Calgary

Glow Festival set to brighten Calgary over the Family Day long weekend

Expect to see two-storey sculptures and a lighted-up wish tree, plus large-scale video projects and Beakerhead garden with life-size artichokes and carrots.

Expect to see two-storey sculptures and a lighted-up wish tree, plus large-scale video projects

Parts of downtown Calgary will be glowing this weekend, including Olympic Plaza, for the Glow Festival. (Monty Kruger/CBC)

Calgary will be a bit brighter this weekend.

Glow Festival will see art exhibitions pop up throughout the city's downtown, from seesaws that shine brighter as you ride them.

Expect to see two-storey sculptures and a lighted-up wish tree, plus large-scale video projects and a Beakerhead garden with life-size artichokes and carrots.

All the while, temperatures will hover close to -20 C from the festivals start through to Monday, when it should warm up to a low of -14 C.

But organizer Marco De Iaco believes Calgarians are ready to bundle up and enjoy the outdoors.

"I think that there's an appetite in this city for a new winter festival and a new winter activity," he told the Calgary Eyeopener.

The five nights of bright-light outdoor art exhibits includes a series of complementary events, the bulk of which are free and open to the public from 5 to 11 p.m. each day.

It kicked of Thursday with a Valentine's Day theme called Love Lights.

On Friday, there will be a fashion show at Brookfield Place, then BassBusNightlight on Saturday, which includes a dance party at Olympic Plaza.

The five nights of bright-light outdoor art exhibits includes a series of complementary events, the bulk of which are free and open to the public from 5 to 11 p.m. each day. (Monty Kruger/CBC)

There's music on Sunday at the plaza, with artists Brad Saunders, the Static Shift, Michael Bernard Fitzgerald and JJ Shiplett.

The five-day festival wraps up with a family skating party on Monday.

"It'll be fun and something different, and I think people are going to embrace getting outside," organizer Marco De Iaco said.

The events are accessible by LRT and public buses, and there is a free parking for attendees at three parkades, if you use the code on the festival's website.

The five-day festival wraps up with a family skating party on Monday. (Monty Kruger/CBC)

It's expected to be chilly, with Environment and Climate Change Canada predicting a low of -20 C Thursday evening, -20 C Friday and Saturday, -21 C Sunday and -14 C Monday.

The festival will offer a warming area at Olympic Plaza and extra fire pits.

"At the end of the day, people have to bundle up and dress warm but I think it's going to be a good event," De Iaco said. "And it's an easy walk from Olympic Plaza up Stephen Avenue and down 7th Avenue."

The lights are designed to work in frigid temperatures, so organizers are not worried about them going out, he said.

Designed by artists from Europe, Montreal and Alberta, the light displays can be see at night from Olympic Plaza, Brookfield Plaza at 1 Street and 7 Avenue, Harley Hotchkiss Gardens at 611 4 Street S.W., and by walking along Stephen Avenue.

In future years, De Iaco is hoping the festival can add other events, such as more theatre, restaurant involvement, music and possible cold-weather marathon. He'd like to see a month-long celebration of winter in Calgary.

Designed by artists from Europe, Montreal and Alberta, the light displays can be see at night from Olympic Plaza, Brookfield Plaza at 1 Street and 7 Avenue, Harley Hotchkiss Gardens at 611 4 Street S.W., and by walking along Stephen Avenue.

With files from Rachel Ward, Monty Kruger and the Calgary Eyeopener

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