A day at Edmonton’s Heritage Festival started out with a food-related twist as hundreds of thousands of Edmontonians squeezed themselves like sardines into Park and Ride buses.

Operated for more than just traffic control, Park and Ride was a crucial part of the festival’s continuing efforts to be as eco-friendly as possible.

“We’re trying to make this the greenest festival in Canada,” said Heritage Festival executive director Jack Little.

Some of the festival’s other eco-efforts included 60 recycling stations, biodegradable utensils, two bike compounds and demonstrations by the Earth’s General Store pavilion on how to live green. The entire event was also powered by wind generators.

In addition to protecting the environment, the festival also benefitted the Edmonton Food Bank.

“The Heritage Festival Food Drive is the single largest food drive for us over the year,” said Marjorie Bencz, executive director of the Edmonton Food Bank.

This year, the food bank set itself a goal of 50,000 kilograms of donated food. As of 5 p.m. yesterday, they had reached approximately 40,000 kilograms.

Festival attendance was slightly lower than last year due to stormy weather. At about 6 p.m. on Saturday, police evacuated Hawrelak Park.

“We didn’t want to take a chance with our attendees, so the police took over and evacuated the park,” Little said.

Despite that setback, Little said the festival was a success.

“This is Edmonton’s family festival,” said Little. “They’ve taken this festival as their own special festival and they support it.”

The 34th annual Heritage Festival boasted 62 pavilions representing over 80 cultures. This year, an estimated 360,000 people attended.