In Prince George, there’s no shortage of fun activities to take part in over the holiday season. Whether you want to get in the festive spirit, support local artisans, or escape from the city for a couple of hours, there’s something for everyone to enjoy solo or with friends and family.
I’ve made it my mission to attend as many holiday-themed events as possible over the past few weeks: here are my top five in no particular order, plus a bonus activity because I had a hard time picking just five!
#1 – Take a walk among the trees at the Festival of Trees
The Festival of Trees, which is a week-and-a-half-long fundraiser for the Spirit of the North Healthcare Foundation, is something I look forward to every year. This event features a gift shop, live music and dance, a craft corner for kids, a number of special events, and the best part – rows upon rows of trees that have been beautifully decorated and paired with amazing displays by local organizations and individuals. Score one of these trees in the silent or live auction or one of the draws and you won’t need to buy gifts for loved ones over the holidays.
#2 – Celebrate the community Civic Light Up
If you’re looking for a free family event, the Civic Light Up is a great option. It takes place at the start of the Festival of Trees and includes a toonie swim at the Four Seasons Pool, music and dance, hay rides around downtown Prince George, hot cocoa, and of course the light up of the tree in the Civic Plaza with Mr. and Mrs. Clause. While all of these activities were fun, the best part for me was definitely the look on my nephew’s face when he spotted a mascot or a brightly lit animal or snowperson.
#3 – Hop on a mini train at the Celebration of Lights
While the Festival of Trees and the Civic Light Up have already happened, there’s still time to enjoy the Celebration of Lights at the Railway and Forestry Museum. This event runs December 18-23, 24 and 27-30 and features over 100,000 shimmering lights that cast a warm glow on our wintery nights. After walking through the light displays, take a ride on the Cottonwood Minirail track, warm up by the bonfires, or head into the Visitor Centre to watch musical groups perform. When you go, make sure to bundle up because it gets chilly at night!
#4 – Support artisans and makers at local fairs
‘Tis the season for artisan and craft fairs! There’s no shortage of fairs to hit up in November and December if you’re a fan of handmade items and specialty foods. One of my favourites is Studio Fair, which features unique gifts, artwork and food from across BC. My tastiest finds were some delicious wine and stout-flavoured jellies and hand-crafted chips. The Omineca Holiday Market is another great fair; featuring some of the region’s best artisans and craftspeople, this market offers a little something for everyone, including music and treats for those who just want to browse and not shop. These aren’t the only two fairs in the city, so make sure to keep an eye open starting in November 2018 when the next fair season rolls around.
#5 – Huddle under a blanket and go for a sleigh ride
What’s better than escaping the city and touring the surrounding outdoors by horse-drawn sleigh? Triple D Draft Horses and Crazy M Ranch offer group sleigh rides at an affordable price. The ride around each farm on a wooden sleigh pulled by two huge draft horses includes lap blankets and is followed by warm drinks, tasty treats, and bonfires. Triple D Draft Horses offers a photo booth in the Sugar Shack area and Crazy M Ranch offers a heated shack for a post-ride hang-out. With or without a lot of snow on the ground, this is a great way to spend a morning or afternoon!
Bonus activity – Make some hot cocoa and go for a walk down Candy Cane Lane
Every year, the residents of McKenzie Street deck out their homes with lights and decorations and transform their street into Candy Cane Lane. A great way to spend an evening over the holidays is to mix up some hot cocoa in a thermos and head down to Candy Cane Lane for a brilliant evening stroll.