More Instagram-able moments are coming to Sylvan Lake this winter with expansions to the Winter Village.
The Winter Village has added a new element this year which will stretch down Centennial Street; eight-foot-tall snowmen.
Ten businesses on Centennial Street will have these large snowmen on display beginning this weekend.
Kjeryn Dakin, from the Winter Village Committee which is made up of local business owners and residents, said the idea came to her as a way to expand the fun of the lights on the pier down Centennial Street.
“Other towns have scarecrows that are all decorated and I just thought why not snowmen? It fits with the whole winter village idea,” Dakin said.
The Snowman Parade, is a pilot program designed to bring people to the downtown and into the shops.
Business owners downtown with the large snowman will be decorating them and residents and tourists vote for their favourite snowman inside the associated shops.
Dakin said she has had great interest this year from local businesses.
“We have 10 businesses this year down Centennial Street… I had a bunch more that wanted to be a part of it this year, but we just didn’t have the budget,” Dakin said, adding she hopes next year more businesses will be added.
The Winter Village has been hard at work developing new ways to attract attention to the downtown businesses in Sylvan Lake.
Along with the Snowman Parade and Competition, Passport to Win is back at local businesses throughout Sylvan Lake, the planter parade, and more lights have been added to the light display on the pier.
Dakin says the large snowmen and the addition of more light tubes will make for great Instagram posts.
“We’ve added more light tubes this year, which is great because they are really popular and make for great photos,” she said.
Another addition to the Winter Village at the pier will be glow skating.
The committee received a grant which allows them to place special lights below the ice on what will be the skating rink on the lake.
Dakin says the lights will glow from beneath the ice at night and will move along with the music.
The glow skating will only be available once the ice is thick enough, and as of publishing the ice is not yet ready.
“We are really excited about [glow skating] it is so unique and special to Sylvan Lake. We have this amazing lake, and we really wanted to incorporate it,” said Dakin.
Those visiting the Winter Village are encouraged to take photos are post them on the Winter Village’s Facebook page or by using the hashtag #SylvanLakeWinterVillage on Instagram.
According to Dakin, businesses in Sylvan Lake have seen increases in traffic during the winter months thanks to these projects.
Since the Winter Village began a few years ago, and the Passport to Win began last year, businesses are seeing more coming into their store fronts and buying items.
“People are coming in from the village to buy a hot chocolate and warm up from looking at the lights, or buying something at a local store because they need that last stamp. It’s been great,” she said.
Programs like this help the community to continue to grow and prosper, even in the colder seasons, Dakin says.
“If that downtown core suffers, than it is like a cancer and will spread and we will all suffer.”
The Winter Village will be lit up beginning this weekend following the Santa Claus Parade and fireworks until early March.
The Snowman Parade will see 10 uniquely decorated snowmen outside businesses beginning this weekend until the Family Day weekend. Votes for the best snowman can be done at anytime during that time. One winner will be drawn to win a gift basket from the participating businesses.
Passport to Win began on Nov. 27, and will go until the end of December. Shoppers can collect stamps for every $10 they spend at participating businesses throughout Sylvan Lake.
One winner will win a $750 West Jet card.
Voting on the planter parade will be open until the end of December.
More information can be found on the Chamber of Commerce’s website or the Winter Village’s Facebook page.