Sylvan Lake embraced annual tradition of Winterfest

Artist Lindsay Istace leaves audiences in awe with the Fire on Ice Show. Elsabe Nel / Submitted photoArtist Lindsay Istace leaves audiences in awe with the Fire on Ice Show. Elsabe Nel / Submitted photo
Bikers race towards the finish line. Rayelle Cooper / Blackstone PhotographyBikers race towards the finish line. Rayelle Cooper / Blackstone Photography
Sylvan Lake’s Burton Geddes enjoyed his first axe throwing experience at Wood Shed Axe Throwing Feb. 18. Reeti Meenakshi Rohilla / Sylvan Lake NewsSylvan Lake’s Burton Geddes enjoyed his first axe throwing experience at Wood Shed Axe Throwing Feb. 18. Reeti Meenakshi Rohilla / Sylvan Lake News
DJ Colossal Sam performed live at Chief’s Pub and Eatery Feb. 18. Reeti Meenakshi Rohilla / Sylvan Lake NewsDJ Colossal Sam performed live at Chief’s Pub and Eatery Feb. 18. Reeti Meenakshi Rohilla / Sylvan Lake News
Red Deer’s Ariana Wayne and Sabrina Wayne honed their badminton skills during Winterfest 2022. Reeti Meenakshi Rohilla / Sylvan Lake NewsRed Deer’s Ariana Wayne and Sabrina Wayne honed their badminton skills during Winterfest 2022. Reeti Meenakshi Rohilla / Sylvan Lake News
From left Clare Butterfly, Adam Butterfly, Harrison Haapala, and Wilfred Butterfly posed outside a teepee Feb. 19. Reeti Meenakshi Rohilla / Sylvan Lake NewsFrom left Clare Butterfly, Adam Butterfly, Harrison Haapala, and Wilfred Butterfly posed outside a teepee Feb. 19. Reeti Meenakshi Rohilla / Sylvan Lake News
Ella Sadlowski enjoyed an afternoon at the maze. Reeti Meenakshi Rohilla / Sylvan Lake NewsElla Sadlowski enjoyed an afternoon at the maze. Reeti Meenakshi Rohilla / Sylvan Lake News
Edmonton’s Tidus Matsumura and Nocpis Matsumura relished an afternoon’s play on the ice structures. Reeti Meenakshi Rohilla / Sylvan Lake NewsEdmonton’s Tidus Matsumura and Nocpis Matsumura relished an afternoon’s play on the ice structures. Reeti Meenakshi Rohilla / Sylvan Lake News
Reeti Meenakshi Rohilla / Sylvan Lake NewsReeti Meenakshi Rohilla / Sylvan Lake News
Artist Lindsay Istace leaves audiences in awe with the Fire on Ice Show. Reeti Meenakshi Rohilla / Sylvan Lake NewsArtist Lindsay Istace leaves audiences in awe with the Fire on Ice Show. Reeti Meenakshi Rohilla / Sylvan Lake News
Bikers get ready for the 2022 Oval Ice Racing Series Feb. 20. Reeti Meenakshi Rohilla / Sylvan Lake NewsBikers get ready for the 2022 Oval Ice Racing Series Feb. 20. Reeti Meenakshi Rohilla / Sylvan Lake News
Reeti Meenakshi Rohilla / Sylvan Lake NewsReeti Meenakshi Rohilla / Sylvan Lake News
From left, Valentina Lange, J. P. Gladney with baby Emilia Lange, Colleen Knutson, Malcolm Knutson and Jonathan Knutson enjoyed an afternoon of outdoor events at White Frog Cafe Feb. 20. Reeti Meenakshi Rohilla / Sylvan Lake NewsFrom left, Valentina Lange, J. P. Gladney with baby Emilia Lange, Colleen Knutson, Malcolm Knutson and Jonathan Knutson enjoyed an afternoon of outdoor events at White Frog Cafe Feb. 20. Reeti Meenakshi Rohilla / Sylvan Lake News
Medicine Hat’s Dwayne Bennett participated in the BIG JIG Fishing Tournament. Reeti Meenakshi Rohilla / Sylvan Lake NewsMedicine Hat’s Dwayne Bennett participated in the BIG JIG Fishing Tournament. Reeti Meenakshi Rohilla / Sylvan Lake News
From left Aiden, Sandi and Mark Van Bommel warm up by the fire on the chilly afternoon of Feb. 21. Reeti Meenakshi Rohilla / Sylvan Lake NewsFrom left Aiden, Sandi and Mark Van Bommel warm up by the fire on the chilly afternoon of Feb. 21. Reeti Meenakshi Rohilla / Sylvan Lake News
Belmont’s Aiden Van Bommel took part in the BIG JIG Fishing Tournament Feb. 21. Reeti Meenakshi Rohilla / Sylvan Lake NewsBelmont’s Aiden Van Bommel took part in the BIG JIG Fishing Tournament Feb. 21. Reeti Meenakshi Rohilla / Sylvan Lake News

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.