Mr. and Mrs. Claus wait to visit with attendees at the 2018 Spirit of Sylvan Yuletide Festival and Market. File Photo.

Yuletide Festival, Light Up The Lake to kick off holiday season in Sylvan Lake

Sylvan Lake will have a jolly time Nov. 29-30 to celebrate the start of the holiday season

The eighth annual Spirit of Sylvan Yuletide Festival and Market is quickly approaching.

The festival, Nov. 29-30, will run simultaneously with the Town of Sylvan Lake’s Light Up The Lake event on Saturday.

The kick off to the Christmas season is being led by the line up’s newest addition, Spirit Night.

Graham Parsons, chair person of the festival’s committee, says the Spirit Night gala is a “Taste of Sylvan” in both food and beverage aspects.

He added the evening will also feature a silent auction, raffle prizes and live entertainment.

“It’s going to be a great night and it’s one of awareness for the Central Alberta Child Advocacy Centre (CACAC) which needs to be known,” said Parsons, “it’s just such a tremendous cause.”

All money raised at the gala will go to CACAC as well as Sylvan Lake Advanced Ambulatory Care, Sylvan Lake Christmas Bureau, Sylvan Lake Community Partners Association and the Sylvan Lake Food Bank.

Tickets for the gala on Nov. 28 can be purchased through the CACAC at 587-272-2233 or through Parsons at 403-357-9597. Tickets are $75 and are first come first serve.

The annual Spirit of Sylvan Yuletide Festival and Market will open its doors to the public Nov. 29 at 4 p.m.

“We have a real good committee that has their components all put together, the entertainment’s all lined up, the vendors [and] the market’s all lined up, the kid’s zone, all those components are there,” said Parsons.

This year’s event will also see the third annual Senior’s Tea on Nov. 29.

The market will open early at 2 p.m. for seniors to go to the market unimpeded with a tea held in the Seniors Centre at the NexSource Centre.

“This year the entertainment is the Friends of Music and they’ve been with us for four years now and this is the first time they’re moving over to the Senior’s Tea,” explained Parsons. “It’s two hours of Christmas music and light-hearted fun.”

The free festival has a solid line up of local musical acts performing over the course of the two days.

On Saturday, Nov. 30, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. the Kids Zone will be open with bouncy castles, games and visits from special guests such as Santa and Sparkles.

The Kids Zone will be accepting donations of unwrapped toys or monetary donations to benefit the Christmas Bureau.

Festival goers will also find raffle draws, a silent auction and a 50/50 to try their luck in while also supporting local charities.

The NexSource Centre will also be home to the Town’s annual Breakfast With Santa event on Nov. 30.

Breakfast With Santa in its new location will have two sittings – one at 8:30 a.m. and another at 11 a.m.

Both sittings will include a pancake breakfast, crafts and a magician, as well as Letters to Santa.

This year’s theme is Polar Express and a chocolate train will make a special appearance alongside Santa Claus himself.

Tickets for Breakfast With Santa must be purchased in advance at the NexSource Centre. Tickets are $8 for adults, $6 for children aged three to 12 and free for kids under two.

Photos with Santa will be available at the breakfast for $5 per photo.

The Light Up The Lake events will continue at 5 p.m. on Nov. 30 as the Santa Claus Parade rolls through the streets of Sylvan Lake.

Following the parade there will be fireworks from the pier at approximately 6:15 p.m. and the lighting of the Winter Village.

Kristen Shima, culture and tourism coordinator with the Town, says there will be free coffee, hot chocolate and bonfires.

“It’s just an all around celebration kicking off the start of the Christmas season, so we’re really excited to have the community come together and celebrate the beginning of the holidays,” said Shima.

She added the parade is still accepting floats and anyone interested can register on the Town of Sylvan Lake website.

Parsons, with the Spirit of Sylvan Yuletide Festival, says they are still looking for sponsorships and donations for this year’s event.

“We have some generous people who have stepped up and we’re still looking for more and we appreciate anything,” said Parsons.

Anyone looking to sponsor or donate to the festival can reach out to Graham Parsons at 403-357-9597 or by messaging the festival’s Facebook page.

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