News / Edmonton

Edmonton considers ringing in the New Year a few hours earlier

Following moves by other Canadian municipalities the city may have celebrations at a more 'family friendly' timeslot

The city is asking Edmontonians if they would like to ring in the New Year a little earlier this year and make the Churchill Square event a more ‘family friendly’ occasion.

Supplied / The City of Edmonton

The city is asking Edmontonians if they would like to ring in the New Year a little earlier this year and make the Churchill Square event a more ‘family friendly’ occasion.

The sounds of Auld Lang Syne could be echoing through Churchill Square a few hours earlier this year, as the city considers moving up New Year’s Eve celebrations a few hours.

Through the Edmonton Insight Community, the city’s survey tool, the civic events office is gauging interest in turning the annual New Year’s Eve firework show into a more ‘family friendly’ and as a result earlier event.

Office director Nicole Poirier stressed the change is no more than an idea at this point, but a lot of other cities have tried it and they wanted to see what Edmontonians think.

“Mainly, we have been looking at what other municipalities do and lots of other municipalities have moved towards an earlier family-friendly type of event,” she said.

She stressed they won’t go ahead unless there is support from the community.

“That is why the questions are there we don’t want to make any assumptions,” she said. “We have no preference one way or the other.”

Throughout August, the city has held movie nights in the square with family friendly titles and Poirier said that’s generally the theme of events, so right now the New Year’s Eve festivities break the mould.

She said they think an earlier start could ease some pressure on bus services downtown, but they really don’t know how it would impact people coming downtown.

“It may be that the crowd that comes out at midnight would also come out if it was at eight or nine or ten,” she said. She said other municipalities have tried it and told them they see a much younger crowd and that the programming has to change with bands taking a back seat.

“If you’re doing an early evening you’re doing more face-painting and family activities. So, it changes the overall programing and feel of the event.”

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