Over the August long weekend, Mack and I were invited to attend the second annual Food Through the Ages event at Fort Edmonton Park. Though we do our best to visit the Park once every summer regardless (I love the midway!), this seemed like a great excuse to do so, all while experiencing the attraction through a particular lens.
In 2012, Fort Edmonton Park introduced Food Through the Ages as a means for visitors to sample typical dishes served in the different eras represented throughout the Park. It was a success, but this year, they tweaked the formula somewhat. Besides making it clear that only tastes (as opposed to full meals) would be offered, the Park also instigated that visitors would have to work for their food by performing period-specific tasks. The children we saw participating that day were relishing the opportunity to earn their keep (all in a wonderful learning context), but I have to say that as an adult, I had a great time as well!
Cree Camp interpreter
The Saturday of that long weekend celebrated life in the 1846 Fort (I’m a little sad I didn’t get to try the roasted pea coffee), while Sunday focused on 1885 (and tempted with rabbit stew!). Our visit highlighted tasks and tastes of 1905 and 1920.
How about some tongue toast or jellied moose nose?
The Park staff were nice enough to organize a tour guide to accompany us throughout the afternoon. Although we’ve been to Fort Edmonton countless times, our guide Shannon pointed us to several things we have overlooked in the past, such as a replica of the Avro Avian Biplane flown by Wop May.
Avro Avian Biplane
We started with mail delivery on 1905 Street. We were paid for carrying a package from the post office to one of the residences which we used to purchase a sample of jellied duck. The dominant flavour was actually the poultry stock, and the texture was better than it sounded.
Mack earns his keep
Across the street in Tent City, I helped with laundry. Using the washboard reminded me of how grateful we are to have electric machines for this chore! With the money I earned, we purchased some freshly made beans on toast from the camp.
Mack loves beans on toast
Over on 1920 Street, we tried our hand at the Alberta Government Telephone Exchange. Though we’ve been to the Park plenty of times, this was the first time we’ve encountered an interpreter in this building. It was neat learning about how the system worked (including the “party lines”!), and even connecting a call.
Too many switches!
For our trouble, we were rewarded with hot potato cakes and oatmeal cookies at the Mellon Farm.
We saved the best for last – the 1920’s Midway! We helped clear the grass of rocks and debris, and Mack even tried out for the circus!
Hard at work
The Amazing Balance Man
The money we were paid was enough to purchase cheese sandwiches and some lemonade. Simple but appropriate for the context!
Of course, we couldn’t leave the park without a few spins on the carousel and the Ferris wheel.
It sounds like Food Through the Ages was again well received, so make sure to look for it again next year! Thanks to the Park for allowing us to take part, and to our enthusiastic tour guide Shannon! And though Fort Edmonton Park is now closed for the season for regular admission, check out their calendar to learn about their upoming special and holiday events.