December 6, 2018

Get The Party Started

The Grey Cup trophy, CFL commissioner Randy Ambroise and both teams – the Calgary Stampeders and Ottawa RedBlacks – have already arrived in Edmonton.

While fans have to wait another four days before the 106th Grey Cup is played at 4 p.m. Sunday at The Brick Field at Commonwealth Stadium, there’s plenty to do in the meantime as Edmonton will Bring The Heat with its elaborate Grey Cup Festival.

More than 500,000 people are expected to attend the Grey Cup game, visit the Titan Street Festival with its various activities and entertainment options on Jasper Avenue between 96th Street and 99th Street, or participate in some of the CFL team hospitality rooms (the popular Spirit of Edmonton room is the first to open its doors at 2 p.m. Thursday at The Westin Edmonton). Overall, there are more than 50 football-related events scheduled over the next few days.

Two free events – the Tim Hortons Kick-Off Party, which runs from 6-8 p.m. Wednesday with surprise performers at the Nissan Titan Street Festival, and a Bring the Heat Bash with Toronto’s Kardinal Offishall and local guests (DJ) Harman B and Notorious YEG (old-school hip hop trio) at 8 p.m. in Hall D of the Shaw Conference Centre for anyone aged 18 and older – gets the party started.

Offishall, a four-time MMVA and Juno Award winner, is known for his distinctive reggae and dancehall-influenced style. His smash hit, Dangerous, made him the first Canadian rapper with a song on Billboard’s Hot 100. He also had international chart-topping singles with Bakardi Slang, Numba One, Beautiful and the Lady Gaga Just Dance Remix. He is also one of Canada’s best hip hop producers.

Eskimos offensive lineman Matt O’Donnell will be a guest speaker at Alberta House at the Nissan Titan Street Festival from 6:45-7:15 p.m. Wednesday.

The Boston Pizza Sports Bar, a 2,000-person indoor/outdoor sports bar with big screens, DJs, food and beverage, will be open from 6 p.m. until 11 p.m.

Thursday’s activities

The Nissan Titan Street Festival will be fully operating with free activities and entertainment from 11 a.m. until 11 p.m.

The Capital Power zipline, Epcor Street Ski, Jiffy Lube Slide and River Cree Bungee are all free and open from 11 a.m. until 9:30 p.m.

The Capital Power zipline, which was very popular flying across Churchill Square the last time the Grey Cup was held in Edmonton in 2010, actually has two ziplines running into the river valley this time. There is a 50-foot launch tower south of Jasper Avenue and west of 97th Street. The 60-foot landing tower is in Louise McKinney Park on the south side of Grierson Hill Road.

While the rides are free, donations are welcome and will be matched by Capital Power in support of the Edmonton Military Family Resource Centre, which provides support programs and services for military personnel and their families.

The 50-foot launch tower for the five-storey River Cree Bungee Jump is located just west of the zipline launch tower.

Thrill-seekers looking to enjoy either the high-speed zipline or the free-falling bungee jump will have to obtain a wristband in the tent located near the start of their respective activities. At both events, there will be 50 wristbands distributed for each hour starting at 10:30 a.m. for the 11 a.m., noon and 1 p.m. time slots; 1:30 p.m. for the 2, 3 and 4 p.m. time slots; and 4:30 p.m. for the 5, 6, 7 and 8 p.m. time slots. Only one wristband is allowed per person per day and riders can’t request a specific time or hold spots in line for other riders. Wristband holders should also arrive in at the zipline or bungee jump lineup 15 minutes prior to their start time so they don’t miss their turn.

It’s first come, first served for the Epcor Street Ski and Jiffy Lube Tube Slide activities.

The Epcor Street Ski is a 50-foot wide, 150-foot long and 25-foot high ramp with a 17-degree slope heading west on Jasper Avenue just east of 97th Street. No skiing experience is necessary, all equipment is provided onsite and free ski and snowboard lessons will be offered.

The Jiffy Lube Tube Slide has two lanes of high-speed, tubing fun for the entire family to enjoy. There are 40 inflatable tubes available on a 17-degree slope heading west on Jasper Avenue west of 97th Street. The ramp is 40 feet wide, 150 feet long and 25 feet high.

Other entertainment options include:

  • The Cooper Equipment Entertainment Stage runs from noon until 9:15 p.m. Notorious YEG is the opening act at noon, followed by Paul Woida (an Edmonton musician who uses recorded loops to replicate the sound of an entire band similar to Ed Sheeran) at 1:30 p.m., Edmonton country music singer Alee at 3 p.m., The Royal Foundry (an Edmonton couple that plays uptempo folk pop) at 4:30 p.m., The Watchmen (an alternative rock band from Winnipeg) at 6 p.m. and the Rural Alberta Advantage (an indie rock band from Toronto) at 7:45 p.m.
  • Eskimos offensive lineman David Beard will be the guest speaker at Alberta House from 5:45 – 6:15 p.m.
  • Best-of-three quarter-finals in the first Grey Cup Festival Esports Tournament for gamers will be held from 6-10 p.m. at the Grey Cup Gaming Zone at the east end of the Festival site. You can also get in on some free play, try CFL Football Frenzy or the digital graffiti wall and test-drive the can-riding pit in the Gaming Zone.
  • The Brick Family Zone features 16,000 square feet of family-friendly interactive games and displays in the comfort of a heated tent. Included is a mini-zipline, tube slide, bungee trampolines, digital graffiti wall, climbing wall, kids combine and the Canadian Football Hall of Fame and Museum.
  • The Syncrude Mini Field programmed by Football Alberta will be busy from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m. with youth football in the morning and adult flag football at night. Eskimos players Alex Bazzie, Tommie Draheim, Aaron Grymes, Korey Jones, Hugh O’Neill, Calvin McCarty and J.C. Sherritt will run a Football Fundamentals at Grey Cup Youth Field Trip from 9 a.m. to noon Thursday.
  • The Boston Pizza Sports Bar is open from 11 a.m. until 11 p.m.

Thursday’s ticketed events include:

  • Shaw CFL Awards at the Winspear Centre (sold out) with a reception at 6 p.m. and the awards show at 7:30 p.m.
  • Diversity is Strength Party presented by You Can Play is at 9 p.m. in Hall D at the Shaw Conference Centre ($25, ages 18 and older). Included is Juno Award-winning DJ Barry Harris and the Glitter Cup, a drag lip sync battle to Bonnie Tyler’s Holding Out for a Hero that’ll be judged by Eskimos defensive back Arjen Colquhoun and O-lineman Matt O’Donnell.