By MorinvilleNews.com Staff
Morinville – The centennial year will pass another segment this weekend with the annual Light up the Night Christmas Festival. Organizers are looking to make the 2011 iteration of the three-day event one the community will remember.
“This year because it’s our centennial year we are trying to make it a bigger and better Christmas festival,” said organizer Ruthanne Weeks. “We’re trying to encompass community at large and offer something for everyone.”
That something for everyone includes 18 events spread over the three days. Weeks is hoping people will come out and be part of the festival. “It’s a great way to connect with your community,” she said, noting the weekend is largely composed of free or affordable events for the whole family. “I am blown away, being new to the community services department, by the volunteerism in this community. This event alone incorporates well over 100 volunteers.”
The efforts of those volunteers, combined with the efforts of town staff and organizers, have resulted in three-days of festival that will be the official launching point for Christmas in Morinville.
The festival weekend kicks off Friday with the annual Fil-A-Bus initiative for the Morinville Food Bank Society. The bus will spend the morning at No Frills and the afternoon at Sobeys. The goal this year is to surpass the 5,608 pounds of non-perishable food items and the roughly $1,600 in cash donations that were raised last year.
Friday evening brings Country singer Gord Bamford to the Morinville Community Cultural Centre for a Christmas concert. Doors open at 7 p.m. and tickets are $40 per person.
But Saturday will see the festival kick into high gear. “Saturday is a full day from 9 a.m. until almost 10 o’clock,” Weeks said. “That’s a full day for everybody, so we’ll have some tired little kids after that.”
Saturday’s activities include the Lion’s pancake breakfast at the Legion from 9 a.m. until noon, children’s activities and entertainment at the cultural centre from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m., and the library’s craft sale at the high school from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.
Weeks said people should be at the parade by 5 p.m. Saturday night if they want to catch a special surprise she said she could not disclose. But whatever the surprise is, this year parade goers will need to avoid 100 Street if they want to see the floats. The parade route will begin at the cultural centre and travel up 100 Avenue to Noah’s Ark Pets and Supplies. There it will travel to the Parish Hall so as to take in Aspen House and Heritage Lodge. Weeks said it was important to be able to allow Morinville’s seniors an opportunity to see the parade, something she said they look forward to being a part of. The parade will be followed by fireworks at Vanier school at 6:30 p.m.
But that is not the end of the entertainment lined up for Saturday. The Ray McDonald Sports Centre will be home to 100 years of hockey, a game of local and past local players assembled into one multi-generational hockey game.
Sunday’s activities included an artisans show at the cultural centre, entertainment by singer Lisa Hewitt, and a special screening of the documentary If I should Fall, a film about Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan. A family skate is also scheduled for the Ray McDonald Sports Centre from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. Between the two main events there will be a quilt presentation to Victim’s Services.
Weeks said she hopes residents and visitors will enjoy the weekend’s activities. “I just really hope people will come away feeling in the spirit,” she said. “It’s just a good way to start the whole season of Christmas.”