44th annual Griz Days drastically modified to meet all COVID-19 guidelines and keep Fernie safe

Fernie’s beloved winter festival Griz Days will be celebrating its 44th year the first weekend of March, but in a completely different format due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. All activities planned will be either completely virtual (streaming Griz Days video content to people at home) or self-guided, COVID-safe activities people can enjoy while keeping it local with their household. This year’s annual Griz Days celebration has been entirely reimagined to avoid any in-person gatherings outside of households as we all continue our efforts to keep Fernie safe during the pandemic.

The community’s health and safety have always been the priority this year as we adapt certain elements of the festival to meet the current BC Public Health Office orders and guidelines. It is important for community spirit, local tradition, and people’s mental health that we mark our uniquely-Fernie winter event this year in some way. But it is vital that the community and visitors understand that the format will be entirely different in 2021. The marketing will only be targeted to locals. We are obviously not going to be staging beloved events like the parade down main street, the live music, lumberjack displays and so forth. But we can still enjoy an impressive line-up of virtual content and other safe activities this Griz Days. And most importantly, we can still raise funds for local charities and celebrate our community while being apart.

What is exciting to us is that for the first time ever, our Griz fans outside of Fernie – around the country and around the world – can enjoy most of this year’s entertainment without physically being here due to the specially-created virtual content being streamed on our platforms. While we cannot wait to welcome people back to Fernie in future years for Griz Days, this winter is not the time for non-essential travel to and from Fernie. Please enjoy the virtual content and activities within your own household, and do not host parties or events of any kind over the Griz Days weekend.

Planned virtual events include the streaming of pre-recorded Extreme Griz content, a short documentary about the history of Griz Days, and a virtual Francofest concert.

There will also be self-guided activities around the community (designed to avoid gatherings of any kind) including: a drive-through Griz Days float display (household must stay in vehicle at all times), high-altitude fireworks display set to soundtrack simulcast on The Drive FM (visible from all over Fernie no matter where you live), a special Griz edition of the ‘Moose on The Loose’ scavenger hunt by the Fernie Arts Station, a story walk by the Fernie Heritage Library, and physically distanced sightings of the Griz himself at Fernie Alpine Resort.

The full line-up of planned virtual content and activities from March 5 to March 7 can be found online at the Griz Days website (www.ferniegrizdays.com) as well as the official Griz Days program which will be distributed locally in the coming weeks.

The Fernie Chamber of Commerce would like to thank title sponsor Teck and all other sponsors, partners, staff, and volunteers for coming together in a very difficult year to mark the 44th annual Griz Days. The considerable effort that has been made to reimagine the festival in a whole new safe way for our community is very much appreciated. Please stay safe and follow all current health orders and guidance this Griz Days.

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