The biggest New Year’s Eve party is by far and away Events Edmonton’s well-orchestrated celebrations at Sir Winston Churchill Square.
This five-hour party starting at 7 p.m. includes ice skating, wagon rides, music, balloon artists, magic and street dancing. The grand finale is a 12-minute fire works display symbolizing the months of the year. An estimated 25,000 people squeeze into the square to watch the brilliant cascade of fireworks just behind city hall.
“It’s mesmerizing. The sky is your canvas and you have all these lights changing shape, colour and size. And when you think about it, they emulate the solar system,” says event general manager Giuseppe Albi.
This year’s big headline entertainment on the main outdoor stage is the Edmonton-based five-piece reggae band Souljah Fyah. They are 2009 Juno nominees, Western Canada Music Award winners, and twice cited as the best reggae band in Canada by the Canadian Reggae Music Awards.
“They performed for us on New Year’s Eve three years ago. It was a cold night, but they were real troopers and didn’t stop. They kept going and kept everyone warm.”
Opening for Souljah Fyah at 9 p.m. is Lizzy Hoyt, a multi-instrumentalist that mixes the Maritime fiddling with western country/folk. Following her is Blackboard Jungle, a six-piece 60’s rock band at 10 p.m.
“We start off softer with Lizzie and amp it up with Blackboard Jungle.”
The indoor CBC Stage is highlighting U-22 performers. Folk/country singers The Command Sisters, country singer Kayla Patrick and country/folk singer Ky Babyn come stomping their feet and shaking the tables.
And for the junior crowd, the City of Edmonton is setting up a craft table, and hosting Brian Lehr’s magical show along with the Foggy Minded Mountain Boys.
“We have a great line of entertainment and spectacular fireworks. But first and foremost, this is a community celebration. It’s non-alcoholic and it’s free. So come down and participate in this community celebration.”
St. Albert Transit operates free bus service on New Year’s Eve from 6:10 p.m. to 2:10 a.m. Check www.ridestat.ca for updates.