Oh wow! Yesterday was so much fun! Not quite Roar of the Rings fun, but super awesome fun anyways!
I saw the Olympic Torch in Edmonton!! Twice!
It was awesome!!
First, a fellow library school classmate and I headed down to the Butterdome at the University of Alberta at about 4:30pm. There was some sort of block party with Aboriginal dancers and cheerleaders, but it was a bit chaotic standing on the corner so we crossed the street and stood on the south side of 87 Ave, across from the Education Building. The crowd was really friendly, and there were lots of kids around. We waited for a while, stamping our feet because we couldn't feel our toes after the first ten minutes.
Then I spotted an RBS Torch Relay truck. Two people got out and started handing out blue, plastic, RBC Torch Relay tambourines!! I love free stuff! Shortly after the Coke people went by and I got a red plastic flag. Nothing had happened yet but we were in such a great mood already.
At around 5:10, police cars started going down the street. Then a couple white Olympic fans with other torch bearers went by, followed by an RBC truck with dancers on it, blaring music. Then a Coke truck with happy people went by.
And then the torch ran right past me!!! It was awesome!!
Like many things in life, we waited a long time to see 10 seconds of the torch. My stupid camera was acting up in the cold, and we were cold, so we headed through the Ed Building, met another classmate on the LRT and ended up at Churchill Square at about 6pm.
Ahh! It was so much fun! There was a stage set up on the south end, and tons of people already down there, all decked out in their Canada/red gear. First up on stage was an RBC painter guy who painted a picture of the flame. Regardless of what he was doing, the music got us dancing and warmed up. Next up was the Coke gang who banged drums and did acrobatics. Asani, an trio of Aboriginal women, sang a couple songs, and then the crowd shifted.
Because the torch came through again!! I could only see the top of it, but it was awesome! Doreen Ryan, an accomplished Olympian and the final torch bearer, walked up on stage, and lit the cauldron and the crowd went wild! There were some speeches (Mayor Mandel said he looked like a bum, I kid you not, and wonder if that quote will make the paper? He also received a torch to be put on display at City Hall.), the Kokopelli Youth Choir sang a song about the flame and then Cadence Weapon read a poem.
The Bea Arthurs, a ukelele group entertained us with some covers (Bohemian Rhapsody, Beyonce and Outkast). And sadly, they extinguished the cauldron. A torch bearer captured the flame in her lantern, and that was that.
Oh, and then there were fireworks!! I love fireworks!! We also saw a torch bearer, and almost got a photo, except my camera wouldn't work (stupid cold batteries) and then she had to leave. My friend got to touch the torch though - awesome!!
It was such a fun day, regardless of how frozen my toes and fingers were at times. Everyone was so happy, you couldn't help but smiling. There was cheering and tambourine clanging and flag waving and cheering and singing and dancing and laughing.
The Olympic torch came through my favourite city in the world, and I saw it. It was a once in a lifetime experience, and I was there.
I don't even know what else to say. The Vancouver Olympics start in 29 days. I can't wait!
(More of my dark, blurry photos can be seen here.)