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Living in Mission has always had itâ€™s pros and cons. The pros list includes the cool old houses, the big trees, the awesome restaurants (late night pizza joints included), the proximity to 17th Ave and of course the Elbow River. The cons have always included the pricey rents, the variety of garbage that ends up on the lawn and the lack of Tim Hortons.
Then there is one thing that straddles both sides of the positive/negative fence: The Lilac Festival. Every year the one of Calgaryâ€™s most popular festivals descends upon our quiet neighborhood like Ralph Klein stumbling into on of your dinner parties. While the idea initially sounds fun, it quickly over stays itâ€™s welcome.
This yearâ€™s Lilac Festival got off to a different start, rather a wet start. I canâ€™t imagine how frustrating it must be for the organizers who spend all year planning such a huge event only to have it washed out by our 6th straight day of rain. I would put it right up there with losing your cell phone or having nothing to wear on a first date. But Calgarians are resilient and they still turned out on en masse for the festival with their children, dogs, strollers, balloons and lethally sharp umbrellas none the less!
The great thing about the festival is that is brings thousands of people to our neighborhood, which we all love to show off. Of course, it would be better if half of our businesses hadnâ€™t been pushed out in the past couple of years (RIP CUP, With the Times, Urban Barn, Fabutan and Watch It). But there are still some real gems to be found. Businesses like Casablanca Video, Le Chien Chaud, Krickets and The Purple Perk are all apart of what makes Mission great.
The bad thing about the festival is also the reoccurring theme in most areas of Calgary. Space and parking. The small streets of Mission simply cannot handle the sheer capacity of cars that visit for the festival. This is mostly due to the fact that our public transit system rivals that only of small desert towns in Afghanistan. Because of this drivers are forced to park in front of fire hydrants, drive ways, my parking spot and sadly on the grass of schools on Cliff St. This is especially frustrating because the people that chose to park here for an hour or two chose also to not think about the long term damage that their trucks will have on the grass. Surely Iâ€™m not the only one that thinks we should always choose our limited green spaces over a quick parking spot. I mean does it really matter how good your parking spot is when you are about to walk around for two hours anyway? (You donâ€™t want to get me started on double parkers)
Truth be told Iâ€™m disappointed. Iâ€™m disappointed for a festival that deserves so much more than a chilly and rainy Sunday. Iâ€™m sad for the people that werenâ€™t around to remember last years amazing 130,000 person blowout. Iâ€™m concerned for the businesses along 4th St that have become dependant on the Lilac Festival sales. Iâ€™m hopeful that the organizers are secretly planning a sequel to a event that got the shit end of the stick. But mostly, Iâ€™m angry because there has been a minivan parked in my spot for the last three hours and I want to park my car already!