Sylvan Lake’s long-standing tradition of the Winterfest brought Lakers and visitors from neighbouring cities and towns together for a range of events and activities throughout the Family Day long weekend.
“Winterfest was a great success this year. After hosting a very scaled-back version of the event last year, it was really exciting to offer a wide variety of activities for 2022. We had an excellent lineup of things happening around town all weekend long and we’re looking forward to building on that momentum going forward,” said Channelle Brooker, town culture and tourism supervisor.
Winterfest 2022 hosted the BIG JIG Fishing Tournament, Kids Can Catch – Learn to Fish program, Kinabik Discovery Village, 2022 Oval Ice Racing Series, Fire on Ice Show and local bandstand partnerships among others.
“I’d never seen this many cars on the ice and people ice-fishing. This event is a total surprise for us because we weren’t expecting a maze, snow castles, with all these kids, bonfires and ice-skating. You guys cleared a lot of ice that people are enjoying. It looks like at least 500 to 1,000 people are here, so this is amazing, and with the snow falling down like this, it’s magical,” said Alvin Bonda, an Edmonton resident who attended the event with his family.
The 2022 BIG JIG Fishing Tournament offered a weekend full of excitement, said Medicine Hat resident and event participant Dwayne Bennett. “There was a good turnout the first day, the weather got us the second day, and it’s been a slow week in fishing but we really enjoyed being here. Thanks to everyone in the Sylvan Lake community for having us all here for a great tournament and I look forward to supporting them in the future,” he said.
“We were thrilled with attendance numbers for this year’s event. We had over 230 anglers competing in The BIG JIG Fishing Tournament, over 350 votes for the Pass the Poutine contest, and we saw so many smiling faces enjoying the activities in the lakefront area,” said Brooker.
The Winterfest event also displayed a teepee with the opportunity to learn about Indigenous culture. Clare Butterfly, the Native individual who sowed and set up the teepee said several curious individuals came up with questions and appreciation for the display.
“There have been a lot of people coming by. It’s been pretty good. There has been a lot of, not just kids, but adults and everybody asking questions,” said Butterfly.
Winterfest has grown from a one-day community-based event into a weekend full of opportunities for locals and visitors to get a taste of winter in Sylvan Lake, said Brooker. He added the event shows the energy in Sylvan Lake goes beyond sunny summer beach days.
“We’re looking forward to bringing back some much-loved elements like the warming igloo and hopefully, mother nature will be kinder to our ice slide next year. We can’t wait to see people out and enjoying the vibrant energy that the community has to offer in the winter months,” said Brooker.
The town offers a free-of-cost tourism partnership program that shares a sneak peek of upcoming opportunities with local businesses. For more information visit visitsylvalake.ca/industry.