Grande Prairie will be hosting it’s largest provincial sporting event with the Special Olympics Winter Games arriving next weekend.

President and CEO of Special Olympics Alberta Johnny Byrne says the athletes are getting very excited about the games, particularly those who are getting to compete in front of a hometown crowd.

“For some this will be their first provincial games so that’s a whole new experience altogether. Then you have others that have been going to provincial games for the past 10 years and they’ve always traveled, so having the chance to host is a great amount of pride for them, and that’s something that I’m very excited about for the athletes.”

In particular, Byrne says the opening ceremonies will be an important and exciting night for the athletes.

“It’s going to be fast paced, we’ve got lots of different entertainment planned and some cool surprises. I heard there’s going to be some fire involved, so really embracing the torch theme, and we’re really looking forward to that. I know with our opening ceremonies it’s all about energy.”

Things will kick off at 6 pm on Friday the 20 with the Opening Ceremonies, which are free to attend.

That will be followed by the torch lighting at Muskoseepi Park at 9 pm.

You can find a full schedule of events as well as the results on the Special Olympics Alberta website.

Byrne wants to encourage residents to come out and celebrate with the athletes throughout the weekend.