The pleasing melodies of festive music are capturing attention as the much anticipated Christmas season arrives in Sylvan Lake.
With the season comes a wide variety of events to interest, entertain and help us capture the spirit of Christmas.
That jolly old gentleman with the rotund belly and long white beard is sure to be busy.
There will also be chances to relax and listen to the talents of friends and neighbours, as well as to contribute to those less fortunate in our environs.
Santa Claus parade and fireworks
The highlight of the season, at least for the young people, is likely to be the Santa Claus parade and all its sparkling lights, taking 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 Monday afternoon they had 16 entries for the parade and were taking some at the last minute.
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 École 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 8:15 p.m.
Spirit of Sylvan Yuletide Festival and Market
An ever expanding event, Spirit of Sylvan Yuletide Festival and Market was created to enhance activities already undertaken by the town and other organizations.
The second annual festival takes place at the multiplex and arena from 4-10 p.m. on Friday and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 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 Sacred Massed Choir will provide a preview of their concert at 8:30 p.m. Friday. The event opens with C. P. Blakely School Choir performing on Friday afternoon. Other performers include Jenelle Herbert (6 p.m. Friday), Seniors’ Drama Troupe (10:45 a.m. Saturday), École Steffie Woima Elementary School Choir (12:30 p.m. Saturday) and two performances by Jazz Explosion (2:30 and 3:45 p.m. Saturday).
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 performing Spirit of Christmas at noon Saturday.
Skate With The Mascots goes from 11-12 Saturday, then there’s a Skate with Santa’s Elves at 1:30 pm.
Excitement is mounting for the gingerbread house making contest which takes place at 2 p.m. Saturday.
Hockey games include the Lakers peewee AA team against Red Deer at 6 p.m. Friday night, Bantam A Lakers vs. Rimbey at 8 p.m. and a Novice 3 or 3 Yuletide Hockey Classic Saturday morning beginning at 8:30 a.m.
The silent auction closes at 3 p.m. Saturday then there’s some spectacular gift packages available through live auction beginning at 3 p.m.
There are plenty of raffle items and special raffle tickets are available for a Banff Getaway or Chest of Spirits.
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 or see the ad elsewhere in today’s paper.
Breakfast with Santa
Enthusiasm is certainly percolating for the chance to have Breakfast With Santa, which is organized annually by the town. The event takes place Saturday with sittings at 8:30 and 11 a.m. Each can accommodate 300 youngsters.
Both sittings were already sold out by Monday, said Channelle Arnold.
Besides a buffet pancake breakfast by the Lions Club, those attending will have a chance to do crafts, watch entertainment, or partake in face painting by Fox Run Renaissance students. Pictures with Santa are also available.
The House of Music will be presenting a concert at the 11 a.m. sitting.
Arnold reminded people the events are taking place at the Fox Run-Mother Teresa multi-campus this year, not the community centre.
Sacred Massed Choir
Sylvan Lake Sacred Massed Choir is presenting Our King Has Come, a Christmas musical directed by Kerry Heisler, at several concerts this season.
Their main concerts take place Sunday (Dec. 1) 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. 23, 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. 8 at Memorial Presbyterian Church at 10:30 a.m.
Other Christmas activities
• Stuff a Bus is being held at Sobeys, Scott’s No Frills and Walmart on Saturday, Dec. 7, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. It’s organized by Red Deer Catholic School Division, École Mother Teresa School and École Our Lady of the Rosary School.
• The 13th annual Sylvan Lake RCMP and Victim Services Unit charity checkstop is taking place Saturday, Dec. 7, between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. on 47th Avenue between Ryders Square and Hewlett Park Landing. Beneficiaries of the event include Sylvan Lake Victim Services, Eckville Santa’s Anonymous, Bentley Christian Fund, Sylvan Lake Christmas Bureau and Sylvan Lake Food Bank.
• Trilliant Real Estate Group is again 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. 4. To book a tree, call 403-864-7785 or stop at their office in Hewlett Park Landing.
• House of Music is holding Christmas concerts at Sylvan Lake Alliance Church at 2 and 4 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 8; then at Bayview Café on Sunday, Dec. 15 at 2, 3 and 4 p.m., according to their website.
• Village of Idiots, a comedy in two acts, is being presented by H. J. Cody’s drama department at the Stevenson Performing Arts Centre at the school. It runs Tuesday, Dec. 3 to Saturday, Dec. 7 at 7 p.m. A dinner theatre Friday evening can accommodate 50 people. And there’s a matinee Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m.
• And, of course, there are Christmas musical and theatrical events taking place at the community’s schools and churches. Let us know the times, dates and events and we’ll add them to our community calendar. Just email firstname.lastname@example.org