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It has to start somewhere. This year, apparently, winter is starting in Banff, Alberta, and what better Canadian hot spot to let the season out of the starting gate? Mountains, check. Snow, check. World Cup Racing, check. Fine dining, craft beer festival, Christmas market, check, check, check.
The festival’s mouth-watering kick-off event celebrates Banff’s food-forward community. From Nov. 12 though Nov. 22, during Bon Appétit Banff, more than 30 of the area’s dynamic restaurants offer four tiers of specially designed three-course prix-fix menus. Organizers promise that the combination of sweet and savoury and fresh and flavourful with the unparalleled surrounding landscape will put this experience over the top. If team efforts are more to your liking, sign up for Dine Around Banff, in which two or three restaurants and an occasional brewery or distillery join forces to prove that collaboration is a winning ticket.
For the shoppers in the crowd, the Christmas Market (Nov. 20–22) offers a one-of-a-kind experience. Head out to find a gift for that hard-to-please friend or family member, from clothing and accessories, home and décor and food and health products. A sleigh ride and carolling with hot chocolate or mulled wine round out the day.
The heart of Banff is downhill skiing, and on Nov. 28–29 and Dec. 4–5, some of the world’s fastest skiers start the World Cup speed circuit at the Lake Louise Ski Resort. There’s a free fan cheering zone and a zone for kids as well. On Nov. 27–28, Canada’s first national park welcomes the Banff Craft Beer Festival to the Cave and Basin National Historic Site. Sample amazing food from the town’s best pubs and restaurants and sip craft beers from Alberta’s home-grown breweries as you rub shoulders with the local brew masters.
The festival wraps it all up in a bow with the Santa Claus Parade of Lights on Dec. 5. Santa makes a guest appearance before flying back to the North Pole, but face painters, balloon twisters, horse-drawn wagon rides and Stuart McLean at the Banff Centre will surely prove distraction enough while he makes his getaway. And finally, the magic glow of the Parade of Lights will warmly embrace everyone in the spirit of the season.
For more information, please visit www.banfflakelouise.com
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