Grande Prairie will grow by nearly 3,000 people this week as the City and County gear up for the 2018 Alberta Summer Games. The games officially start Thursday, but the torch relay will kick things off Wednesday. Games manager Lindsey McNeil says they want it to have an Olympic feel.
“They’ve always done sections where it was just one athlete running a leg of the race and we said it we’re talking about being all-inclusive, let’s extend that further. We have Special Olympians who are doing a leg of the race, we have Paralympians who are doing a leg of our race, and we have families doing each leg of the race.”
The torch relay will run from Evergreen Park to Muskoseepi Park starting at 3:30 p.m. There will be a barbecue in the park to celebrate the torch lighting as well.
Thursday’s opening ceremonies will held at the Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum from 7 to 9 p.m. with the athlete competition running Friday through Sunday. McNeil says she’s feeling prepared for everything to get underway.
“I’m overwhelmed, but I’m overwhelmed for a really good reason. I’m overwhelmed because this community is just so incredibly supportive and it’s an amazing thing to watch so many people work together to make something like this happen.”
Roughly 1,200 volunteers have signed up to work all aspects of the event, which McNeil says she comfortable with. However, many hands make light work, and she encourages anyone still hoping to help out to register at the games office in the old Leisure Centre.
“We understand that people are busy; we understand what it means to be a volunteer and we really appreciate the fact that people are willing to donate their personal time to help make this event successful. Even if you can only work one two or three-hour shift, in the grand scheme of things that makes a big difference.”
Sporting events will be running at eight different locations, and several cultural events are also planned. They include a Tipi Village at the Eastlink Centre with traditional games, dancing, drumming, and elder story-telling.
There will also be a family carnival at Revolution Place on Saturday and entertainment at Legion Field and the Community Knowledge Campus Field. McNeil says she’s confident the new grandstand at the CKC Field will be done in time. That’s where the Closing Awards will be held Sunday.