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Fire and Ice festivites mark end of centennial year

Red Deer will bid a fond farewell to its centennial year with a grand Fire and Ice finale on Friday at City Hall Park and along Ross Street.

The park and the nearby block of Ross Street will be aglow with festive lights and a handful of bright bonfires to keep strollers warm as they take in the ice sculptures and celebrate the closing of Red Deer’s 100th birthday.

The finale kicks off at 6 p.m. with free chili, hot chocolate and cake. Sugary, gooey taffy on a stick will also be available, thanks to members of the Red Deer chapter of the Association Canadienne-Française de l’Alberta.

The five ice sculptures planned to adorn the park will now only be two: one a throne for the public to sit on and snap photos and the other of the centennial logo.

“The company that was making them have had significant problems related to the early onset of extreme cold weather so they actually lost some equipment,” explained Sheila Bannerman, chair of the Red Deer Centennial Committee.

There will also be roughly 1,000 paper lanterns handed out for a lantern parade at the end of the evening and glow-in-the-dark paint for the lanterns is available from 6 to 7 p.m. inside Gaetz United Church. Glow sticks will also be passed out by volunteers throughout the park to light up the night.

Everything is free to the public to make it as inclusive as possible, said Bannerman.

The Greatest Year Ever exhibit will also be open on Friday evening in the Snell auditorium at the downtown branch of the Red Deer Public Library.

The exhibit is made up of displays from various community organizations that showcased memorable events in 2013. It will be officially revealed on Thursday at 2 p.m.

A 45-minute photo slideshow will play twice on a large outdoor screen in front of City Hall throughout the evening, highlighting faces and happenings throughout the centennial celebrations over the past 12 months.

The Red Deer College Chamber choir will also perform throughout Fire and Ice and a colourful pyrotechnics spectacle off City Hall roof around 8:30 p.m. will the end of the event with a blast.

“I hope people walk away from this with a sense that Red Deer is absolutely the best place in the whole world,” Bannerman said. “The centennial year had its ups and downs but it turned out better than we ever could have imagined and the support was just amazing.”



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