By Masha Scheele, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter/The Hinton Voice
HINTON – Despite the Town of Hinton not hosting a Winter Magic Festival this year due to the current health restrictions, there are some event forms trickling in from different community organizations.
Festivals are not permitted under the COVID-19 restrictions and the Town is reviewing how to support and promote several events and activities by partner organizations.
“We are looking into possibly coordinating a virtual digital photo montage where people would submit their selfies and pictures showing the great way people are recreating throughout the community, either through sport or culture,” stated Faiaz Mir, communications coordinator at the Town of Hinton.
Of course, the Town will be encouraging a COVID-19 friendly experience, considering social distancing and all other regulations.
Each year, Alberta Parks hosts Winter Magic activities in William A Switzer Park, but this year the only activities being offered are guided snowshoe hikes.
These guided hikes are free and snowshoe rentals are available at the Kelley’s Bathtub Visitor Center. Due to COVID-19, these hikes must be booked 24 hours in advance and can only accommodate one family cohort up to eight people.
Winter Magic events at the Performing Arts Theatre in Hinton (PATH) were also cancelled, but they did branch out to provide different forms of entertainment to the community during this time.
The upcoming Hinton Art Club Winter PATH Showcase will be a window display in the lobby of the PATH to be viewed from outside the building from Feb. 7 until Feb. 28.
After the showcase of various local artists, the club will be collaborating with the Jasper Artists Guild on the first ever Spring Artists Swap from March 1 to March 28.
This swap event will allow Hinton Art Club members’ artworks to be shown in the Jasper Art Gallery in the Library and Cultural Centre in Jasper, at the same time as Jasper Artists Guild members’ works will be featured in the PATH window display in Hinton.
Other events being considered include a Window Shop Word Scramble by the Valley business owners and merchants, and a Winter Magic storybook stroll by the Hinton Municipal library.
Most Winter Magic events and community-favourites were cancelled this year due to the restrictions around the pandemic.
Hinton’s Mountain Bike Association (HMBA) decided to cancel the annual fat bike Growler race last month. The association didn’t want to spend much time planning and organizing without the assurance that restrictions would be lifted in time.
“It’s looking like we made a good decision,” said Casey MacKay, HMBA secretary.
Another annual race, the chili loppet at the Hinton Nordic Centre, is still up in the air. Organizers haven’t decided yet what they will do and are in discussion with Town staff, stated Tim Shain, president of the Hinton Nordic Skiers.
The Northern Rockies Museum of Culture and Heritage is also not hosting any Winter Magic events this year, but they have created an entire series of subscription boxes for kids around the province and are offering a 50/50 raffle.
Subscription boxes feature history and information about Hinton as well as activities and projects, said Madison Sharman, operations and program manager at the museum.
For more information, check out the Town of Hinton website.