Sylvan Lake’s annual Winterfest has enhanced to be bigger than ever before.
The one-day festival will now be held over two, with outside events stretching from Friday night all the way to Family Day Monday, Feb. 14-17.
“Part of our Festival and Events Strategy that we are implementing focuses on expanding our festival season beyond the summer months,” said Joanne Gaudet, communications officer for the Town of Sylvan Lake.
She added the Town is looking forward to celebrating and embracing the winter culture with the members of the community as well as with those who are coming from outside of the town.
Saturday, Feb. 15, Gaudet says, will be the main day of the festival.
Winterfest favourites such as the Lions Pancake Breakfast, the Polar Bear Dip and fireworks will be hosted throughout the day.
The Lions Pancake Breakfast comes at an additional fee and is paid at the door, while the Polar Bear Dip is pre-registration only, but is free to spectate.
“In terms of new things we’re rolling out a Crokicurl game on the ice, we’re creating warming igloos, we are bringing in the team from Ice on White and they will be helping with ice carving and lessons as well as the children’s ice slide and snow maze,” explained Gaudet.
Sleigh rides and regular affairs like hot chocolate will also be present at Winterfest on the Lake from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Winterfest on the Lake portion of the event will be hosted on Sunday as well.
Also new this year is the Fire and Ice Show, which will light up just before the fireworks and remain on until 8 p.m.
“I’m just hoping that when we’ve got the people down there that they appreciate this neat little skating feature that we’re setting up for them,” commented Gaudet.
Additionally, many of the downtown businesses will be partaking in a Chocolate and Coffee Tour from Feb. 14-16.
A list of participating locations will be released alongside what they will be offering and any fees that apply so those interested can guide themselves around downtown trying as much or as little as they would like.
There will also be a bingo card available to get stamped at each location you participate with the opportunity to win some prizes.
Sunday will see the return of the Alberta Oval Ice Racing Championship Series from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Cost for this event is $5 per person or a max $15 per car load.
Throughout the Family Day weekend everyone is also able to fish without a licence, although regular regulations still apply.
With additions like the free evening carriage rides on Valentine’s Day Gaudet says the Town is hoping to expand the event beyond just a kid’s activity day.
“We’ve kind of identified a few target markets that we want to bring into town,” Gaudet explained, “the motivation behind this is to bring visitors to Sylvan Lake year round.”
“We’re not just a summer location, we want those day-trippers, we want those weekenders and that includes being able to offer something to everyone.”
Those looking to attend can follow the Town of Sylvan Lake Recreation and Culture on Facebook or subscribe to the website to stay updated on changes being made in result of poor weather or to ask any questions.
A full event schedule can be found on the Town of Sylvan Lake’s website.
“Tell your friends and invite everybody,” said Gaudet, who says the Town is also open to feedback on the event from all attendees.