Games picking up momentum

Posted: Tuesday, October 12, 2004

With a little more than 16 months until the Kenai Peninsula plays host to the Arctic Winter Games, things are beginning to snowball toward an avalanche of action.

A lot of work has been done by Kenai Peninsula host society members since the area won the bid to host the Games last year. Some of that work has begun to see results, such as agreements that are now in place between the host society and the cities of Kenai and Soldotna.

But some of the most important work is still to come. On Wednesday, the AWG International Committee and Chefs de Mission will be in town for a tour of Games venues and meetings with host society members. The Games officials will be in town through Saturday.

During those meetings, host society members will get a chance to show how they've been planning for the Games and give the international committee an update on such things as funding and volunteer numbers.

"All of our committees are staffed and meeting regularly to plan the thousands of details necessary to host the best Arctic Winter Games ever in 2006," host society general manager Loren Smith said in a press release.

One of the biggest parts of getting ready for the Games is fund raising. So far, the host society has raised more than $1.5 million for the Games, with more announcements of contributions expected in the near future.

The host society believes a total of $5.3 million in funding from individuals, businesses and government is needed for the Games to go off as planned.

On Friday, the Games also will begin soliciting local individuals and small businesses to help out with the funding effort when it kicks off its "Friends of the Games," campaign. This campaign will be asking for donations in the $500 to $5,000 range.

Not all the work currently being done has to do with issues like venue preparation and funding. In addition, the host society is looking for a name for its mascot, a raven dressed in Games apparel, and is sponsoring a contest for local students from kindergarten through 12th grade.

"It's a great opportunity for all students of the Kenai Peninsula to get involved in the 2006 Arctic Winter Games," Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Dale Bagley said.

Anyone wishing to get in on the contest is can fax their entry to 335-3367. The winner will receive four "super sport" Games passes, four tickets to the opening and closing ceremonies and $100 in Games merchandise.

Although there currently isn't much of that Games merchandise floating around town, there soon will be. The host society plans to open a full-time store to sell Games merchandise in the Peninsula Center Mall. That store is expected to open Nov. 15.

For more information on how to help out with the Games as a sponsor or volunteer, the host society can be reached at 262-2006.



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