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‘Almost back to normal’: Organizers planning big return of downtown Lethbridge events – Lethbridge |

‘Almost back to normal’: Organizers planning big return of downtown Lethbridge events - Lethbridge |

Lethbridge’s Heart of Our City Committee, a group formed in 2007 to champion downtown Lethbridge and provide strategic leadership with revitalization efforts, is awarding $150,000 in grants this year to help reinvigorate the city’s core.

“It’s definitely been the year where we’re looking at relaunching the social aspect of downtown, and upholding and creating that exciting and vibrant community that we all know and love,” said chairperson Lorien Johansen.

They are funding both old and new events, initiatives and projects through Reimagine Downtown Activation grants.

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With summer right around the corner, Lethbridge Pride Fest is receiving $8,000 for its June event, which will include the reintroduction of staples like pride in the park. They haven’t been able to host it since 2019.

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Lane Sterr, who’s been chair since 2020, is looking forward to his third pride experience as part of the board.

“We are so excited. Our planning starts in about February (or) March each year and this year we’re planning an almost back-to-normal celebration,” he explained.

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In 2019, Sterr estimates their total turnout was between 8,000 and 10,000 people. In 2020 and 2021, the COVID-19 pandemic put the main celebrations on pause while it hosted a few intimate events such a photoshoots.

While it’s hard to predict what 2022 will look like, Sterr is optimistic.

He looks forward to the positive impact the events season will have on the downtown core, especially for small businesses.

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“After two years of not being able to celebrate with our community, I feel like there’s going to be a really big pull to make the time and get out to celebrate pride,” he said, adding they understand the pandemic isn’t over and not everyone will feel comfortable being in a crowd.

“We are going to have some online events or smaller events that fit the needs of everyone.”

The Lethbridge Jazz Society, which would have celebrated its 10th Jazz Fest in 2020, has also applied for the grant funding.

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Lethbridge Pride Fest adapts to COVID-19

Lethbridge Pride Fest adapts to COVID-19 – Jun 22, 2020

While it typically hosts a days-long festival in the summer, things are changing.

Jazz society president Mike Prociew said they are holding multiple events throughout the year instead.

“We figure that by spreading the logistics out, we hope to reach a broader base of people during a variety of times that might be more accessible to them,” Prociw explained.

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The deadline for the third of four rounds of this year’s Reimagine Downtown Activation Grants is April 22.

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