Beef festival aims to educate through food and fun

Calgarians got a taste of what the beef industry is made of Friday and Saturday.

The Alberta Cattle Feeders’ Association is hosting Beef: The Festival at Heritage Park over the two days.

On Saturday afternoon, there were at least half a dozen barbecues fired up, serving free gourmet brisket and burgers.

The festival is both a celebration of beef and an attempt to educate Albertans about the industry.

Industry spokespeople say they’re excited to be able to interact directly with consumers through education, activities and food.

Rich Smith, Alberta Beef Producers executive director, says these types of events are important because they help build a connection with urban consumers.

The industry has gone through a tumultuous 10-year period, which Smith says he thinks is ending.

“People are starting to see a brighter future in the industry, the prices are better, our herd has shrunk but now that's stabilizing and it's going to start to grow again,” says Smith.

“We see producers having a sense of optimism we haven't seen in a while.”

There are several booths set up, giving people an idea of where their meat comes from and how the industry works.

“There's a generation now that's removed from the farm, and sometimes wonder where their food comes from,” says Brian Walton, CEO of the Alberta Cattle Feeders' Association.

“This is a great opportunity for us to tell that story.”

Celebrity chef Mark McEwan was on hand, as well as the band HotSauce.

The event runs until 5 p.m. MT Saturday afternoon.

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