The 2020 Alberta Winter Games officially kicks off tonight!

Athletes across the province, along with their coaches and families and fans will gather at Genesis Place in Airdrie tonight for the opening ceremony and lighting of the cauldron for the official kick-off of the 2020 Alberta Winter Games. From 7:00 until 8:00 pm tonight the athletes will take the athlete's oath in front of City Hall and fans are encouraged to join the festivities Live On Main from 6:00 to 9:00 pm.

Shauna Quinn is the Games Board Chair she says there is so much excitement in the air and she anticipates that the streets will come alive tonight.

"We've got both parking lots on either side of city hall and Main Street.  One side is focused on the televised opening ceremonies and the oath.  The other side we wanted to give back to the community so that's what we've dubbed Live On Main,  It's technically a live site for people to watch the opening ceremonies and experience all the excitement that these games are bringing to Airdrie."

Female fitness and empowerment leader Kelsey Davidson, alongside the young ladies of Alive, Strong and Fearless, will light the Alberta Winter Games ATCO Cauldron.  

Alberta's Minister of Culture, Multiculturalism, and Status of Women Leela Sharon Aheer will present at the opening ceremony and Ryan Straschnitzki is also set to make an appearance.

Volunteers have stepped up to the plate to ensure that the weekend runs smoothly. Quinn says "We have had so many step up in this last week. People who want to take on more shifts, people phoning us and emailing us." 

Over 1,750 athletes between the ages of 11 and 17, will be competing for the top spots in their categories this weekend; 32 of which are from Cochrane.

Quinn says that it will be a jam-packed weekend full of events and the closing ceremony will take place on Monday.

She says "Most of all the sports run Saturday and Sunday and about half of them have their finals on Monday. By about 1:00 pm Monday, all of the sports competitions should be finished then we have just a small closing ceremony for the athletes where they receive some of the zones trophy nominations and then they all head home."

Best of luck to all the athletes competing in the 2020 Alberta Winter Games. Let the games begin!