There may be colder weather around the corner, but preparations for Morinville’s winter festival have taken off.
Lite Up the Nite, expected to take place Friday, Nov. 26 to Sunday, Nov. 28, will host a variety of events. They range from a museum Christmas exhibit, Santa’s pancake breakfast, roving artists, and craft making, to a parade, a light-up ceremony, fireworks, and outdoor skating.
The three-day festival will be concentrated along eight main hubs: Musée Morinville Museum, Rendez-Vous Centre, Morinville Community Cultural Centre, Main Street, St. Jean Baptiste Park, Notre Dame Park, and Morinville Leisure Centre.
“I’m really excited to see it coming back. I’ve taken my kids to it, and I’ve really enjoyed it. I’m looking forward to being inside and delivering it for the community,” said organizer Teena Hughson.
Friday, Nov. 26
Kicking off the festival on Friday from noon to 5 p.m. is Musée Morinville Museum’s ode to the season. Titled An Old-Fashioned Christmas, the exhibit features Christmas artifacts from the past.
Later in the day, the annual Morinville Food Bank Drive takes place from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at 9916 104 St.
“It’s an opportunity to stock up on some of the most-needed items. Since it’s a drive-thru, socially-distanced volunteers will be there to accept donations,” Hughson said.
Saturday, Nov. 27
Saturday morning the free Lions Breakfast with Santa at the Rendez-Vous Centre is take-out on a first-come, first-served basis for the first 125 people. Santa will be on site outdoors for photos.
The Morinville Community Cultural Centre takes centre stage from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. with a series of indoor crafts, performances, and activities. The Imaginarium Puppet Company will showcase two performances of The Durflings and the Book of Poops at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
The plot follows Loopy and Lena, two siblings who borrow their uncle’s magic wand and summon The Book of Poops where a magical goose emerges. But the book is stolen, and the duo go on a long journey in hopes of finding it.
In addition, Indigo Circus Performers, a troupe of roving entertainers, add a dash of fun with a stilt-walker, a roving hula hooper, flashing LED lights, and an LED Ice Queen. Glitter tattoos, seasonal crafts, and a colouring contest are all on tap.
The Morinville Art Club sponsors a colouring contest for a $75 gift card to a Morinville retailer of the winner’s choice. All participants need to do is download a colouring sheet and enter the contest between Nov. 27 and Dec. 20.
The annual Christmas Festival Parade is once more on track and will meander down Main Street at 5:30 p.m. It completes its route at St. Jean Baptiste Park where a dignitary will throw the switch to Lite Up the Park.
The evening finishes in a blaze of glory as a fireworks display manned by Rob Kowalyshyn from ThunderFX will explode across the sky of Notre Dame Park at 7 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 28
From the winter ice-skating aspect, residents are encouraged to lace up their skates for the Red and Green Family Skate at Morinville Leisure Centre from 12:30 p.m. to 2:20 p.m.
“We’re encouraging everyone to wear red and green and be festive.”
For the quintessential Canadian holiday experience, the community cultural centre plays host to a tree-decorating event where everyone is invited to create a personalized wooden ornament.
“They can choose from snowmen, snowflakes, stars, reindeer, a Christmas tree or opt for a blank canvas, a wood chip ornament,” noted Hughson.
The festival is also hosting a Holiday Décor Contest for Morinville residents only. Residents just need to snap a photo of either indoor or outdoor holiday decorations. The photos will be posted on the Town of Morinville Facebook page. A random draw will select the winner, who is eligible for a $75 gift card at a Morinville retailer of choice. Anyone wishing to know more about the draws can contact Community Services at 780-939-7839.
“This is really a wonderful opportunity to get to know other people in the community and celebrate what could be a happy time. It’s an opportunity to bring people together and lift spirits.”