ATHABASCA — After a scorching summer and now hopefully nearing the end of the pandemic, this year's Moonlight Madness in Athabasca will be bigger, better, and more musical than ever.
Starting Friday, shoppers can grab gifts from local retailers until 8 p.m., take in the Christmas Country Market at the Athabasca Regional Multiplex, watch the parade starting at the Riverfront at 6:30 p.m., grab some curbside spaghetti from the Athabasca United Church, put in for prizes at the Athabasca Advocate office, and watch double the fireworks at 8:15 p.m.
“We bought the fireworks (in June for Canada Day) before the ruling so we couldn’t set them off,” said Todd Dutchek. “So, they’ve been sitting in storage since the summer, and we’ve been collecting again so the fireworks display this year will be double.”
There will also be a bonus people will want to stay in their vehicles for after the parade with floats from local businesses which travels from the Riverfront parking lot, south on 49th Street, west on 49th Avenue, north along 50th Street/Highway 2, then east on 50th Ave./Highway 55 back to the Riverfront.
“We’re actually setting it to music,” he said. “We will have two small speakers at the Riverfront playing music, but you can actually sit in the comfort of your own vehicle and listen to the music while the fireworks are going off.”
The fireworks will be set off by Dutchek, who manages Select Rentals, and the Athabasca District Chamber of Commerce who are hosting the event, Athabasca Fire Department chief Travis Shalapay and other fire department members and they will be supervised by Thunder F/X out of St. Albert, where they were trained to set off the pyrotechnics.
“We get a better display closer to the riverfront from the boat launch,” said Dutchek. “We get a bigger bang for our buck.”
The fire fighters will also have $10 tickets for their fundraiser to repair the deck of a rescue truck and replace a Utility Terrain Vehicle (UTV) or side-by-side; the winner will get $2,500.
And after the overwhelming response last year, the Athabasca Advocate has expanded the ‘Kick off to Christmas’ with 25 participating businesses.
“All people have to do is go shopping or eat at one of the participating businesses, bring in their receipts and we will give them dollar-for-dollar auction bucks,” said general manager Karen Seal. “They use them to bid on one or more of the fabulous items from local businesses in the silent auction.”
Last year the auction ran with 15 businesses and the final tally was over $16,000 spent in the community and traded in for the silent auction. This year, over $5,000 was redeemed on the first day alone.
“As long as the receipts are dated between Nov. 15 and 27, they can be redeemed,” said Seal. “We’re also open late Nov. 26, until 8 p.m. and all-day Saturday, Nov. 27 from 9 to 6 p.m.”
The Athabasca United Church is hosting a curbside pick-up spaghetti supper for $12 per plate, and you must pre-order, the Christmas Country Market will run again Nov. 27 from 10 to 4 p.m., local author Nicole Kerr will be selling and signing her new children’s book at the Athabasca Home Hardware 6 to 8 p.m. Nov. 26 and much more.