New year marks the 150th anniversary of the 1864 Charlottetown Conference
To ring in a big year — a really, really big year — the more bells and whistles, the better.
The P.E.I. 2014 New Year’s Eve opening celebrations are set to light up the streets, the stage and the sky in the province’s capital city.
Johnny Reid, a Juno Award winner and multi-platinum-selling artist, will headline an event Dec. 31 at the Prince Edward Island Convention Centre.
Tickets for the show, which includes performances by Lennie Gallant and More Soul, go on sale Oct. 5. The cost is $59.99 (plus tax and fees) to ring in with Reid what will be a yearlong celebration marking the 150th anniversary of the 1864 Charlottetown Conference, which paved the way to Canadian Confederation.
Others — organizers hope many, many others — will enjoy plenty of free entertainment while counting down the clock this New Year’s Eve.
Province House will provide the backdrop for a free concert featuring ECMA Award winners Rawlins Cross and P.E.I.’s Meaghan Blanchard.
Historic Great George Street will be specially decorated to create a magical atmosphere for the celebrations that will also include buskers, ice sculptors, sleigh rides, hot dogs and apple cider and a children’s play zone and warm-up area at Murphy’s Community Centre.
“The City of Charlottetown is pleased that the official launch of the 2014 yearlong celebrations will take place on the very street traveled by the Fathers of Confederation 150 years ago,’’ says Charlottetown Mayor Clifford Lee. “We are happy to be a partner of what promises to be a momentous New Year’s Eve celebration.’’
The evening, quite fittingly, will be capped off by what is being billed as a “spectacular’’ fireworks display set to begin around 8 p.m.
P.E.I. 2014 executive director Penny Walsh McGuire told The Guardian that the opening celebrations this New Year’s Eve offers a good taste of what is to come throughout 2014 right across the province.
“Our model is to ensure that there is something for everyone and that 2014 is accessible to Islanders and visitors to our province,’’ she says. “So there will be a mix of both paid and free programming throughout the celebration year.’’
The Guardian is a major sponsor and partner in the P.E.I. 2014 Celebrations.
McGuire says the buzz is building for what 2014 has in store.
“Just whether we look at our social media activity, the response from the public to various events we’ve held throughout the summer and now moving into the fall, there is certainly a sign of momentum towards 2014,’’ she says.
Don Cudmore, executive director of the Tourism Industry Association of Prince Edward Island, believes tourism operators have plenty of good fortune to look forward to next year.
“I expect that we will have quite a few additional tourists,’’ he says. “I would suspect if we didn’t see an increase of 10 per cent over what we are seeing today, I would be awfully surprised.’’
If Cudmore is correct, that represents a hike of well over 100,000 tourists making their way to P.E.I. in 2014, taking in the celebrations and leaving behind plenty of dollars.