No particular reason drew us to the Capital Ex grounds on Thursday, except perhaps a sense of homegrown duty to visit the city’s annual excuse for gluttony. Although we enjoyed ourselves last year, the attractions were somehow less interesting this year.
That said, I do still enjoy the sights and sounds of the midway – the exhilarated screams from thrill-seekers, enthusiastic pitches from the amusement carneys, the wafting smells of deep-fried everything and flashing neon lights that never fail to transport me to nights of Ex’s past.
We did make a point to go see the Cirque Shanghai troupe. Entertaining, we were surprised at how young some of the performers were. We also walked through the Sip! wine and food experience, but decided not to sample any of the food. Though we arrived too late to see David Adjey in person (I was curious to see if his arrogance held up off the screen), we did see Brad Smoliak and Mary Bailey in their nightly “dessert and nightcap” feature. Their dessert of a ginger cocktail and sautéed nectarines with mascarpone cheese and amaretti cookies was quite nice (and best of all, free!).
Mary Bailey and Brad Smoliak on the CookTop stage
Chris’ extensive inventory of Ex eats was helpful in knowing what was available (and what to avoid). We opted for the tried and true favourites, namely – Those Little Doughnuts, corn dogs, and Deli Manjoo custard-filled treats.
Mack hearts corn dogs!
Deli Manjoo cakes
We stayed for the fireworks that night, and were quite impressed! While not as spectacular as the Canada Day offerings, the show at least exceeded our expectations.
Ferris wheel at night
It’s hard to avoid one of Edmonton’s most popular summer festivals – but I wouldn’t want to. Despite it’s shortcomings (and year-to-year fluctuations in interesting acts), the Ex is an Edmonton institution of frivolous fun.