Chase the Chill's 10th annual "scarf-bomb" may be cancelled, but locals will still experience the warmth of knitters.
A community group's yearly drive creates scarves throughout the year and ties them to trees and other places in Old Market Square in the Exchange District for people in need to choose from. This year, due to pandemic restrictions, the group is not distributing them in the usual way.
"I’ve been brainstorming for weeks, trying to come up with creative ways to make this happen safely. It’s just not possible right now. I have to cancel this year’s event. This breaks my heart," the event's Winnipeg coordinator, Alana Spindler writes on Facebook.
The drop was set to happen on Saturday, December 5.
Instead, the group is donating over 200 handmade scarves to Main Street Project.
"Chase The Chill is many things: it’s art, it’s fun, it’s a community event, and it’s a gift. I think - in a pandemic - the best way to honour the crafters, the art, the community and the spirit of the event is to follow-through with the gift," Spindler says in a written statement.
Chase the Chill is continuing to collect knitting donations. Two local businesses, Wolseley Wool at 889 Westminster Avenue and Marshall Fabrics at 575 Berry Street are drop off locations for the scarves.
"The yarn craft community is missing these gatherings. I was really looking forward to this year’s Chase The Chill scarf tie-off event, and because it’s an outdoor event that can accommodate physical distancing I was hopeful it could happen as planned. When the Winnipeg Metro area went to response code red, I brainstormed for days on ways I could still make it happen safely. But it just isn’t realistic at this time. It’s just not safe to gather, and the last thing I want is to put the volunteers at risk."
Last year's total was three times the current total at 604 scarves.
In January, the group will begin collecting scarves for 2021.
Spindler is a front-line healthcare worker who was recently redeployed to intensive care.