By Morinville News Staff
Morinville – The Christmas season in Morinville officially kicks off this weekend with the annual Light up the Night Christmas Festival, an annual event funded by the Town of Morinville and organized by a committee of dedicated volunteers and community partners.
“We started in May putting this together for the community,” said Morinville’s Recreation and Cultural Coordinator Melonie Dziwenka, adding the work of the committee volunteers is greatly appreciated. “Some of these people have been on it right from the beginning.”
This year’s festival includes 15 events spread over the three days, events chosen to bring families together in the heart of Morinville for a community celebration. “I think it’s a chance for us to celebrate the spirit of Christmas coming up,” Dziwenka said. “We keep saying Morinville is the family choice and this festival allows us to put families first,” she said. “I love Christmas. It’s a time of family. We are trying to show families you are the most important. It’s not the shopping. It’s not the gifts. It’s you and your family taking a moment and making a moment. For me, it just reestablishes that whole family sense.”
Lots of events
The festival weekend kicks off Friday with the annual Fill-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 nearly 7,500 pounds of non-perishable food items and the roughly $800 in cash donations that were raised last year.
Friday evening brings Country singer Brett Kissel to the Morinville Community Cultural Centre for a concert. Showtime is 8 p.m. and tickets are $25 per person, $20 for seniors and $10 with student ID.
Saturday will see the festival kick into high gear. Activities include the Lion’s pancake breakfast with Santa at the Legion from 8 a.m. until 11 a.m., children’s activities and entertainment at the cultural centre from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m., and the Friends of the Morinville Public Library’s craft sale at the high school from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.
Dziwenka said the non-profit society took over the annual craft sale from the library this year, leaving the library with more time to get involved in the festival in a different way. “They’ve decided to start a seniors’ component to the festival,” she said. “We’ve always been so family oriented. They’re going to have the Morinville Minstrels come and sing Christmas Carols at 3 p.m. There is going to be designated seating for seniors for the parade in front of the library and upstairs at the Town Office will be overflow so people can see [the parade] from there.”
A highlight for families on Saturday is the addition of Circus Montreal on the cultural centre stage. Two free performances will take place – one at 10 a.m. and one at 2 p.m. Both are followed by a free circus workshop.
The annual Christmas Festival parade will take place from 5 p.m. until 6 p.m. and be followed by the lighting of St. Jean Baptiste Park by Mr. and Mrs. Claus and the setting off of fireworks at 6:30 p.m. Dziwenka said this year’s parade floats will receive colour commentary from Smith Music owner Paul Smith and Morinville News editor Stephen Dafoe.
But that’s not the end of the entertainment lined up for Saturday. The Ray McDonald Sports Centre will be home to the annual Morinville Jets Alumni Game at 6 p.m. and a regular season game at 8:30 p.m.
Sunday’s activities include a free family skate with Santa Claus from 1:30 p.m. until 3 p.m. at the arena, the Grand Opening of the Morinville Community Library at 2 p.m. and a family movie at the Morinville Community Cultural Centre at 6 p.m.
For more information on the weekend’s activities contact Community Services at 780-939-7839.