6 Ways to Keep the Cheer In the Fort This Year

Girl sitting in front of a Christmas Tree

With the holidays drawing near, it’s time to think about ways to spread seasonal cheer. These six activities will help you celebrate in style—and Support Your Fort at the same time!

1. Attend Local Holiday Events

One of the best ways to enjoy the season is by attending local events with family and friends. Many of us have been feeling isolated since the start of 2020, so we especially appreciate opportunities to get together safely and celebrate, including:

  • LightsUp! Celebration: Join your family or cohort for Lights Up outside of City Hall on November 26 (5:15–7:30pm)! Take socially distanced pictures with Saint Nick, Elsa, Anna, and the Grinch, warm up at the fire pits, snap a photo at the photobooth, grab a cookie and hot chocolate, take home a custom caricature print, listen to the Mayor read ’Twas the Night Before Christmas, and join in the countdown to Light Up City Hall.
  • Santa Claus Drive-Through Parade: Bring your letter to Santa to the Drive-Through Parade in downtown Fort Saskatchewan on November 26 (7:30–9:30pm). Take a free, family-friendly drive and see the floats and holiday decor from local businesses down 104 Street and 100 Avenue (entry at 104 Street and 99 Avenue).
  • Enchanted Forest: Running November 26 to January 7, the Enchanted Forest is a favourite holiday tradition in Fort Saskatchewan. Local organizations and businesses create unique, beautiful, and fun Christmas trees that represent them and reflect the holiday season. This season, you can view the trees at City Hall and the Public Library during normal operating hours.

Please be sure to check the safety guidelines and policies for all events and gatherings, including those from Alberta Health Services and the City of Fort Saskatchewan.

2. Give Back to Your Community

This is a time for giving, and there’s no better recipient than your community. Consider donating money or requested items directly to a non-profit organization. The need for support in our community has already grown due to challenges from the pandemic, but requests always increase during the winter.

If you’re able, contact a local non-profit organization of your choice and see if they need:

  • Holiday gifts or meals for families
  • Warm clothing (coats, boots, hats, mittens)
  • Financial donations
  • Helping hands from volunteers

3. Join the Fort’s Free Family Fun

There’s lots to do in the Fort for free this winter! Take the family skating at one of the City’s free indoor public skate times, enjoy outdoor fun at West River’s Edge, or hop on one of the fully groomed snowbank skate rinks in neighbourhoods around Fort Saskatchewan.

  • Free Skate: Skate at the Dow Centennial Centre for free, Monday through Friday (6:30–7:45am, 9:00–10:00am) and Sunday at 3:45–4:45. You can also visit the Sportsplex on Saturdays (10:00–11:00am) and Sundays (2:45–3:45pm). Call 780-992-6266 to confirm rink availability in advance.
  • West River’s Edge: Get some fresh air while cross-country skiing, ice fishing, snowshoeing, sledding, ice skating on the lake, or walking the dog at the dog park. There’s also an Ice Slide coming in 2022!
  • Neighborhood Snowbank Rinks: Natural ice skating surfaces are located outdoors in neighborhoods across the city. There might be some restrictions, so check the City of Fort Saskatchewan website for information about rinks near you.

4. Support Your Fort and Shop Local

“If you want the real holiday shopping experience with amazing, personal customer service and help finding the perfect gift for a loved one, shopping at one of our local businesses is a great option,” says Erin Brush Duncan, Downtown Action Plan Coordinator for the City of Fort Saskatchewan. “If great deals are what you are looking for, consider shopping online or in-person at local businesses on Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, or Cyber Monday.”

There are plenty of reasons to shop, give, eat, and experience local:

  • You can find one-of-a-kind and personalized gifts
  • You create and sustain local jobs
  • You invest in and reward entrepreneurship
  • You are supporting local businesses that support causes in your local community
  • Sales taxes collected from your purchases stay in the community
  • You minimize environmental impact by consuming less fuel and packaging

To keep everyone safe, please respect any COVID-19 policies and protocols in place at local retailers and restaurants. We know it’s a stressful season, but let’s also remember the joy of the season and treat everyone with patience and respect, especially those working in our community’s service industry.

5. Support Local Artisans, Makers, and Bakers

Our local artisans, makers, and bakers can help you find just the right gift for that hard-to-shop-for special someone. Get one-of-a-kind gifts, treats, and décor at any of the local artisan markets, including:

  • FSDCC Christmas Marketplace: Get handcrafted goods, homemade treats, and festive retail therapy at the Christmas Marketplace on November 27–28 (10:00am–4:00pm) at the Dow Centennial Centre. Shop clothing and beauty products, home decor and Christmas decorations, toys, books, and more from 75 local vendors.
  • Pottery Guild Christmas Sale: Explore unique handmade pottery at the Fort Saskatchewan Pottery Guild Christmas Sale — and take some home for a loved one! The event runs November 26 (3:00–8:00pm) and 27 (9:00am–3:00pm) at the Dow Centennial Centre.

6. Give the Gift of a Local Experience

Give someone the most wonderful time of the year with a local experience here in Fort Saskatchewan. Not sure what that could look like? Try these ideas:

Restaurants and personal care services had a challenging time during the pandemic. You can support them (and spoil your friends and family) by buying an experience. Many businesses offer special deals with gift cards, so it’s the perfect way to give a bit more this season.


 

This winter, we invite and encourage you to think about how you can celebrate the season while supporting local businesses here in Fort Saskatchewan. They can’t wait to help you make this season one to remember. Happy holidays!

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