Christmas is coming early to Sylvan Lake.
Light up the Lake Christmas Celebrations and the seventh annual Spirit of Sylvan Yuletide Festival and Market are being held this weekend.
“It’s the kickoff to the Christmas season. It’s tough to not make Christmas a good thing,” said Graham Parsons, festival committee chair and Sylvan Lake councillor.
The Yuletide Festival begins Friday at 4 p.m. at the NexSource Centre. This is the second year the event will be held at the venue.
There will be 60 vendors, a kids’ zone, entertainment and more at the festival. All money raised will go toward the food bank, the Christmas Bureau and purchasing equipment at the new Advanced Ambulatory Care Centre.
The festival is “totally volunteer driven and the entertainment is all donated, and it’s a free event for everybody,” said Parsons. “There is going to be quite a diverse group of vendors there too. It’s pretty exciting.”
The festival, which had 5,500 visitors last year, will continue Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Light up the Lake features several events, including two breakfast with Santa opportunities on Saturday, at 8:30 and 10:30 a.m., at the Multi-Campus Gyms, 2 Falcon Ridge Dr.
There will also be a Santa Clause Parade, which rides through downtown Sylvan Lake at 5 p.m. on Saturday. The parade will be followed by fireworks at 6:15 p.m. and the lighting of the Winter Village at the pier.
“When we first started the festival, we were hoping to make it grow every year,” said Parsons. “With all the events put together, it makes a premier weekend in Central Alberta.”
Parsons said the Light up the Lake committee does “outstanding” work.
“From what I understand, they’re making a Christmas display choreographed to music. It fills the whole pier, and with new enhancements we had to the pier over the summer, it creates a very comfortable and festive atmosphere,” he said.