Culinary Tourism East of Edmonton

Jolene Kisilevich Andrew, Attractions, Culinary Trails, East of Edmonton, Elk Island National Park, Flagstaff County, Highway 15, Highway 16, Highway 28, Lamont, Lamont County, Local Food, Roadtrips, Smoky Lake, Southeast of Edmonton, Train Excursion, Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village

This Huffington Post article explores the concept of culinary tourism around the world, noting that it’s become a popular phenomenon with travelers everywhere

“There’s a growing population of travellers that have become more interested in the various cuisines and cultures from countries all over the world, and are planning vacations specifically to incorporate culinary trips. One of the reasons for this evolution has been wine, beer and food festivals. Toronto’s Caribana Festival is a good example. Now in its 47th year it’s expected to draw over one million tourists from all over the world, much the same as New Orlean’s Mardi Gras and Brazil’s Carnival.”

Recently, culinary tourism has also moved into our rural communities and we are very excited about this here in the Go East of Edmonton tourism region.

Following are some of the culinary tours and events coming up in the East of Edmonton region throughout the rest of the year; we hope you can make it to some (or all!) of them.

Elk Island National Park invites you to the Bison Festival on August 13th from noon until 5:00PM. This event is a celebration of the conservation and culture of the bison, once nearly lost in North America, as well as an excellent cuisine experience. Don’t miss it!

The following day, August 14th, the Battle River Railway invites you out for the Garden and Gourmet event – a unique experience of fabulous food aboard the train as it travels from Camrose to Forestburg and back again, with amazing gardens along the way. Find tickets here.

Don’t miss the Country Roots Tour on August 19th – a full day celebration of food, farms and history. You’ll see and experience the Flagstaff region as you have never seen and experienced it before. The day consists of a ride on the Friends of the Battle River Railway, tours of the area agriculture and historical sites, bus travel between locations, lunch and a delectable “made in Flagstaff” long table dinner with great entertainment throughout the evening. You can get your tickets by calling Neelea at (780) 384-4150, or at this link: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/country-roots-tour-tickets-24962599808

Don’t forget that the Lamont County’s Babas and Borshch Ukrainian Festival in Andrew includes plentiful scrumptious Ukrainian fare all day throughout the festival August 20th and 21st. Don’t miss this amazing event in celebration of the rich culture and heritage of the Ukrainian population in our region! See more information about this event on our website here:

August 20th and 21st brings us the awesome, much anticipated Alberta Open Farm Days! This is a two day event taking place across the whole province and we have some really great participating farms for this event right here in our East of Edmonton farming communities. This event offers you the ability to experience the farms where some of your food comes from, meet the farmers who own and operate them, and be part of the fast growing agricultural tourism in Alberta – with the benefit of amazing foods along the way. This year marks the fourth annual Alberta Open Farm Days and it gains momentum with each year. One of our featured Farmers’ Markets partners, Irving’s Farm Fresh, is among the participating farms for this year’s event. You can find all participating farms here: http://www.albertafarmdays.com/host-farms-2016. You don’t want to miss this!

Do you love potatoes? Then you’ll love the Great Alberta Potato Derby at the Victoria Settlement south of Smoky Lake. This wholesome, high fibre family fun day happens on August 21st, starting at 11:00AM with a church service, followed by derby events starting at 12:30PM. Enjoy a free baked potato and the chance to win cool prizes; race your ‘spudcar’ on Alberta’s very first potato race track!

Head over to Camrose County on August 27th and 28th for the Prairie Fun Days. This is your chance to discover all of Camrose County through a two day driving tour, you can choose whether you want to drive or hitch a ride on the Prairie Cruiseliner bus, and enjoy lots of special events, delectable goodies and that sought after home town hospitality.

September brings with it the Harvest of the Past & Food Festival at the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village on Sunday, September 11th from 9:00AM to 5:00PM. This event will allow you to experience a traditional threshing bee done with vintage farm equipment. See the whole process from the field to the grain deliveries to the historic elevator. An exceptional culinary experience will also be part of the day, offering fall foods of the region in a scrumptious spread. Many other activities, including canning from the museum gardens and wheat grinding, will also be part of the day’s festivities.

October is kicked off with an enthusiasm in Smoky Lake at the annual Great White North Pumpkin Weigh-Off & Fair, on October 1st. This event is fast becoming the go-to destination for all things autumn and pumpkin in our region with fierce competition for the largest pumpkin taking centre stage; last year saw the largest pumpkin weigh in at a whopping 1,470 lbs.! Enjoy many vendors, activities, entertainment and great food. Find great markets, food vendors, a great pancake breakfast, and beer gardens with still more food. Make a weekend of it and participate in the Pumpkin Classic Golf Tournament at the Smoky Lake Golf Course the following day, Sunday October 2nd.

Head over to Andrew for the Andrew Garlic Festival on October 8th. This is a day of celebration of all things garlic with a farmers’ market, bench show, The Great Garlic Race, kids’ activities and more. All day entertainment will serve as a fabulous backdrop for the amazing foods, starting with a pancake breakfast, then a pyrogy lunch and a supper with a dance to follow. Check out our website for more information about his great event, here:

The last week of October sees two fabulous food events. The first is the Newbrook Harvest Supper at the Newbrook Hall on October 29th. The following day, head over to Flagstaff County for the amazing, annual Battle River Railway Octoberfest Train. This is a great food experience with a German inspiration featuring a delicious sausage supper and cold beer with a fun train ride between Alliance and Heisler, beginning at 2:00PM.

So there you have it – an amazing line-up of culinary tours and events to tantalize your taste buds and enable you to see and explore more of the scenic region here East of Edmonton. Don’t miss out; get your tickets today!