Bison Festival at Elk Island

Aug 29, 2017


Saturday, August 19th was the day for the fourth Elk Island Bison Festival, and despite strong winds, the sunshine held for the day.  With free admission to the Park this year (a great plus for Canada’s 150th Birthday Celebrations), it is estimated that a record number of over 2,500 people came through the park gates.  It was wonderful to see so many families and ethnic groups take in this annual event, not only Albertans but visitors from all parts of Canada and the United States. 

The crowd was urban and rural, curious and interested, producers and consumers, very young to ‘not as young’

Conservation efforts and projects were presented and discussed throughout the day in the Astotin Theatre, by the staff from Elk Island National Park at the EINP tents, and by the singers  on the open stage.  . 

The Cultural displays and presentations kept visitors entertained throughout all the Astotin Lake park area.  Three lovely ladies performed their native aboriginal dances a few times on the Stage, alternating with wonderful singing and stringed instrument entertainment.  A Bison Hide was on display with a teepee set up, and tours through the Park’s bison handling system were given.  Unfortunately the strong winds cancelled the Voyageur Canoe Rides (let’s hope for next year).

There were several tent areas on the grounds which also exhibited aspects of the bison industry.  The Canadian Bison Association was on site next to the Bison Producers of Alberta – although those winds prevented the beautiful CBA panorama banner and the BPA banners from being set up.  But both associations managed to keep their recipe cards / cookbooks / bison info pages / bison stuffies / hats / truck hitches / and hoodies from blowing off their tables (thanks to boards and duct tape).  The informational materials were given out, and there were a lot of sales of the promotional items (especially the stuffies!) to attendees.

All in all, the vendors and the staff at Elk Island National Park are to be congratulated on another successful Bison Festival where a couple thousand visitors learned a great deal about bison.


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