Delicious news: Taste of Edmonton lands new location on legislature grounds

The organizers behind Taste of Edmonton can’t wait to sink their teeth into a new location.

Edmonton foodies will be able to 'get their fill' next July

The annual food festival attracts roughly 400,000 people to Edmonton's downtown core each summer. (Taste of Edmonton/Facebook)

The organizers behind Taste of Edmonton can't wait to sink their teeth into a new location.

The Federal Building Plaza, in front of the Alberta legislature, will host the popular summer food festival next July, the province announced on Tuesday. 

"Please, rest assured that food and beverage lovers will be able to get their fill at the 2018 Taste of Edmonton Festival right here on this plaza," Infrastructure Minister Brian Mason said during a news conference at the legislature grounds.

"I couldn't be happier or more proud to announce that we're hosting next year's taste of Edmonton festival. I think it's a great fit."

The province and Events Edmonton will collaborate in the coming months to finalize the logistics of moving the festival to its new location, but there will be at least 50 vendor booths and stages on site. 

Taste of Edmonton attracts upwards of 400,000 people to the downtown core over 10 days each summer. But its culinary future had remained uncertain for months. 

The festival needed an alternate location for next summer because LRT construction is set to take place in Churchill Square and will make the location inaccessible until 2019.

The temporary location for Taste of Edmonton will help keep the popular food festival financially stable, and help showcase some of the region's best eats, said Paul Lucas, general manager of Events Edmonton.

"We are looking forward to being a good neighbour in our new home," Lucas said. "Being away from the downtown core of office towers, we hope to make new friends in the surrounding area. This is a huge weight off my mind."

'This is where we want people to be'

Taste of Edmonton officials were initially struggling to find a temporary location because of a decades-old Alberta legislature policy that bans eating, drinking or dancing on the grounds.

Those antiquated laws were past their expiration date, Mason said, and it was time to bring some fresh flavour to the grounds.

A new, more welcoming policy is being finalized now, he said.

"The attitude that used to be, before me, was that this was sort of a sacred space," said Mason with a chuckle.

"There was a bit of entitlement to it, that it's for the politician and their friends and senior bureaucrats.

"But no, my view is that this is a public space, this is where we want people to be. And Taste of Edmonton is an excellent way to make that point."