A symbol of Christmas will once again illuminate the Perron District in downtown St. Albert as the 2022 Snowflake Festival kicks into high gear this coming Friday evening.
The St. Albert and District Chamber of Commerce flips the switch to light up the majestic Christmas tree in front of the St. Albert Community Hall, a focal point of holiday cheer throughout community.
“It’s the spirit, the giving back and the coming together that is important. The Snowflake light-up brings the community together. St. Albert might be a city, but in some ways, it still feels like a small community. And that sense of community is what this is all about,” said Meggan Nepoose-Hill, chamber events manager.
The last Snowflake Festival was held in 2019 with an estimated 10,000 to 15,000 people celebrating at a series of outdoor and indoor activities.
Nepoose-Hill stated that the decision to go ahead with the free festival was finalized in September and organizers have worked under a time crunch. However, many city businesses are supporting the event and will be visible on Friday night giving out hot chocolate.
Ushering in the festivities is a tree lighting ceremony at 6:20 p.m. in front of St. Albert Community Hall with Mayor Cathy Heron, MP Michael Cooper and MLA Marie Renaud.
Santa and Mrs. Clause are also part of the honorary delegation. Immediately following the light-up, Santa and Mrs. Clause will retreat into the community hall where children are encouraged to visit and take a photo with him.
For anyone feeling the chill, elves will pump up the holiday warmth giving away free hot chocolate and 3,000 cookies donated by Save-On Foods.
The most popular outdoor event is expected to be the return of the Polar Express.
“It’s a trackless train that loops around St. Thomas Street. One of our sponsors suggested bringing it in 2019. It was so busy, we had to cut off the line at 8:45 p.m. to get everyone through,” Nepoose-Hill said.
Chicken John’s Petting Zoo with a variety of farm animals stakes out a corner of St. Michael’s Street.
“It’s been a staple at the festival for quite a few years, and we get a lot of positive feedback. A lot of kids don’t get to see animals because they don’t live on a farm. This is another good opportunity to make connections.”
Over at St. Albert Place, St. Albert United Church’ Handbell Choir displays its virtuosic talents with a series of holiday carols, St. Albert Library creates a Storytime adventure, and Musée Heritage Museum is providing an activity centre to craft snowflake crafts.
“We’re also encouraging people to come out and try one of the great restaurants in downtown St. Albert. This is a great opportunity to eat local and appreciate some of the best local cuisine.”
The Snowflake Festival is on Friday, Nov. 25 from 6 p.m. to about 9:30 p.m.
Free Park & Ride shuttles to the festival runs every 15 minutes from Nakî Transit Station to Anne Street. The first shuttle leaves Nakî at 6:15 p.m. and the last shuttle departs St. Anne Street at 10 p.m. Nakî is located on Campbell Road.