2010 Highlands Street Festival

I think street festivals – an event to highlight area businesses, to create a gathering space for neighbours and others, and to, in other words, celebrate a neighbourhood – are fantastic. Alberta Avenue’s Kaleido Festival (commemorating their fifth anniversary in 2010) and the East Meets West Festival (put on by Little Italy and Chinatown) are great examples of neighbourhood festivals.

When I stumbled upon details about the Highlands Street Festival (organized by the Highlands Community League) in a recent E-SAGE newsletter, I was surprised to read that this would be the fifth incarnation of the event. Centering at 112 Avenue and 65 Street, business, musicians and artists would be highlighted. Mack and I made plans to check it out after our weekly trip to the City Market on Saturday.

Between the abysmal weather, and an ETS bus completely passing us by at our stop, getting to Highlands was a bit harrowing. We eventually made it though, and found that thankfully, the festivities had continued in spite of the downpour.

Welcome to Highlands!

Festival central

Poor puppies

Most of the activities were relegated indoors. We started at Mandolin Books and Coffee Company, where a musician was entertaining a small crowd. We also happened to run into one of our old high school principals, who not only grew up in Highlands, but resides there still now. She’s been attending the festival since it began five years ago.

Inside Mandolin

We stopped in Sabrina Butterfly Designs and Chickies, a charming little antiques store. While we didn’t buy anything, it was the first time either of us had been inside these shops. The storekeepers were friendly, and very open to people just passing through to take a look.

Inside Sabrina Butterfly Designs and Chickies

Lovely connecting yard

I was most looking forward to visiting the retail location of Catfish Coffee, which just opened at the beginning of April (you can also buy their coffee every Saturday at the Old Strathcona Farmers’ Market, and at Mandolin down the street). The shop is clean and spacious, with a full view of the roasting machine, and set up on that day with carafes of all of their coffee varieties available for patrons to sample (with collected donations going towards the 2011 Highlands Beautification Project).

Catfish Coffee

Roasting machine

Though the owners aren’t able to run a full-scale cafe in the space, it was set up that way on Saturday, complete with music provided by Kristilyn Robertson.

Enjoying the ambiance

It was great to chat with the staff (they’re hoping to extend their retail hours over the summer). Of course, we couldn’t leave without picking up a bag of coffee too – the Guatemalan Highlands variety seemed fitting.

Though I’ve been to Culina Highlands a few times, this was my first trek through its neighbouring businesses. I was glad to have the excuse of the Highlands Street Festival to do so! I’ll be sure to look for it next year.

11 thoughts on “2010 Highlands Street Festival

  1. I hope those poor doggies didn’t have to be out in the rain too long. 😦

  2. Hey Sharon – thanks for the link! Sorry for being so flustered about seeing you and Mack at Catfish – I felt a little starstruck after reading your blog for quite some time. 🙂

    Glad to hear you guys had a good time at the festival!


  3. Debra – this was my first trip through Mandolin, and yes, I liked it too. I’ll have to take a closer look on a day when I’m not sopping wet and carrying several pounds of produce and goods on my back :).

    Heather – we saw the little puppy wearing a sweater walking with its owner not long after, so that dog was taken care of!

    Kristilyn – no worries; not sure I’ve ever encountered that kind of a greeting upon entering a shop :). It was good to meet you, and to hear you play, too!

  4. Thank you so much!

    It warms my heart that you had a wonderful time at our little festival and that you thought enough of it to post pictures and walk us through your very enjoyable visit. A lot of hours, effort and energy were put into the event and we were disheartened over the weather, but upon reading reviews like yours you can be sure that the organizers of this event will do it again next year.

    We hope the weather is kinder for the 6th Annual Highland Street Festival and that all the wonderful visitors, vendors, artist and musicians will return for another great event.

    Thanks again!!!

  5. Great pics! Those dogs are pampered ones look at their cute coats, I think the green one said feed me on the back. Considering the weather I was surprised how busy it was. In market towns the market happens no matter what the weather is. It made my gloomy saturday a fun day! Cheers Highlands!

  6. Valerie – yes, something to look forward to next year!

    Yvette – I think you and the rest of the organizers were troopers – it’s easy to give up at times when the weather is uncoopertive. All in all – great event, bravo!

    Shasta – I believe the sweater read something like “Varsity” :). I agree, the festival made the best of the poor weather, and helped us make the most of the weekend.

  7. When we lived in Edmonton we lived just around the corner from all of that. I think we need a stroll through the old neighbourhood next time we are in town. Sigh.

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