Winter celebrations brighten up the city with holiday festivities

Edmonton is steadily losing light with each passing day, and the city was thrust into winter earlier this week with a storm that blew across the Prairies.

While many Edmontonians were caught off guard by the heavy snowfall, the sudden shift in seasons also brings with it a slew of holiday events that will light up the city and feature local artists, exhibits, and other entertainment.

The season begins with the free All is Bright Festival on 124th Street this weekend. There will be lights, live music, street performers, face painting, and fun winter activities like ice sculptures and fire pits on Nov. 20 to mark the coming of the winter season. New this year is the Indigenous Pavilion at 124th Street and 103rd Avenue.

The Downtown Holiday Light Up will also kick off on Nov. 20 and run through Jan. 2. The events at Sir Winston Churchill Square will offer live entertainment, new art installations, and food trucks. The tree is already up in the square, and over the next few days, 14,500 lights will be added by EPCOR crews in preparation for Nov. 20.

"Right now perhaps more than ever, people need reasons to celebrate and come together in a way that's safe and accessible for everyone. We are so excited to create something extra special in Downtown Edmonton this year with our most ambitious Holiday Light Up festival yet," said Puneeta McBryan, executive director of the Downtown Business Association. "This event will bring much needed foot traffic back to our downtown businesses and vibrancy and joy back to our streets and public spaces."

A lit-up version of the Glow logo

Glow Edmonton runs from Nov. 24 to Jan. 2 this year, with a market, light gardens, live entertainment, and more. (Supplied)

The Works gateway arch, designed by mixed-media artist Rebecca Eckard, will also be set up in the square, and Jason Carter and Bridget Ryan will present Winter Solstice, an illuminated installation that will explore the importance of this time of year to Indigenous communities.

There will be free programming offered every other Saturday (Nov. 20, Dec. 4, and Dec. 18) from noon to 8pm, including a video screening of A Christmas Carol by The Citadel Theatre, The Great Canadian Kitchen Party by the Flying Canoe Festival, miniature train rides, and more.

Glow is also back Nov. 24 to Jan. 2, with towering light gardens and daily live entertainment. The Merry Makers Market there will feature more than 60 local artisans selling a variety of wares perfect for holiday gifts.

In the new year, don't miss Winterruption YEG, which runs Jan. 27 to 30. On the performers list is Altameda, St. Arnaud, Kimberley MacGregor Band, Rosina Cove, Rich Aucoin, and many more. The festival runs in music venues across the city and includes several free outdoor shows.

Other winter festivals coming up in Edmonton include Luminaria, Deep Freeze: A Byzantine Winter Festival, Boardwalk Ice on Whyte Festival, Flying Canoë Volant, and the Silver Skate Festival.