Things really came together for our Blink: Parkade Party in August. For years now, I’ve been eyeing the parkade on 104 Street just south of Jasper Avenue, wondering how we could program the space. Thankfully, Vinci Park 103 was open to our use of the rooftop, and by working with a great team, we were able to make something happen!
The decision to screen the 50s classic Grease helped to establish the carnival theme that pervaded the rest of the event. Fat Franks and Cookie Love were on hand to dole out summer treats, while DJ Thomas Scott helped us set the tone with a spirited soundtrack from the era.
DJ Thomas Scott
To continue the party atmosphere, Alex of E-Town Salsa led a zumba session to great success. It was really cool to see the number of people who joined in!
We also worked with Cookie Love to host their inaugural cookie eating contest, featuring a number of Edmonton’s social media superstars. Brittney, Su and Mack were great sports, participating in a public challenge to see how many cookies they could eat in two minutes. Mack was the winner, however lightweight, winning the competition by consuming a total of three cookies.
Our brave competitors (photo by Alistair Henning)
Before the movie started, and during intermission, the fabulous Sugar Swing Dance Club taught the crowd Grease-inspired dance moves (I will admit now that this was somewhat inspired by a cheesy scene in The Wedding Planner, where the two romantic leads dance during a movie screening in Golden Gate Park). While our dance sequences were a little less spontaneous, they were equally inspirational!
Julie and Ben were fantastic instructors, upbeat and encouraging. Their first set involved pairs of dancers grooving to tunes of the era.
At intermission, Julie and Ben led “Team Sandy” and “Team Danny” in a fun dance off. Based on the crowd’s cheers, I think it was “Team Danny” that was declared the winner.
The main event was a screening of Grease onto the side of a parkade directly adjacent to the rooftop. With the help of Owen Brierley of Guru Digital Arts College, we were able to secure a projector that worked well in spite of the glaring parkade lights.
With the help of Media Architecture Design Edmonton (MADE), we were also able to provide some park-like seating options in the form of grass tiles! They were still a bit damp from the previous night’s rain storm, but brought a pop of unexpected green to the decidedly urban surroundings.
We were happy with the turnout for the movie, realizing that the novelty of the screening location had something to do with it!
Grease is the word (photo by Alistair Henning)
As a result, we’re not certain this event can be replicated as such, but you can be sure we will always be on the lookout for underutilized spaces that have the potential to be so much more!
The event was free of charge to attend, and was only possible because of Edmonton Awesome Foundation’s seed money. The funding provided us with the opportunity to not only focus on putting on a good event open to all, but also retain our commitment to donate part of the proceeds to the Boyle Street Community Services’ Downtown Proud, a program that provides employment opportunities for formerly homeless individuals. With further sponsorship from Edmonton Economic Development Corporation and the Downtown Business Association of Edmonton, we were able to collect donations that would go straight to the cause. All told, with the generous help of those who attended, we raised over $2,100 for Downtown Proud.
We also want to thank the Downtown Edmonton Community League, Oliver Community League and Cask & Barrel for their support of Blink. We also had a number of fabulous volunteers who gave their time to help us out – thank you!
And lastly, having been involved in a variety of events and projects over the past few years, I can honestly say that it was a dream to work with Hannah McDonald and Stephanie Chai. And it wasn’t just the coincidence that our meetings always took place over wine! Thanks to you both for your creativity and endless energy – I hope our collaborative paths cross again in the future!
We’re with awesome!