By Jenna Swan
Courtesy of the Sylvan Lake News
The fifth annual Spirit of Sylvan Yuletide Festival is set to kick off next weekend on Nov. 25th and Nov. 26th at the Sylvan Lake NexSource Centre.
The free two-day family festival kicks off on Friday evening with a concert courtesy of Canadian country music singer and songwriter, Alecia Aichelle.
Told she would never sing again after complications with throat surgery, Aichelle has gone on to wow audiences across North America. The concert is set to go from 5:45 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. allowing time for attendees to make their way downtown after to view the Town of Sylvan Lake’s annual Santa Clause Parade and Light Up The Lake fireworks show which is set to follow the concert. Although the Spirit of Sylvan Yuletide Festival is not a Town run event, the fireworks and parade organized by the town compliment the festival nicely.
Following fireworks everyone will be invited back to the NexSource Centre for more entertainment and the annual Spirit of Sylvan Yuletide Market which sees hundreds of Central Alberta vendors showcasing unique artisan goods and creations.
Saturday’s schedule for the Spirit of Sylvan Yuletide Festival includes a full day of fun at the Servus Credit Union Kidz Zone and a full line-up of entertainment from the Mass Choir, C.P. Blakely Choir, Steffie Woima Choir and a number of musical acts by students and instructors from House of Music. Another unique entertainment option this year will be performances from Karcha The Great, a local magician who is looking forward to his debut performance in Sylvan Lake.
Each year the Festival’s raffle and silent auction table continues to grow with hot ticket items thanks to a sponsorship from No Frills. Back by popular demand will be the $2,500 travel voucher raffle courtesy of Trilliant Real Estate and Horizon Travel. The voucher can be used to fly anywhere in the world with raffle sales continuously going to support the Sylvan Lake and Area Urgent Care cause. The raffle is drawn on Nov. 26th at the Festival.
A silent auction item this year will be four tickets to see the Edmonton Oilers take on the Vancouver Canucks on New Year’s Eve at Rogers Stadium.
In addition, around 10 fully decorated Christmas trees are set to be displayed throughout the duration of the Festival which are later auctioned off. Graham Parsons, chair of the Yuletide Festival Committee explained this year’s Festival will be host to a special tree in honour of past vice president of the Yuletide Committee and former editor of Sylvan Lake News, Steve Dills, who passed earlier this year after a hard fought battle with Leukemia.
Dill’s memorial tree is sponsored by Chief’s Pub & Eatery and has in past year’s been known as the ‘Spirit Tree’. Parsons explained the tree is one of the most continuously sought silent auction items, adding it is the tiny bottles of liquor ornamenting the tree that keep the bids coming.
“Each year our committee continues to amaze me,” said Parsons. “They work so hard all year and the community responds to the event because people like to shop for Christmas while also helping to support those in need.”
In past years all funds raised from the Festival through silent auction and raffle prizes has gone to support the Sylvan Lake & Area Urgent Care Committee. This year, due to economic uncertainty for many local families, funds will be divided three ways between the Urgent Care Committee, the Sylvan Lake Christmas Bureau and the Sylvan Lake Food Bank.
The Spirit of Sylvan Yuletide Festival will open on Nov.25th from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. and will re-open on Nov. 26th from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.
The Town of Sylvan Lake Santa Clause Parade will take place downtown Sylvan Lake on Friday night beginning at 6:50 p.m. and will finish around roughly 8 p.m. with fireworks on the pier set to begin at approximately 8:15 p.m.
In addition to Yuletide Festival happenings, a Breakfast with Santa event is also being hosted on Nov. 26th from 8:30-10 a.m. and 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Tickets are only available in advance for the pancake breakfast with Santa and are available at the Sylvan Lake Recreation & Culture Offices.