That jolly old gentleman with the rotund belly and long white beard is going to be busy around Sylvan Lake this weekend.
It’s time to celebrate Christmas and there are a variety of activities being organized by many different groups.
Santa Claus parade and fireworks
The highlight is likely to be the Santa Claus parade which takes place beginning at 7 p.m. Friday night from the community centre. It will travel west along 47th Avenue to 50th Street then go north to Lakeshore Drive before turning east to 46th Street where it goes south and ends at the health unit on 49th Avenue.
Channelle Arnold, with the town’s recreation department, said Tuesday afternoon they had about 21 entries for the parade. This is the second year the town has organized the parade, taking over after the chamber of commerce decided against hosting the parade last year.
Sylvan Lake’s Rotary Club members are eagerly looking forward to the parade. Each year they walk along beside the crowd asking for loose change for Sylvan Lake Food Bank. This year they’ll be joined by members of the Interact Club from H. J. Cody High School. This activity annually raises about $1,000.
Fireworks will be set off from the pier following the parade. Arnold estimated that would be about 8 p.m.
Spirit of Sylvan Yuletide Festival
A new event has been created this year to enhance the activities already undertaken by the town and other organizations.
The Spirit of Sylvan Yuletide Festival takes place at the multiplex and arena from 4:30-10 p.m. on Friday and from 9-6 on Saturday.
“This festival is about Christmas! It’s about community! It’s about family! Fun! And Holiday Spirit!,” said chairperson Graham Parsons.
The multiplex is being transformed into a Winter Wonderland with decorated trees, wreaths and other displays — many of which will be sold by live or silent auction at the end of the two day event.
Over 50 Farmers’ Market vendors will be mixed in with the displays.
A stage provides an area for performers. The Massed Choir will provide a preview of their concert at 8:30 p.m. Friday. The event opens with the C. P. Blakely Choir performing on Friday afternoon.
There are two Kids Zones — one offering crafts for children to create, the other featuring bouncy toys for those who want more activity.
Sylvan Lake Skating Club is putting on several performances.
Cubs and Scouts are participating in an Ice Rodeo from 9-10:30 on Saturday; Skate with the Mascots (including Harvey the Hound, Wooly Bully, Lionel and others) goes from 11-12 Saturday, then there’s a Skate with Santa’s Elves at 12:45 Saturday.
Excitement is mounting for the gingerbread making contest which takes place at 1 p.m. Saturday.
Then there’s a Dynamite hockey mini-tournament in the afternoon.
The silent auction starts at 4 p.m. Saturday and the live auction at 5 p.m. There are also plenty of raffle items. A draw is being made for a $1,200 travel voucher (tickets $5 each available at the festival or from committee members).
Money raised through the festival is going towards the town’s Urgent Care initiative.
Parsons said support for the event has been tremendous with various organizations and businesses stepping up to contribute to its success. He promised some interesting surprises from various businesses in the way of decorated trees and other items.
The main idea behind the festival is to make it free for everyone to participate and enjoy the Christmas spirit.
Keep posted through the organization’s Facebook page.
Breakfast With Santa
Enthusiasm is certainly percolating for the chance to have Breakfast with Santa, which is organized annually by the town at the community centre. The event takes place Saturday with sittings at 8:30 and 11 a.m. Each can accommodate 300 youngsters.
The 11 a.m. sitting is already sold out, said Arnold on Tuesday afternoon. About 40 tickets were still available for the 8:30 sitting. The $5 tickets (3 and up, two and under free) may be purchased at the aquatic centre.
Besides a buffet pancake breakfast by the Lions Club, those attending will have a chance to do crafts, watch entertainment, hear a story by librarian Shannan Sword, or partake in face painting by the Fox Run Renaissance students. Pictures with Santa are also available.
Sylvan Santa’s Workshop is back. It’s organized by Sylvan Lake School Aged Care Society. Children will go into a ‘shopping room’ with a set amount of money, escorted by an adult volunteer and will be able to purchase a gift for parents, siblings or friends at low costs. Small items will be available for purchase and will be wrapped by volunteers so they are ready to be put under the Christmas tree when kids get home.
Sylvan Lake Sacred Massed Choir is presenting The Star Still Shines, a Christmas musical directed by Kerry Heisler, at several concerts this season.
Their main concerts take place Sunday (Dec. 2) at Sylvan Lake Alliance Church at 3 and 7 p.m. These concerts also feature students from various schools and other musical groups.
The choir began its five performances with an appearance at Red Deer’s Festival of Trees on Nov. 24, then perform tonight (Thursday) at Sylvan Lake Lodge and tomorrow night (Friday) at the Spirit of Sylvan Yuletide Festival (8:30 p.m.). Their final performance is Dec. 9 at Memorial Presbyterian Church at 10:30 a.m.
Other Christmas activities
• Sylvan Lake Alliance Community Church is holding a tour of homes from 5-9 p.m. on Saturday evening. Maps are available at the church and will be sold at the Yuletide Festival.
• Stuff a Bus is being held at Sobeys, No Frills and Walmart on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. It’s organized by Red Deer Catholic School Division, École Mother Teresa School and Our Lady of the Rosary School.
• The 12th annual Sylvan Lake RCMP and Victim Services Unit charity checkstop is taking place Saturday between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. on 47th Avenue between Ryders Square and Hewlett Park Landing.
• Trilliant Real Estate Group is hosting Trilliant Trees For Treasures to raise money and awareness for Central Alberta Women’s Outreach ‘Adopt-A-Family’ program. All donations, no matter how big or small, will be matched by Trilliant. All donors are also eligible to pick up a Christmas tree at the Trilliant office on Dec. 5. To book a tree call 403-864-7785 or stop at their office in Hewlett Park Landing.
• Kevin Lapp Real Estate Team is hosting a Festival of Homes Tour on Dec. 5 from 6-9 p.m. Local homeowners are offering you a tour of their beautifully decorated homes this holiday season. Tickets are $15 each and available at the Royal Lepage Network office in Ryders Square or by calling 403-887-1237. Money raised goes to Sylvan Lake Food Bank.