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Downtown Winterval festival coming in December

A new winter festival is being planned for downtown Edmonton this holiday season.

The inaugural Downtown Winterval will be put on by the Edmonton Downtown Business Association (EDBA) on Dec. 1 and 2.

"We'll have live music, horse drawn sleigh rides, a whole bunch of family friendly activities, lots of different snacks, both from the businesses on the street and things like sugar shack maple taffy," said Puneeta McBryan of the EDBA.

"I think for businesses especially this is the most important season heading into the holidays. So we have to make sure that people are out and about having a good time."

McBryan added this year's festivities will build on the programming the EDBA held last winter on Rice Howard Way.

"This one will be a lot larger. When we moved to Rice Howard Way last year, it was very much a pilot, we weren't sure exactly how it was going to go. And we kept it fairly small scale, and just the one night as well. So this will be a lot bigger."

The festival will feature free performances by Juno Award-nominated artists Jamie Fine and Rich Aucoin on the main stage on 104 Street on Friday, Dec. 1.

Dec. 2 will feature Vancouver alt-rock band Rare Americans, along with performances by local musicians and cultural arts organizations.

The festival will also feature:

  • a children's Christmas party at Rocky Mountain Icehouse featuring Santa Claus;
  • free arcade games and food specials at Home & Away;
  • deVine Days at deVine Wines & Spirits;
  • a dog-friendly "Pawliday Party" at Fawkes Coffee Shop;
  • Caribbean Christmas celebrations at the Jamaican Association of Northern Alberta;
  • a free crafting workshop with Alberta Craft Council;
  • holiday window displays at shops and restaurants;
  • a pop-up indoor Christmas market featuring downtown businesses and locally made gifts and treats, operated by the Edmonton Downtown Farmers Market;
  • free horse-drawn sleigh rides;
  • an outdoor beer garden; and
  • an LED light-art piece by Epcor;

Michael Phair Park will also host ice carving stations, maple taffy, and a second light-art installation.

"We know how important downtown vibrancy is to our city. And getting people out and active in winter, throughout the whole day and into the evenings is really, really important," said Nicole Poirier of the City of Edmonton.

"We are Edmontonians, we love winter, and we love being here. So I'm really looking forward to a fabulous winter season and a great kickoff with Downtown Winterval."

Other downtown events taking place throughout the month of December include:

  • holiday performances by elementary and junior high students at city hall from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. from Dec. 4 to 8;
  • outdoor opera at the Ice District Fan Park on Dec. 13 (weather permitting)
  • the City of Edmonton Bright Lights Skate Night from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at City Hall Plaza on Dec. 16 with free skate rentals and a holiday tree light-up;
  • Christmas lights at the Alberta Legislature building from Dec. 8 to 23 with scheduled performances on Fridays at noon and Saturday evenings in the rotunda;
  • New Years Eve in Churchill Square with fireworks on Dec. 31; and
  • free public skating at City Hall Plaza and the Ice District every day in December; Top Stories

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