Plans are complete for Stratford’s annual winter carnival Jan. 17-19, the theme of which is “Keep Calm and Freeze On.”
Following a couple of years where snow was hard to come by, the Stratford Winterfest planning committee decided to plan for all types of weather this year. A number of new events and activities are planned, along with some returning favourites. The program will feature both outdoor and indoor activities for all ages.
“Our goal for this year’s event is to plan for everything, increase our play value in Lower Queens Park, and include as many activities across the city as possible. We would like to include a wide range of ages in this great event," says planning committee chair Jeff Otten. "The committee feels that with the activates we have planned, this is one of the best programs we have put together."
This year’s activities will feature live entertainment in Lower Queens Park, highlighted by juggling and acrobat Kobbler Jay, a highly energetic juggler, with a twist.
Joining him on stage will be the Hercinia Arts Collective, who have put together a live dance just for Winterfest.
Other live acts in the park include the popular Bethel Puppet Tent, a demonstration from Tai Chi, live ice carvings, and a performance from On Stage Dance Studio.
This year’s ongoing activity line up is highlighted by the addition on three inflatable rides, a 135-foot long obstacle course, a 16-foot high slide, and a magical maze, all a first for the winter carnival. Another first for the event is the addition of Little Tracks Petting Zoo, an interactive farm animal display that will include goats, sheep, ducks, chickens, rabbits, mini pigs, geese, alpaca, spotted donkey, rare birds, and more.
Other new events include a self-made snow slide, winter basketball shoot out, a wonderful winter walk, and a mighty machine vehicle display.
Returning ongoing events in the park include the dog sled rides, apple land train rides, vintage snowmobile displays, ice building blocks, scavenger hunt, obstacle course, hockey shoot out, and more. The outdoor skating rink is also being planned.
For those looking to warm up, the marque of the Stratford Festival will be open where children can get face painting done or watch a movie while parents enjoy a cup of hot coffee.
Offsite Winterfest activities include Winterlude Entertainment at the Kiwanis Community Centre, High rollin’ and dinner night at the Royal Palisade, a fashion show at the Stratford Marketplace, an open house at the Stratford Badminton Club, Yuk Yuk’s dinner and show at the Arden Park, a big screen movie night at the Rotary Complex, a Grade 7/8 teen dance at the Kiwanis Centre, and a Murder Mystery Night at the Parlour.
“Traditionally we think of Stratford Winterfest as an outdoor carnival; however, a number of offsite and indoor activities are included to make the weekend a community wide event," says Otten.
For a complete listing and details of this year’s program, visit www.stratfordwinterfest.ca.
Stratford Winterfest relies heavily on volunteers over the course of the weekend to supervise and assist with the events in Lower Queens Park. Volunteers will work closely with committee members who will detail their responsibilities once they arrive.
This year’s event requires over 30 volunteers per day at a variety of times and locations. Stratford Winterfest has made it easy to get involved. Simply head to www.stratfordwinterfest.ca and click on the volunteer tab. You will then be directed to “Volunteer Spot.” There volunteers will be able to review the jobs that are available and sign up online. For more information email the volunteer coordinator at email@example.com.
This year’s Winterfest has been funded in part through the financial support of the City of Stratford. Contributing $10,000 to the project , the city’s gift is conditional on matching funds from the community. Organizers announced this week they had reached their goal of just under $28,000.