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Chinook Blast back to blow the winter blahs away with festivals and events for every taste

Forecast calls for a Chinook Blast: Throughout the months of January and February.

Thankfully.

It’s what makes the dark, dreary days of winter bearable in this city — both meteoroligically and on an entertainment level.

As organizers announced this Monday, Chinook Blast, Calgary’s six-week winter celebration of arts, sport, creativity and community, is back for its second year in the Beltline, East Village, Inglewood and downtown core.

The winter umbrella event — held up by the five pillars of local winter fests BIG Winter Classic, One Yellow Rabbit’s High Performance Rodeo, Calgary Folk Music Festival’s Block Heater, Glow and newbie Ethnik Festival — will ensure that nobody remains homebound during the cold season.

“While we couldn’t have the big winter celebration we had envisioned for our first year, Chinook Blast 2022 will be bigger, better and brighter!” Franca Gualtieri, executive director, Chinook Blast & Strategic Projects, Tourism Calgary, said in the announcement. 

“It has been a challenging year for our partners with necessary limitations on gatherings. With vaccination rates increasing, and COVID-19 protocols in place, I am excited to come together as a community to celebrate their return.

“Tickets are already on sale for several of our partners, so we hope Calgarians choose the gift of an experience this holiday season.”

For those unfamiliar with the quintet of excellence invading the city come January, Chinook Blast breaks them down thusly:

  • High Performance Rodeo (a 35-year performing arts festival in Calgary) — Jan. 18-Feb. 6, 2022
  • BIG Winter Classic (a four-day music and arts festival) — Jan. 27-30, 2022
  • GLOW Downtown Winter Light Festival (Calgary Downtown’s signature winter event) — Feb. 10-12 and Feb. 17-19, 2022
  • Block Heater (one of the city’s fastest-growing music festivals) — Feb. 17 – 20, 2022
  • Ethnik Festival (one of Calgary’s newest arts and culture festivals) — Feb. 26, 2022

Supplementing those events are other free, public ancillary elements over the two months, such as: free public programming at the Chinook Blast Hub (located at Olympic Plaza), including the Exposure Photography Festival, art installations by B!G Art, Ken Hacke, and PARK; “the RISE UP Outdoor Community Stage showcasing the Arts Commons Presents series of outdoor performance ArtsXpeditions,” various pop-ups; and The Friends of Chinook Blast program, featuring an eclectic lineup of performers and artists curated by beloved yyc folk — Cowboy Smithx, Lisa Jacobs, Mandy Stobo and Toyin Oladale.

Also notable is an exhibit at the Central Library “that will feature the rich sporting history of the Indigenous Hall of Famers from Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame.”

It all adds up to an amazing way to enjoy, not just endure, the winter months — at a time when we could all use the relief, albeit in a safe and appropriate way.

“As we begin to open up and gather in the community again, we know that safety is top of mind for Calgarians,” Calgary Arts Development president and CEO Patti Pon was quoted as saying.

“So let’s bundle up, show up, and make this a winter to remember.”

For more infomration, go to www.chinookblast.ca or the various individual partners’ websites.

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