A couple of years ago the Polar Bear Dip celebrations in Sylvan Lake saw some improvisation due to unreliable ice conditions on the lake. Here Logan Vogt falls into a dunk tank instead of the lake in 2015. (Advocate file photo)

Central Alberta Family Day weekend activities include chilliest of dips

Swimmers will brave ice-cold waters on in Sylvan and Blackfalds

This weekend’s Family Day fun will include some whole-body chilling acts of bravery by a number of individuals — in ice-cold water.

The annual Sylvan Lake Polar Dip and Blackfalds Penguin Dip are both slated for this weekend. Individuals who participate in either event not only get to prove they’re blue-blooded Central Albertans, they will also help raise funds for charity.

Some events may change due to the warm weather and melting conditions this week. For example, the snowshoing in Sylvan Lake on Sunday has now been cancelled because of a lack of snow.

Sylvan Lake’s Winterfest includes the Polar Dip on Saturday at 1 p.m., and a variety of activities from sleigh rides to skating on the east side of the Pier from noon to 3 p.m.. The evening will finish off with fireworks at 7 p.m.

Polar Dippers must have pre-registered through the Town of Sylvan Lake. A maximum of 50 participants will be allowed.

On Monday, a Family Fun Day will be held at Bonavista Fine Art. Some events include a fee.

The Blackfalds Penguin Dip will be held on Monday at the Abbey Centre, starting at 2:30 p.m. Pre-registration was required.

The town will hold other Winterfest activities, mainly at the Abbey Centre, the same day, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Some of the free activities include horse-drawn sleigh rides; an ice slide and snow maze; games and bouncy castles.

The Ice On Whyte ice carvers will be there and also host the Li’l Chippers learn-to-ice-carve program. A family skate party and family bingo, both at the Blackfalds Multi-Plex Arena (5302 Broadway Avenue), will end the day.

BOLT Transit will be providing free bus service around Blackfalds throughout the day.

In Red Deer, on Friday, there’s a Family Day Dance at Festival Hall (4214-58 St.). Tickets— $10 adults, $5 junior under 18, 3 and under free, family of four $20 — are available through the Country Pride Dance Club website. Music is by JukeBox Rock and a DJ. There will be a Bunny Hop lesson. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

The Red Deer Museum + Art Gallery (MAG) offers a free fun event for the Monday, 1 to 4 p.m., from Slap Shot Hockey Printmaking to Monotone Bumper Prints made by riding tricycles, a Winter Fun Snow Zone, and snacks.

Photographer Tim Van Horn will be on site with his camera to capture portraits of Red Deerians for a Canada 150 commemorative photo mosaic that will be permanently installed on the exterior of the building.

Also on Family Day, head down to the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame and Museum to play on interactives, enjoy some hot chocolate, and create family friendly crafts, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Kids and youth get in free, adults $5.

Penhold will have an afternoon of skating, hot chocolate, marshmallows and hotdogs at the Recreation Centre from 1 to 3 p.m.. on Family Day. The event is free.

Innisfail will also have activities on Family Day. Outdoor family ice time and a barbecue is from noon to 3 p.m. and it’s free. A family swim will run from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. at the Innisfail Aquatic Centre. The cost is a donation to the food bank. Bring your own skates and helmets for skating. Sticks and pucks will be allowed, but only on the indoor rink. Those who can are asked to bring their own lifejackets to the swim.

Winterfest in Sundre runs Saturday and Sunday of the Family Day weeeknd, from noon to 5 p.m. both days, at the Sundre Museum, 211 1st Ave. S.W.

Some of the activities include ice carving, horse-drawn wagon rides, an artists and artisans show and sale, heritage demonstrations, meet the hawk and visit with forestry personnel. There will also be musical entertainment.

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