22,000 views and counting: the Forks virtual New Year’s Eve celebrations a hit

In a year unlike any other, Winnipeg’s largest New Year’s Eve celebrations, which usually sees upwards of 30,000 people attend in person, had to go online.

The Forks was able to host a virtual special, showcasing Manitoba artists and performers, as well a virtual fireworks show.

“We actually created a virtual NYE that we posted at 5:00,” VP of Strategic Initiatives at The Forks Clare MacKay said.

“You could stream it anytime throughout the night and it was a half hour program and it was absolutely packed with Manitoba talent, hosted by Don Amero and capped off with some virtual fireworks that we shot about a week ago in a farmers field in market.”

Entertainment included performances by Manitoba artists Andrina Turenne, Boogey the Beat, Sebastian Gaskin, Leanne Zacharias, and Don Amero.

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Having hosted Canada Day virtually this year, MacKay said the team knew it was possible to host something online, but with lack of revenue from the Forks coming in this year, they didn’t know if they could afford it financially.

“It was through the Safe at Home Manitoba grant program, which was announced in mid-December. We applied and five days later we were out filming,” MacKay said.

“So we pulled this off in about 11 days.”

MacKay said the team knew they had to host something for Manitobans.

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“We’ve always hosted New Years Eve,” MacKay said. “We’ve been one of the biggest in the city, so it felt odd not to be able to do anything, but obviously we couldn’t bring people together to gather in a way that would be unsafe.”

As of Friday morning, the Forks said the 34-minute program had been viewed around 22,000 times on the Forks’ YouTube and Facebook pages.

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