Sackville is getting set once again to celebrate the wonders of the season during its upcoming annual Winterfest, anticipated to be bigger and better than ever this year.
Matt Pryde, manager of recreation programs and special events, said Winterfest 2019 features a jam-packed schedule with a lineup of activities to suit just about everyone’s tastes.
Pryde said Winterfest, which will run Feb. 21 to 24, is a great opportunity for family and friends to get out and get active and shake off those winter blues.
“The idea behind Winterfest is to encourage residents and visitors to get outside and enjoy everything Sackville has to offer in the winter,” said Pryde.
The four days are chock-full of activities. The Sackville Tribune-Post has put together a list of the top five can’t-miss events local residents should check out during this year’s Winterfest.
1. Outdoor Dance Party
There’s nothing like cold, winter nights warmed by cups of hot chocolate and a much-anticipated fireworks show. And that’s exactly what you’ll find at the outdoor dance party that has become a popular highlight of Sackville’s Winterfest events.
Set for Friday evening (Feb. 22) at Bill Johnstone Memorial Park, the outdoor dance party gets under way at 7 p.m., and includes everything from a snowshoe obstacle course competition to a log tossing competition and a DJ to get residents’ toes tapping. Throughout the evening, professional ice artist Richard Chiasson will be designing a beautiful sculpture, so everyone is encouraged to come out and watch the process, said Pryde.
Also featuring hot chocolate and snacks, the night will end with a quick and exciting fireworks display at 8:30 p.m.
2. Family Day at Beech Hill Park
One of the most beloved events that has become synonymous with Sackville’s Winterfest involves a fun-filled afternoon at Beech Hill Park.
“Family Day at Beech Hill Park on Saturday is always a big hit with sledding, snowshoeing, wagon rides, paraskiing, hot chocolate and more,” said Pryde.
Also featuring maple taffy-making on the snow and a barbecue, Family Day will run from 1-3 p.m.
3. Fireman’s 110th annual Winter Carnival
New to the Winterfest lineup this year – but a much-anticipated event of the winter season for more than a century in Sackville – is the annual Fireman’s Winter Carnival.
“This year we decided to go big and partnered with Sackville Fire and Rescue to include the 110th Fireman’s Winter Carnival into the schedule,” said Pryde.
Taking place on Saturday night at the Tantramar civic centre, participants are encouraged to bring their skates and get decked out in their favourite costumes to hit the ice for a night of fun, music and prizes. Doors open at 6 p.m. and admission, as it has been for many decades, is only 50 cents.
4. Town vs. Gown charity hockey game
Want to take in an entertaining hockey game while supporting the local food bank at the same time? Come on out Sunday afternoon (Feb. 24) to the Tantramar civic centre for the ‘town vs. gown’ charity hockey game – an event that sees a team of town representatives take on a squad of Mount Allison staff, faculty and students.
“There’s prizes to be won and plenty of activities and fun for all ages,” he said.
Pierre Arsenault, Mount A’s director of athletics, said the town vs. gown hockey game has become a “great annual tradition that we look forward to.”
“The hockey game has been a lot of fun and to see everyone come together in support of our local food bank is also really cool,” said Arsenault, adding that the Mount A team’s mission this year is to get the trophy back.
Entry is one non-perishable food item per person and Pryde encourages spectators to wear their Mountie or Titan colours for a chance to win some great prizes. The event gets under way at 4:30 p.m.
5. Live Music
Are you a country music fan? Or perhaps the blues are more your style? Well this year’s Winterfest has a couple of shows that’ll get your boots stompin’ and your heart thumping.
On Friday night at Ducky’s Pub, take in a performance from the venerable Garrett Mason. This high-energy blues show with the Juno Award winner is sure to be a crowd pleaser and gets started at 9:30 p.m. preceded by the upstream brewery tap takeover at 7 p.m.
On Thursday evening, residents are invited to come on out to the Sackville Legion and enjoy some live country tunes from Rod Allen & the Gang from 6:30-9:30 p.m.
But the fun doesn’t stop there . . .
“There’s lots of other great stuff happening throughout the weekend as well. Everything from the legion luncheon to the fireman’s breakfast, and the ice sculpture-making workshop to a free magic show, and even a free family skate where you can try out sledge hockey sleds,” said Pryde.
For more information and a more detailed schedule, visit the Winterfest page on the town’s website.