The first Spirit of Sylvan Yuletide Festival is just weeks away and organizers are pleased with the way things are coming together.
“A special event at a special time for a special cause in a special community,” is how chairperson Graham Parsons explained the two day event which will enhance Christmas festivities already planned for the Nov. 30-Dec. 1 weekend.
The nighttime Santa Claus Parade and fireworks on Nov. 30 and two sittings of Breakfast With Santa on Saturday morning have been traditions in welcoming the festive season to Sylvan Lake.
A volunteer committee has been working for close to a year planning the festival which will embrace those events with a variety of additional activities at the multiplex and arena both days.
In the multiplex will be a Winter Wonderland with decorated trees, Farmers’ Market vendors, a Kids Zone with crafts for the youngsters, a gingerbread house making contest and entertainment.
“We’ve got some interesting commitments from businesses and organizations that want to decorate trees that will be auctioned at the end of the event. Others are creating Christmas wreaths and other seasonal displays,” said Parsons. “We’re encouraging people not just to make donations to the event but to get involved in decorating and creating those donations. We want participation,” he said. Some of the decorated Christmas trees will be displayed ahead of time at local businesses.
Anyone who hasn’t yet made a decision but wants to create a tree or Christmas display may contact Parsons at 403-887-2575.
Money raised through the festival is going towards the town’s Urgent Care project.
One of the highlights of the festival, believes Parsons, will be the Skate with the Mascots. Harvey the Hound should be a big draw, he said. That’s unless the NHL resumes play by Dec. 1 and the favourite of Flames fans has to stay in Calgary.
But other mascots, including Woolly Bully and Lionel, the Boston Pizza mascot, are committed and Parsons is expecting more to lace up skates. The skate takes place at 11 a.m. on Dec. 1.
Kelly Edgecombe reports the gingerbread making contest has several teams already scheming about how to create masterpieces. The contest goes at 1 p.m. on Dec. 1. She’s still ready to accept other competitors. Contact her at 403-887-6298.
The Farmers’ Market vendor spaces have been fully subscribed for quite a while now, according to Crystal Loewen. They’ll be open from 4:30-10 p.m. on Nov. 30 and then again from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Dec. 1. There are more than 50 different vendors providing interesting and unique Christmas gifts.
A major draw will be conducted during the event with the prize a $1,200 travel voucher.
There will also be raffle prizes available during the festival, with a format similar to hockey tournaments.
Area Scouts and Cubs will be a big part of the entertainment in the arena side of the complex with their rodeo. There’s also a Dynamite hockey mini-tournament planned.
Sylvan Lake Skating Club members will be demonstrating their skills as they present a preview from the 12 Days of Christmas. And there’s several chances for public skating during the event.
On the multiplex side of the facility, the Mass Choir is going to provide a short preview of this year’s performance on Friday night to entice people to attend their annual event.
Other musical talent will be featured throughout the festival.
Like us on Facebook (Spirit of Sylvan Yuletide Festival) to keep up-to-date with the events being planned and the schedule as it evolves, said Parsons.
Volunteers are a big part of the success of this event and they’re under the capable leadership of Karen Van Meer. If you’re interested in participating, the next committee meeting is Nov. 15 at 7 p.m. at the Legion — or give her a call at 403-887-3128.
Sylvan Lake Community Alliance Church is planning a house tour on Saturday evening from 5-9 p.m. and will be selling tickets prior to and during the festival. There’s a limited number available.
This festival is about Christmas! It’s about community! It’s about family! Fun! and Holiday Spirit!, enthused Parsons.
He’s hoping that this first event, which leads into the town’s Centennial year, will become a fixture in the town’s calendar of special moments every year.