City officials are getting set to host anywhere from 500 to 1,000 families Sunday night in celebrating New Year’s Eve.
Adrienne Marsh is the city’s special events co-ordinator. She said Wednesday that after last year’s success in hosting much of the Dec. 31 celebrations at Shipyard’s Park, officials decided to carry on the new tradition – along with providing free activities from skating to swimming to games and crafts at the Canada Games Centre (CGC) earlier in the day.
In past years, the city hosted all of the activities at the CGC.
Last year, it made the change to host daytime events at the recreation complex before moving bigger events to the park for the evening.
The celebration concluded shortly after midnight with the final of two fireworks displays thanks to federal funding aimed at kicking off the Canada 150 events that were a focus across the country through 2017.
While this year’s events will be smaller without the federal cash infusion available for 2017, Marsh said the logistics worked out well last year in starting the celebrations at the CGC and then moving down to Shipyards for the evening.
“We have such an amazing outdoor environment,” she said of the park, also highlighting the convenience the space offers as an excellent vantage point to take in the fireworks display that will be set off from Wickstrom Road just across the Yukon River from the park.
“It works out so great,” Marsh said.
Along with the sliding and skating that happen at any given time in the park over the winter, there will be two bonfires to keep visitors warm with hot chocolate and kettle corn available.
The Frank Slim Building will be open.
The Boys and Girls Club of Yukon will also be on-hand at the park to facilitate games.
Along with a few city staffers who are working to make the celebrations happen are a core group of about 10 to 15 volunteers. They often help out at many such family events the city hosts through the year.
“We want to thank our volunteers,” Marsh said, noting the important role they play in making celebrations like this happen.
Things will finish up with the fire works display at 8 p.m., provided the currently frigid weather co-operates.
“It’s going to be amazing,” Marsh said, highlighting the efforts of Warren Zackus and his crew in putting it together.
In a statement released last Friday, the city highlighted the importance of vehicle-pooling or using alternative transportation to get to events on New Year’s Eve.
The city also cautioned celebrants to keep pets safe and to leave fireworks to professionals like Zackus, as the use of fireworks is prohibited in the city.
Part of Wickstrom Road in the area of the fireworks display will be closed from 7:45 p.m. to 8:20 p.m. Sunday.