Fort McMurray, AB – No play on words here or mistyped font either. Winter in the Reginal Municipality of Wood Buffalo is all about PLAY. February 22 – 24 will be the big WinterPLAY celebration at Snye Park in Fort McMurray. And as usual, the days will be filled with the magic of winter.
This annual event just gets better every year and you’re invited to come and participate in the winter-themed activities or watch the demonstrations by world-renowned ice carvers. Play in the icy playground and slide down a frozen snow chute. Pet the sled dogs or maybe go for a rip around the dogsled course. Hey, speaking of petting, there is a petting zoo too.
“Every year we try something new and this year we are happy to have a petting zoo join our celebration,” says Roxanne Andras, coordinator, Recreation and Culture for the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo.
“There will be lots of entertainment provided by local talent – beyond the talent competition,” adds Andras. “And, the local snowmobile club, the Snowdrifters, will be hosting its annual wiener roast at a giant bonfire on the ice again.”
Are you hungry for more than just a weenie-roast? Don’t worry, there will be plenty of food vendors offering everything from hearty chilli and pulled pork sandwiches to fair favourites like cotton candy and mini donuts.
Fort Mac’s got talent
Have you polished your dance moves or mastered that aria? Maybe your dog can do amazing tricks. Sign up for the Talent Show and win prizes, plus bragging rights for an entire year. All the talent show competitions will take place in the Entertainment Tent. Be sure to pop in and cheer on someone who just might make it to the big times. Ya never know.
Whoa, here’s a bit of nostalgia for the pond hockey participants. Did you know that hockey has been played on the frozen lakes and rivers around town since the 1930s. Back in the “OLD” days, teams from Fort McMurray and the village of Waterways would hold an annual tournament to win the Fairbairn Cup. Now, with Waterway a part of the community, it’s “GAME ON” for all teams who want to enter the annual Shootout on the Snye Four-on-Four Pond Hockey Tournament on the Clearwater River. Sign up your team in age divisions starting at age 5.
Fireworks are always a big hit – especially with a dark northern sky. Make sure you are at Snye Park on Sunday night for the big and brilliant finale.
Not part of WInterPLAY, but a big part of the winter experience is the opportunity to see the spectacular evening display of Aurora Borealis – or that lovely ripple of Northern Lights as some of us call the sky’s night dance. Check out the Fort McMurray Tourism website to find out where you can toss down a blanket and watch the night sky.
Getting on to midnight, we’re close to the sweet spot for glimpsing the dancing bands of colours that can range from vivid shades of green to dazzling pinks. It’s completely up to Mother Nature though whether they’ll come out to wow us, so we continue to gaze skyward in the hope she’ll grant us our wish.