CHESTERMERE – To remind everyone in the community to get out and embrace a real Canadian winter, the annual Chestermere Winter Festival will be held on Jan. 14.
There will be events taking place at the Chestermere Regional Recreation Center, Anniversary Park, and on the lake for most of the day, and organizers are hoping for a better turnout this year, as last year’s event was plagued with frigid temperatures.
A pancake breakfast will kick off the day at 8:30 a.m. It will run until 10:00 a.m, and will take place in the MPP Room at the Recreation Centre.
The Fishing Derby will also start things off bright and early, so those who are interested in registering should eat their pancakes quickly and remember to bring their fishing rods. Registration is at 9:00 a.m., with the derby starting at 10 a.m., running til 2:00 p.m. on Chestermere Lake.
The awards for the derby will be held in the lounge at the Recreation Centre at 3 p.m.
The 25 Yard Daddy Dash, for children five and under, will also be held in the morning. Registration for the event begins at 9 a.m. In the MPP Room, with the dash starting at 10:30 a.m. at the soccer field at the Recreation Centre.
Various activities for the whole family will take place, running from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Recreation Centre’s main hall. The “Frost Free Zone” will return again this year, where there will be a caricature artist, a balloon artist, and children’s entertainer Greg T “That Crazy Magic Guy” who will perform at noon. There will also be a craft area, and an activity setup with games such as Slap Shot Hockey, a Wii station, and Penguin Flip.
There will also be a meet and greet with the RCMP & Fire Department hockey team at 1:30 p.m.
For those who don’t mind the chilly outdoors, there will an Arctic Village at Anniversary Park (across from the Rec Centre), open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. There will be a straw maze, horse drawn sleigh rides, fire pits, snow mountain slide, kids fun foam block building area, food and beverage concessions, open skating on the lake and more.
At 1 p.m. at Anniversary Park, festival visitors can watch the infamous Polar Bear Dip, which is now in its fourth year. Last year’s dip saw a big turnout of onlookers, as various local “celebrities” as well as a few other brave souls took the plunge into the icy pool of water.
Members of the local RCMP Detachment, Bruce McAllister, Councillor Patrick Bergen and members of the YELL (Youth Encouraging Lasting Leadership) all participated last year and raised around $1,000 for YELL.
All of the activities in the main hall and at Anniversary Park will close at 3 p.m., just in time for the biggest event of the day, the second annual Exhibition Hockey Game. Members of Rocky View Fire Services and the local RCMP will make up the home team, and they will face off against local mens hockey team “The Wannabes.”
Entry to the game is a donation the to Chestermere Food Bank, and there will be chances to win many exciting door prizes. At the game’s intermission, there will be Human Hamster Ball Races.
Last year’s game was the biggest hit of the Winter Festival, as 200 people came to watch the match, which was filled with plenty of laughs and some colorful goals scored by both teams.
The day will finish off at Anniversary Park, where there will be the “Fire and Ice” gathering at 5:30 p.m. There will be a bonfire, a children’s lantern walk and fireworks.
On Sunday, Jan. 15, the Second Gear Club will return for another year to host their motorcycle oval ice race, which runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
For complete details, go to www.chestermerefestivals.ca.