Calgary’s Chinook Blast announces festivities for 2024

Chinook Blast 2024 returns to Calgary for its fourth year, with lots of 'winterful' festivities and high expectations. Henna Saeed explores what next year's lineup has to offer.

Chinook Blast 2024 returns to Calgary for its fourth year with lots of “winterful” festivities and high expectations.

Calgary’s winter festival is set to return for its fourth year from Feb. 2 to 19, 2024, downtown.

The annual festival is fast becoming a Calgary staple, with organizers hoping to get attendance similar to the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth, the Calgary Stampede.

“Stampede had its second highest record attendance at 1.3 million, I hope that we will build to rival that attendance,” said Patti Pon, chair of the Chinook Blast executive committee, and president and CEO of Calgary Arts Development.

“Four years ago when we first had our vision and our dream, it actually was about how could we do something in the winter. That became the same scale and was embraced by Calgarians in the same way that the Calgary Stampede is,” Pon said.

“We had 200,000 Calgarians come out and take part in what Chinook Blast had to offer. I think we’re on a good path.”

The 2024 lineup has many events by “Friends of Chinook Blast,” which include the High-Peformance Rodeo, which is entering its 38th year, the four-day music festival The BIG Winter Classic, and Calgary Folk Festival’s Block Heater.

“Many of us have lots of memories of how we don’t see each other for a year but that one time at Folk Fest in the summer we show up, and now Block Heater has become another time … where we have really wonderful music offerings and a time to gather,” Pon said.

People skate on Olympic Plaza amid Chinook Blast in Calgary
People skate on Olympic Plaza amid Chinook Blast in Calgary in 2022. (Nick Blakeney, CityNews)

Chinook Blast features a mix of free and ticketed arts and culture festivals and sports activities.

The diverse lineup also includes three weekends of indigenous night markets but it’s the all-new interactive installations, live events and experiences at Olympic Plaza that always steal the limelight.

“Creating these installations outside on the street in Olympic Plaza, that bring joy … every year, there’s always something different. We don’t know what it is, but we know something will be there,” Pon said.

“And I think that’s where asking Calgarians to bring their curiosity, is one way for sure to have a really wonderful or ‘winterful’ experience at Chinook Blast.”

More information on Chinook Blast and its events can be found online.

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