Holiday Alley, a winter street festival in the City of Selkirk’s downtown, is inspiring small-town pride and celebrating downtown revitalization. The free, two-day festival will take over Manitoba Ave. East, a block of the city’s downtown, and will be showered with light, art, sound and creativity for the first weekend in December.
The festival will begin with the illumination of 75,000 newly installed LED light bulbs on 24 buildings on the one block stretch of Manitoba Ave. East at 8 p.m. on Friday, December 1.
Over 100 volunteers and 24 local businesses have come together to organize, develop and create Holiday Alley over the past 12 months. The community’s vision of Holiday Alley is shared with the City of Selkirk’s own vision for downtown renewal.
The city, province and federal government will put $26 million of bricks-and-mortar upgrades into the old downtown starting in 2018, but it’s projects like Holiday Alley that bring people and excitement to the area to make for the perfect combination for a prairie town’s downtown renewal.
“Holiday Alley is the ‘demonstration sport’ for a lot of future activities that could go on downtown, bringing tourists, traffic and ramping up opportunities for any entrepreneurial business that wants to welcome Holiday Alley visitors,” says Shirley Muir, a lead volunteer at Holiday Alley.
Holiday Alley is an expansion of very successful Homes for the Holidays: House and Heritage Tours, which is now in its third year. Profits from Holiday Alley and Homes for the Holidays will be donated to Homes for All Fund at the Selkirk and District Community Foundation.
Holiday Alley Events and Activities:
Manitoba Hydro’s Heat Up the Street Chili Cook Off – Twelve local chefs, from two fire departments, two grocery stores, local restaurants and non-profit agencies will compete for bragging rights of Red River North’s best chili. Only 250 tickets available, which allows you to vote for your favourite chili.
Art On Ice – Six ice-fishing shacks designed by area high school students and whimsically painted by local artists, will be turned into a public art display during the street festival. The beautifully embellished shacks be sold in a live auction on December 2 at 3 p.m. with proceeds donated to the Selkirk and District Community Foundation’s Homes for All Fund.
Hammerdown Competition – Cheer and see the sparks fly as ten competitors forge steel into winning chili ladles for the Heat Up the Street Chili Cook Off. Novice blacksmiths have 1 hour each to create ladels for three different categories, the Ladle with the Longest Handle, the Ladle that holds the most volume, and lastly the Ladle that local Jurors deem the most creative design.
Make Art, Buy Art – Over 100 crafters, makers and artists will come together to showcase their work during Holiday Alley. A huge range of goodies including hand-crafted cards, signature soaps, cozy moccasins and Christmas baking is on sale. The Gwen Fox Gallery, a heritage building that anchors the downtown, hosting a Fibre Divas exhibition. And for the budding artist, two creation stations on Holiday Alley give kids an opportunity sit down and get crafty. A Métis Giving Tree on the street allows you to make a decoration – add it to the tree – and take a decoration away.
Giant Selfies – Take a selfies with your (50 ft.) portrait during Leif Norman’s large-scale street portraits projected onto the Garry Theatre. Don’t be surprised if Santa photo bombs this fun family portrait. This activity is made possible by the Selkirk Community Renewal Corporation.
Our Indigenous Spirit – According to Stats Canada, almost 35 percent of Selkirk residents identify as Indigenous (Winnipeg is 12 per cent). Holiday Alley reflects our community with an Elder story teller; the Fire Heart Women’s Traditional Hand Drum Group; a community Friendship Round Dance in the street, and Métis Music featured at the local hotel. The new Selkirk Bear Clan will provide security throughout the weekend. And of course – there will be bannock!
AlleyWay Funk – Five ‘alleyways’ of the festival block are being recreated into galleries and interactive displays – all winter themed. Walk down the maze of decorated evergreens, or share your feelings about the city on the chalk wall.
To date, this project has wide support from sponsors and donors like Canadian Heritage, Travel Manitoba, City of Selkirk, Selkirk + District Community Foundation, Community Foundations of Canada, The Gaynor Family, The PRHouse, Home Hardware, The Window Factory, Selkirk Renewal Corporation, Manitoba Hydro, Jimmy Reel, Terry’s Towing, Canadian Tire, Burden of Truth (TV Series), Geller’s Year Round Property Service, Molson Canadian, Metis N4 Construction and many sponsors with goods in kind.
For more information, visit holidayalley.ca.