A bundled-up little one pets a goat in the petting zoo at Winterfest’s Family Fun at the Lake on Feb. 23. The petting zoo was one of two vendors to brave the cold for the event. Photo by Kaylyn Whibbs/Sylvan Lake News

Freezing temperatures in Sylvan Lake put damper on Winterfest

Only two vendors braved the cold for Family Fun at the Lake on Feb. 23

Winterfest 2.0 saw no warmer temperatures from Feb. 23-24 than its original weekend Feb. 16-18 did.

The festival, which normally takes place over one weekend, was moved to two weekends after Winterfest’s outdoor events were pushed back a week due to extreme weather conditions.

LEARN MORE: Sylvan Lake’s Winterfest now over two weekends

Family Fun at the Lake was moved to Feb. 23, but the week delay didn’t bring the warmer weather originally forecasted and only two vendors stuck it out for the event.

The petting zoo with goats, sheep and bunnies were set up as well as Remax who were hosting a kids treasure hunt.

Culture and Tourism Coordinator Kristen Shima says the low vendor turn out was due to the cold temperatures.

“We had a handful of vendors that just up and packed away or didn’t even show,” said Shima, adding the weather was “really terrible.”

The temperature on Saturday was around -20 C before the windchill, but the blustering wind brought it down closer to -30 C.

The Town had the sleigh rides booked, but they cancelled because they did not want the animals outside with the cold, which was also the case with a couple of the other activities planned.

Shima explained the challenge with holding outdoor events is the weather being out of your control.

“It’s just the mercy of the turnout with weather permitting, so it’s unfortunate that way, but we want to obviously do outdoor events,” added Shima.

The fireworks were another aspect of Winterfest postponed to Feb. 23.

The sky lit up shortly after 7 p.m. as most viewers watched from the sanctuary of their warm vehicles.

Weekend two of Winterfest was paired with the Polar Bear Dip on Feb. 23 and the Alberta Oval Ice Racing Championship Series closing out the weekend on Feb. 24, while the first weekend showcased Winterfest’s indoor events, Family Fishing Weekend and the Oval Ice Racing Championship Series’ nationals.

READ MORE: Sylvan Lake’s postponed Polar Bear Dip a success

Shima says the collaborations worked well together and were very enjoyable.

“I think overall it was a good event and it was still successful,” said Shima, adding the event just was not as well attended as the past due to the extreme winter weather.


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Kids brave the cold to hunt for buried treasure behind the Remax tent. Winterfest’s outdoor activities were postponed from Feb. 16-18 due to extreme weather, but the cold didn’t leave Sylvan Lake. Photo by Kaylyn Whibbs/Sylvan Lake News

The fireworks lit up the night sky on Feb. 23 as many viewers watched from the warmth of their vehicles, although some chose brave the cold with plenty of outerwear. Photo by Kaylyn Whibbs/Sylvan Lake News

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