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Jasper in January returning to light up winter season

Patricia Street shuts down for the annual Street Party during the 2020 Jasper in January festival. | File photo

Peter Shokeir | editor@fitzhugh.ca

Jasper in January will help attendees enjoy the lighter side of winter with activities and events such as skiing, dog sledding, pond hockey and a street party.

Hosted by Tourism Jasper, the festival runs from Jan. 14 to 30 and features seasonal favourites along with some fresh new twists.

“The festival has been around for over 30 years, and I think in light of what everyone has been through for the last two years, a little light and bright celebration in the middle of winter might be just what the doctor ordered,” said James Jackson, president and CEO of Tourism Jasper.

Some returning favourites include Wine in Winter followed by Whiskey, Wine and Hops the night after.

The festival is also offering four-on-four outdoor rink time during the Jasper Cup Pond Hockey Tournament, which Jackson said they were excited to see grow in popularity.

The final big event is the Street Party and fireworks on Jan. 29, where attendees can enjoy live music, the views and the fashion show of retro winter wear.

“And then throughout the entire festival, we’ll have live entertainment at a variety of venues throughout town as part of our After Dark Series, so it should be a lot of fun,” Jackson said.

Jasper in January has a few new events this year.

The Jasper Curling Club will have a funspiel on Jan. 22.

Pyramid Lake is also hosting a Winter Fete where attendees can enjoy skating, dog sledding and horse-drawn sleigh rides, then warm up by a crackling fire with hot chocolate and a sweet treat.

Jackson noted the new look and feel of the festival, including a new wordmark and lots of primary colours.

“That’s really just an acknowledgement of the history of the festival—it’s been around for 30 years, having started in the ‘80s, but it’s also acknowledging and really leaning into the destination’s culture,” he said.

“And so, we really want to embrace lightness, brightness and a casual, fun atmosphere, really something that people can really look forward to all year long, but it’s really about being that authentic mountain town.”

Last year, Tourism Jasper had to cancel all the usual large-scale events due to COVID-19 and instead offered private versions of winter activities and set up light installations.

Although the Omicron variant has recently heightened COVID concerns, Tourism Jasper will endeavour to ensure programming is not affected.

“We’re going to take everyone’s health and safety very seriously, and attendees’ health and safety and adhering to COVID protocols will be of the utmost priority,” Jackson said.

The Restriction Exemption Program will be implemented wherever applicable, such as indoor events, but there will be some public outdoor events where proof of vaccination won’t be required.

A full list of events is available at www.jasper.travel/january/events/

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