Yule Ave brings the holidays home for people this December with an emphasis on the values of the season.
The event returns for its sixth year at Alberta Avenue Community Centre on Dec. 16 to bring free fun for the whole family.
“I want people to create Christmas, not to buy it,” said organizer Frank Zotter about the upcoming one-day event.
The annual festival caters to all ages and backgrounds to foster a sense of community for the neighbourhood.
Zotter came up with the idea in 2011 and keeps the festival running because he wants families to experience “the charm that holidays used to have” when he was a child. Yule Ave shifts the focus of the holidays from waiting in line to buy gifts to bringing families together to make memories they won’t soon forget. Zotter said he believes the holiday season should be about the values of the season, not gifts.
Yule Ave kicks off at noon on the Ave with hot chocolate and a snow village where Santa will hear wishes on his snow throne.
This year, additions to the festival include gingerbread house making, Christmas cartoons, and a Christmas movie. Organizers said they wanted to add indoor activities this year to give people more options and a chance to warm up.
Materials for 50 gingerbread houses will be available and festival goers can build the houses on a first-come-first-serve basis, starting at noon in the Community Centre’s Lutz room. Expect to spend 15 to 25 minutes decorating a house. Afterwards, take it home to enjoy.
Kirsten Scott, the host of the gingerbread house making station, said she felt it was time to get involved with Yule Ave.
“I have enjoyed making gingerbread houses with my family since I was a teenager and felt it would be an appropriate community event for Yule Ave,” said Scott.
Afterward, participants can watch Christmas movies and cartoons and enjoy free popcorn and beverages inside Alberta Avenue Community Centre lounge from 1 to 6 pm. Cartoons include Kung Fu Panda, Merry Madagascar, and Shrek the Halls, shown at 1 pm, 2 pm and 3 pm. At 4:30 pm, organizers will screen the Christmas movie Elf. Space is limited to 30 people. Should attendance be larger than expected, organizers may screen the films in the community hall gym.
“Christmas movies bring people of all ages together to connect over the common themes of family and giving. They lift our spirits and are nostalgic,” said Karen Mykietka, facility and program manager.
At 6:30 pm, enjoy a chili dinner and cookies at Alberta Avenue Community Centre before the holiday concert starts at 7 pm. The concert, which features five non-traditional acts, welcomes all denominations.
The night will end with Ward 7 Counc. Tony Caterina lighting the Giving Tree in front of Alberta Avenue Community Centre at 8:30 pm.
A meaningful send-off, the Giving Tree is a symbol of the generosity of the season and acts as a station for donations from the community to be passed on to those in need. The Giving Tree is available for anyone who needs winter clothes.
For more information, visit http://YuleAve.com.
Dec 16, noon to 8:30 pm
Alberta Avenue Community Centre
9210 118 Ave
Featured Image: Neighbourhood children enjoy a wagon ride with Santa while experiencing the spirit of the holidays at Yule Ave. | Frank Zotter