A view of the fireworks grand finale
from Globalfest 2009 //
© 2009 PrairieWinds Photography
Each year, Calgary in Alberta, Canada, plays host to Globalfest, a celebration of world culture and pyrotechnics. The annual festival, established in 2003, is unique — part multicultural carnival and part pyromusical spectacle — and appeals to a wide audience. And in 2010, festival organizers hope U.S. clients will make the trek north to take part in the festivities.
“Globalfest is a unique festival in that it partners the Trico Homes International Fireworks Festival and five nights of international pyromusical presentations, with the Golder Associates OneWorld Festival, a park-wide multicultural festival featuring 20 cultural pavilions, 10 ethnic food kiosks, three performance stages and a 1,000-person licensed international bar,” explained Globalfest producer Ken Goosen.
The festival, which was rated one of 2009’s Top 100 Events in North America by the American Bus Association, was created to showcase Calgary’s cultural diversity. It is also a member of Tourism Calgary and the Travel Alberta network, and received the top tourist White Hat of the Year award in 2009.
Next year’s festival will be held from Aug. 20-28 in Elliston Park. The park’s giant lake serves as a reflective backdrop for the festival’s pyromusical firework presentations, shown for five nights during the event. Cultural pavilions will present various cultures through heritage dress, crafts and more, and ethnic food kiosks
allow guests to sample foreign foods. New activities for 2010 include a possible OneWorld Festival Night Market on opening weekend, featuring international arts, crafts and clothing.
A Scintillating Smorgasborg
Clients interested in culinary feats may wish to take part in Globalfest’s extremely popular Around the World in 35 Blocks Food Tour, a half-day culinary journey through Calgary’s east side. The tour takes places once during the opening weekend and once during the closing weekend. A Vine & Dine promotion will also be available in which five local restaurants will feature a special food-and-wine dinner experience with the flavors of Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Canada. Vine & Dine meals must be pre-booked.
While culinary adventures make up a large part of the Globalfest experience, the event’s biggest nighttime draw is its state-of-the-art fireworks displays, designed by award-winning international pyromusical designers from around the world. The 25-minute shows feature the designer’s own musical soundtrack. The five productions for 2010 will feature artists from Germany, Italy, Portugal and Spain, with a grand finale on the last night. The park’s location also benefits the fireworks shows, as fireworks designers are able to shoot large shells as high as 1,000 feet into the sky.
Goosen recommended that attendees plan to spend at least two days in Calgary to ensure that weather issues do not disrupt their Globalfest experience.
“There is so much to see and do in Calgary that two days is hardly enough time,” said Goosen. When clients aren’t occupied at the festival, Goosen hopes they also take the opportunity to explore more of Calgary, which offers breathtaking daytrips that explore the Canadian Rocky Mountains or rolling plains and fields of grain. Calgary is also located an hour away from The Royal Tyrrell Museum, one of the world’s most prominent paleontological centers.
Families are also especially welcome at the event, and there is a secure area dedicated to entertaining children and their parents. Arts and crafts, face-painting and even a bounce house are provided to ensure that children stay entertained.
Despite the downturn in the economy, Goosen expects an increased turnout in attendance for next year. “The outlook for Globalfest 2010 is encouraging based on attendance from 2009 where ticket sales remained consistent with the previous year’s attendance figures,” said Goosen.
Ticket prices for the family-friendly event have remained the same since 2007 and start at only $5 for pre-sale tickets. The rack rate for general admission is $15, and children ages 5 and under get in for free when accompanied by an adult. There are also VIP tickets starting at $35 and VIP Club tickets for $75. The VIP area consists of a limited-seating area that will be serving light catered food and allows guests to drink alcoholic beverages while they watch the shows. An extensive shuttle network is also available for all Globalfest 2010 attendees to use.
Globalfest has also paired up with several hotels in Calgary to offer deals and savings to clients. Travel packages are available with The Blackfoot Inn, The Coast Plaza Hotel & Convention Centre, Executive Royal Inn and the Sheraton Cavalier Calgary Hotel.
Furthermore, the festival is providing agents who are booking individual and group travel to Globalfest with general admission tickets at no cost and VIP tickets at a discounted rate of $25 each. Agents traveling to Calgary during the 2010 event dates will be offered complimentary VIP tickets. Commission is also available.
With so many activities and events, including Globalfest, it’s possible that Calgary might just be the place for your client’s most intriguing trip yet next summer.