10 ways to enjoy the Victoria Day long weekend in Edmonton

By Gene Kosowan

Given that Victoria Day is the first long weekend when the weather is supposed to be warm, the  weekend is a perfect opportunity to enjoy a beer while the barbecues get sizzling. But for those who would rather get out, here are 10 suggestions to try out in Edmonton. [Photo credit: istockphoto.com/wwing]

10 ways to enjoy the Victoria Day long weekend in Edmonton

Fort Edmonton Park

The Victoria Day long weekend is when the venerable Fort Edmonton Park swings open its gigantic wooden gates to greet patrons curious for a look at yesteryear. Let the kids loose on a vintage midway, or check out some classic flicks in the old Capitol Theatre. Grab a Sunday brunch at Johnson’s Café in the historic Hotel Selkirk. Or, just wander around sites that replicate a number of distinct eras in Edmonton’s history, going right back to the time of the fur traders.

Distant Worlds: Music From Final Fantasy

It’s not very often that a video game receives an orchestral treatment, but when the game is the ever-popular Final Fantasy – which celebrates 30 years of occupying retail shelves this year – one can’t help but trot out violins for the occasion. Scheduled at the Jubilee Auditorium May 20, expect a multimedia experience as an orchestra under the direction of Grammy Award-winner Arnie Roth presents a fanfare tribute to Nobuo Uematsu, who composed the game’s score, while highlights of the gaming experience illuminate the big screen.

Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village

The Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village welcomes visitors once again to a replica of the agrarian frontier that immigrants created, which resulted in the Canadian Wheat Boom. Check out the homes and farmsteads, or sample Ukrainian cuisine and even catch a few dances going on, featuring some amazing moves that rival breakdancing.

The Preacher, The Princess and a Crow

Azimuth Theatre has long been a vanguard for showcasing edgy theatrical works for younger audiences. The production of The Preacher, The Princess and a Crow, running during the long weekend at the Arts Barns, is no exception. The story follows a young man who barricades himself from the outside world only to be led out by his sister, who informs him their mother has died. During the funeral, the man connects with his niece. But when a crow appears, the man gets paranoid and fears for the safety of the young girl.

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Audrey Ochoa Trio

Who can resist that brassy slide of a trombone? Well, local jazz fans certainly can’t as they wait to pack the Yardbird on May 20 to hear what Audrey Ochoa comes up with. This time, she brings along drummer Sandro Dominelli, bassist Dayvar Calvario and electronic specialist Battery Poacher. Ochoa’s already been immortalized on her Trombone and Other Delights record, which in 2014 cracked the top five list nationally in Earshot magazine. This time around, she’ll be playing selections from her latest release, Afterthought.

Shakespearean Love

Will Shakespeare never had to deal with impressing Queen Victoria with his work as his time was a couple centuries before, when his plays entertained ardent art lover Elizabeth I. Still, that’s not stopping the Muttart Conservatory from featuring Shakespearean Love in its giant pavilion, with blooms and bouquets from hydrangeas, baby’s breathhydrangeas to baby’s breath that are designed to be ornate and majestic enough to please whoever is on the throne.

The Lady from the Sea

Some of Edmonton’s best acting talent comes from the University of Alberta’s fine arts program and Studio Theatre is the perfect venue for these upstarts to show their stuff. The long weekend provides ample time to head down to the Timms Centre to catch this production based on a Norse legend. The story involves a young landlocked woman in a secure marriage who constantly thinks about a previous romance, when a merman mysteriously lures her away from home.

Paul Woida

Usually, an alternative rocker will pick major acts in their genre of choice as major influences. Not Paul Woida. Woida has been weaned on film scores from King Kong and The Hunger Games to Titanic and Avatar. His May 21 engagement at The Needle will certainly be a curiosity for local music fans when he plays selections from his new release, The Healing.

Die-Nasty

Some people might play it by ear when gearing up for the long weekend, so it makes sense to catch an event on Monday at the Varscona that uses that impromptu method all the time. Die-Nasty is an improvised soap opera that runs for weeks, with this one based on warring royal families during the Renaissance. The results are not only hilarious, but it might also provide an opportunity to catch a few celebrities – such as Nathan Fillion (Firefly, Castle), who showed up for one episode earlier this year and could make another appearance.

Ok, we get it – if the weather holds, you’ll find it hard to pry yourself off that deck and away from the barbecue. But look around: there’s a lot you can do this Victoria Day long weekend with a wealth of music, theatre and other attractions scheduled in Edmonton.

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