Alberta Avenue Community League (AACL) has dedicated the past six years to beautifying its multi-use outdoor space in an effort to join nature and community. Set behind the league building, this little hideaway is home to a thriving community garden and year-round events.
One of those events is the Rubber Boots and Bow Tie Garden Party on June 24. It’s an opportunity to enjoy an adult night out in the peaceful space, and if you wish, to contribute to the ongoing beautification through garden installations and a collaborative project.
The garden party, now in its fourth year, is a way of enjoying the work put into the beautification, which grew out of a need to create a functional space for community members. The project began with a community garden and has grown each year to include installation art, paintings, seating areas, and a supply shed. Home to 50 plots and a range of trees and bushes such as raspberries, saskatoon berries, grapes, and pears, the garden provides community members with a sustainable source of food and a chance to socialize.
Karen Mykietka, former league president, has been there since the beginning and remembers thinking, “rototill and they will come.” Since then, the garden and multi-use space has been used for all kinds of events and activities including festivals, Spark! youth camp, a winter rink, weddings, lawn games, and exercise classes.
League members who want to contribute to the beautification project can purchase a garden plot, donate supplies or art, volunteer for events, or help with space maintenance.
Community gardeners supply seeds and plants for their own gardens, but community members often donate trees, plants, and supplies. Additionally, the City of Edmonton occasionally donates leftover plants and trees. Due to high demand, the league is only renting plots to Alberta Avenue residents for an annual plot fee of $20. Gardeners must also volunteer at least four hours per year towards the community league.
Lorraine Shulba, mural artist and designer for the garden party poster, said “there are a lot of beautiful people in the neighbourhood.”
Shelaine Sparrow couldn’t agree more. A resident of Alberta Avenue for 16 years, Sparrow originally became involved with the community garden to support Edmonton’s garden culture but now enjoys teaching her 8-year-old that “when you cultivate care through beautiful spaces, things will be prosperous in so many ways.”
She explained the community “is so creative and willing” and enjoys the garden for its food security, sustainable food options, nurturing space, and fun ambience.
Garden party participants can enjoy this ambience. A pergola, adorned with Edison bulbs and a bee hotel, will set the mood for the party’s relaxing evening of local music and mingling. Appetizers, a cash bar, and plenty of lawn games accompany this evening in nature. Friendly competitions for most creative rubber boots or bow tie, along with a People’s Choice Award for favourite garden installation piece will also take place. Register by June 17 to ensure your garden installation is entered in the competition.
Visit the AACL events page here to purchase tickets for the garden party, or for more information about the ongoing beautification project. Tickets are $10 in advance or $20 at the door.
RUBBER BOOTS & BOW TIE GARDEN PARTY
June 24, 7:30 pm
Alberta Avenue Community Garden
9210 118 Avenue
Tickets $10 in advance, $20 at the door
Featured image: A beautiful and functional pergola was added to the community garden a couple of years ago. | Karen Mykietka