Left: Crowd at VIP presentation; right: a youth showing support for Red Deer's bid for 2019 Winter Games.

Red Deer is Ready Rally transforms downtown

The speed at which downtown Red Deer has transformed from a bustling city core to a full-out winter festival shows that, yes indeed, Red Deer is ready to host the 2019 Canada Winter Games.

The speed at which downtown Red Deer has transformed from a bustling city core to a full-out winter festival shows that, yes indeed, Red Deer is ready to host the 2019 Canada Winter Games.

Trees and shrubs around City Hall have sprouted gigantic snowballs and snowflakes for a rally in support of Red Deer’s bid to host the games that runs until 3:30 p.m. today. Inflatables of all sorts sprung from the pavement and volunteers, workers and visitors have donned red to match the bid’s theme: Red Deer is Ready.

Even the weather co-operated in an oddly appropriate way, sending grey skies, unseasonably cool temperatures and a light touch of rain.

The rally was organized by members of the Red Deer bid committee to co-ordinate with a visit from members of the Canada Games evaluation committee. They are meeting with local organizers today to review the plans and determine whether Red Deer has what it takes to host a national sporting event.

Ron and Cari MacLean, honourary chairs of the Red Deer committee, will join local organizers in their meetings. The national committee will also meet with supporters at the rally venue in the city centre, where streets have been blocked off east and north of City Hall.

People who want to attend the rally are encouraged to use the shuttle buses being provided during the rally, while free parking is being offered in the Sorensen Station parkade.

The winning bid is to be announced on Sept. 4.

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