By Lauren Thomson
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
– Medicine Hat News
The Town of Redcliff along with the Redcliff Youth Centre are kicking off the Christmas season with an exciting new tradition, one that will continue to grow in the years to come.
Janae Ulrich, executive director of the Redcliff Youth Centre, spoke to Southern Alberta Newspapers about the establishment of the new Winter Festival in Redcliff Legion Memorial Park, where attendees will witness the town’s first ever Christmas tree lighting.
“On Friday, November 26, we are hosting our first annual Winter Festival,” said Ulrich. “The Winter Festival is going to start at 6 p.m. and run until about 8 or 8:30 p.m. We are anticipating starting a new tradition for our community. Community is something that we value and we really advocate for and we work really closely with the town of Redcliff.”
The event will include Santa and Mrs. Claus seated in the gazebo, surrounded by holidays lights and ready to take photos and hear the Christmas wishes of the kids who come to see them. There will also be a coffee and hot chocolate bar with plenty of toppings. Ulrich said hayrides were not possible this year due to health restrictions but she hopes to incorporate them in years to come.
“The Christmas tree lighting will begin at 7 p.m.,” Ulrich said. “This tree was specifically planted for this reason, so it’s quite small this year, about eight or nine feet, but one of the nice things is that we’ll be able to watch it grow over the years and just create a little piece of history in our community.”
“The weather is definitely on our side this year which is a plus,” said Ulrich.
The event and all of its components are free of cost.
“We know that the pandemic has caused a lot of hardship for a lot of people, so it’s a free event,” said Ulrich. “We’ll have free hot dogs, free s’mores, nice crackling fires for people to gather and stay warm. It’s completely free for the community to come out and enjoy and celebrate the season together.”
“We’re really looking forward to creating that piece of history with our community and bringing everybody together to enjoy the holiday season.”