoms, they're taunting you. You look left, then right, forward, behind. They almost seem to lean in, challenging you to find your way out. You grab you kids' hands and head on. You're not going to be outsmarted by a bunch of overgrown flowers. No siree. Not today. Not here, at the Bowden SunMaze. (1.877.224.3939)

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Contact Information

  • Travel Alberta Visitor Information Centre
    P.O. Box 2500, Edmonton, AB, Canada T5J 2Z4
    Within North America: 1.800.ALBERTA (252.3782)
    Outside North America: 1.780.427.4321
    travelinfo@TravelAlberta.com

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