File Photo

Sylvan Lake’s Yuletide Festival cancelled amid COVID-19 concerns

A number of concerns stemming from COVID-19 sparked the decision to cancel the holiday festival

The Spirit of Sylvan Yuletide Festival has been cancelled, four months before the holiday festival was set to kickoff the festive season.

The festival committee made the decision last week, citing donations and health restrictions as the deciding factors.

Graham Parsons, chairperson for the festival, said there were too many unknowns moving forward.

“We are optimistic that things will be back to normal by Christmas, but we just don’t know we will be,” Parsons said in a phone interview.

“We don’t want to do anything half way.”

A main consideration in cancelling this year’s event was the need for sponsorships and donations.

Parsons explained with the economy the way it is the committee felt uncomfortable asking for donations.

He continued saying the uncertainty around social gatherings was another reason the cancel the festival for this year.

“There are so many unknowns right now that it just felt right to cancel now, that way we can still plan other smaller ways to celebrate,” Parsons said.

The uncertainty around the hockey season was another factor that played into the committee’s decision.

There has been no announcement around the hockey season as of yet, but many hockey players are hoping to have a shortened season beginning in November.

“If they start up in November it would be too much to take the ice out for four days and disrupt their already short season,” said Parsons.

While the festival as we have come to know it won’t happen in 2020, Parsons and the committee are looking for ways to be part of the community during the holiday season.

One idea is to collaborate more closely with Light Up the Lake, which runs in conjunctions with the Yuletide Festival.

However, smaller events and outdoor activities will all depend on social distancing restrictions.

“We are looking at maybe having something in the [Santa Claus] parade, or outdoor entertainment,” Parsons said, adding entertainment is a large part of the festival with local performers and groups participating.

“We still want to make a presence in the community.”

The cancellation of the festival will have an effect on local charities as well. Every year the Yuletide Festival makes a donation to local charities, including the Food Bank, the Christmas Bureau, AACS and Community Partners.

The committee is looking at way they can still help the local charities, in a smaller capacity.

“In a time like this it is the charities that really suffer. But, that money has to come from somewhere and when somewhere doesn’t have money to give, the charities will suffer.”

Parsons says the Yuletide Festival Committee is looking into options for the holiday season, adding further announcements will be made in the near future.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the chief medical officer of health, receive flu shot. Photo via Government of Alberta
COVID-19: One more death in central zone

Ponoka County on province’s watchlist

Many rural municipalities were concerned about a proposed reduction to their industrial revenues, but Alberta’s Municipal Affairs minister has come up with an alternative solution. (Photo contributed)
Province and rural municipalities agree on a plan to support Alberta’s energy industry

Creating new wells or pipelines would result in a three year ‘tax holiday’

Last year’s production of Forever Plaid. File photo
Klaglahachie Fine Arts Society postpones play

The board of the Klaglahachie Fine Arts Society announced in a press… Continue reading

The influenza vaccine will be available at no cost starting Monday in Alberta. “The more that we can avoid influenza-related tests, emergency visits and hospitalizations, the stronger our system will be to support those with COVID-19 and all other health needs," says Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the province's chief medical officer of health. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Hinshaw urges Albertans to get flu shot as COVID cases jump by 332

Alberta’s central zone now has 132 active COVID-19 cases

In this photo provided by Shannon Kiss, smoke from the CalWood Fire billows, Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020, as seen from Gunbarrel, Colo. (Shannon Kiss via AP)
‘First guys out:’ Western Canadian air tanker fleet busy despite drop in wildfires

CEO believes wildfires have become more dangerous in recent years as people live closer to where they start

A passer-by walks past a COVID-19 testing clinic in Montreal, Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Canada ‘yet to see’ deaths due to recent COVID surge as cases hit 200,000

Much of the increase in case numbers can be attributed to Ontario and Quebec

robbery
UPDATE: Suspect identified in early morning shooting

Rimbey RCMP had responded to a complaint of an armed robbery at the Bluffton City General Store

Executive Director of Agape Kate Halas (left) receives $1000 from Sgt. Eric Christensen (right) on behalf of Agape. Photo/ Shaela Dansereau.
Former Wetaskiwin Peace Officer wins provincial award; gives back to Wetaskiwin community

Eric Christensen has won the Alberta Association of Community Peace Officers Award of Excellence.

Agriculture Minister Devin Dreeshen (Alberta government photo)
Big boost for Alberta college agriculture research

The $2-million agreement to benefit Lethbridge College’s applied research team

Grant and Barbara Howse, in quarantine in Invermere. Mike Turner photo
Denied entry into U.S., Canadian couple still forced to quarantine for 2 weeks

The rules around crossing the U.S. border led to a bizarre situation for an Invermere couple

Employee Sophia Lovink shows off a bag of merchandise in Toronto on Thursday, June 11, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
Canada gets C-average grade on 2nd year of cannabis legalization

Cannabis Council of Canada releases report card on federal government and legalization

Canadian and American flags fly near the Ambassador Bridge at the Canada-USA border crossing in Windsor, Ont. on Saturday, March 21, 2020. Restrictions on non-essential travel between Canada and the United States are being extended until at least Nov. 21. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Rob Gurdebeke
Non-essential travel restrictions at Canada-U.S. border extended to at least Nov. 21

The restrictions do not apply to those providing essential services in either country

(The Canadian Perss)
Banff wolves have lower survival rate due to hunting, trapping outside park boundary

Researchers looked at 72 radio-collared wolves in the national park from 1987 to August 2019

Most Read