The Edmonton Heritage Festival is the world's largest annual outdoor celebration of multiculturalism.
The mission of the Festival is “To promote public awareness, understanding, and appreciation for cultural diversity through an annual summer festival”.
In 2019 the Edmonton Heritage Festival featured 73 Cultural groups representing over 100 countries in 230 tents on 20 Hectares. There were over 900 cultural acts by an estimated one thousand local heritage performers, 35 cultural displays and 600 different cultural foods available to sample. It is a requirement of entry that EVERY organization that puts on a cultural pavilion at the Edmonton Heritage Festival must be a locally based Cultural Not-for-Profit. The festival is Canada’s largest opportunity for interaction between the public and local and international heritage artists, performers, and cultural carriers. There are roughly 6,000 local volunteers that make sure the festival is a success.
Founded in 1974, the festival began as a shared stage heritage performance that, in 1976, evolved into today’s model where each cultural group hosts their own kitchen, museum and stage. The 1976 event hosted 11 founder groups. Since then, hundreds of local cultural organizations have shared their food, crafts, dance and song.
The Festival has hosted over 14,000,000 on site visitors since inception, it has received over 100 international awards including IFEA Grand Pinnacle Awards, its cooking videos have been viewed by 2,000,000 people, and the website by millions and millions 1,100 cities from every country on earth.
Beyond sharing the message of multiculturalism, the Festival is also the largest annual fundraiser for the Edmonton Food Bank, raising over $100,000 and 100,000 pounds of food annually. It is also the lifeblood of over seventy local cultural not for profit organizations that use funds raised at this event for their ongoing existence.