The eighth annual Spirit of Sylvan Yuletide Festival is experiencing a few changes this year.
The festival, which kicks off the holiday season in Sylvan Lake, is expanding with a new night and event along with two new charities added to the roster.
The Yuletide Festival is collaborating with the Central Alberta Child Advocacy Centre (CACAC) to promote the centre which helps children across Central Alberta.
Graham Parsons, chair person on the festival’s committee, says the new partnership is a perfect opportunity.
“I mean, children and Christmas just go together, it’s a great combination” Parsons said.
Parsons approached Mark Jones, CEO of CACAC, and the centre with the idea and they were excited to join in.
Jones said the new partnership will help the centre get out into the communities of Central Alberta to show they aren’t just looking out for Red Deer.
“We are looked at it too as much as a fundraiser and a friendraiser. We are trying to get out into the communities, because out in Sylvan Lake the hope is you will have people from Bentley, and Eckville and Benalto and all those place come [to the festival],” Jones said.
He added working with the Yuletide Festival will help the CACAC continue to create awareness for them while also allowing them to create new relationships.
Many people in Central Alberta still do not know CACAC is open and there to help families in the area, this is something that has Parsons scratching his head.
“Personally, when I thought of the idea, it was an idea to grow the festival, but digging into it and going into it more… I’m shocked that more people don’t know about what the advocacy centre does,” said Parsons.
Jones says the partnership with the Yuletide Festival will help other communities get to know CACAC.
“It will help us get into other communities, and maybe others will follow Sylvan Lake’s lead,” Jones said.
Parsons added he is happy to have the Yuletide Festival and Sylvan Lake lead the way with this new partnership.
This new partnership has also lead to a new event for the festival, further expanding and growing the holiday festival.
The Yuletide Spirit Night, will be held the Thursday night, Nov. 28 and is a ticketed, cocktail party-style event.
The night will feature local entertainment, samples from local restaurants and breweries, as well as “CACAC supporting celebrities in the crowd to tell the advocacy story.”
“We have had great support from local businesses who wish to work with us on this event,” said Jones.
Townsend Electrical LTD is sponsoring this event for the festival.
Parsons says the additional cocktail-style-event has the possibility to double the fundraising efforts of the festival.
All proceeds from the Yuletide Spirit Night will be placed into the coffers and donated evenly amongst the five charities chosen by the festival.
In addition to CACAC, the Sylvan Lake and Area Community Partners has also been chosen as a charity benefiting from the festival.
Community Partners and CACAC join the Sylvan Lake Food Bank, AACS and the Christmas Bureau as beneficiaries of the festival.
Donna Ellerby with Community Partners says it is a great honour to be considered a recipient.
“Community Partners continues to always be searching for opportunities to get the message of what we do out and ways we can assist in the community. To be considered a recipient of funds raised through this event is a great honour,” Ellerby said in an email.
In the past, Community Partners has worked with the festival. For the last seven years they have donated a decorated tree for the silent auction.
“Financial assistance is always needed, as this agency is a private non-profit charity that must raise all funds received through donations, fundraising and grants,” said Ellerby.
Tickets for the Yuletide Spirit Night are $75 each. Contact the festival coordinators for more information at email@example.com or through their Facebook Page.
The Yuletide Spirit Night will be held on Nov. 28, with the festival kicking off the next day and running until Nov. 30.
The Yuletide Festival is free to attend and includes a markets, raffles, local entertainment and fun for the kids.