Budget constraints and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic have cancelled Blackfalds’ 2021 Winterfest.
The event, which has taken place since 2008, has a budget of $22,000 annually, including wagon rides, ice slides, ice sculptures, and workshops, as well as Kidz Zone indoor inflatables.
At the outset, Winterfest had a few family fun activities like pond hockey and snowman making contests. It involved over the years, the introduction of the penguin dip in 2014. That portion of the event has raised close to $20,000 for local charities.
“I have participated in every Winterfest over the past decade as it is one of my favourites, and its cancellation was not an easy decision for us to make,” said Sean Barnes, director of community services.
Blackfalds Mayor Richard Poole said it was a tough choice to cancel the event, as it is typically loved by much of the community.
“I’ll miss the enjoyment this event brings, and I will especially miss watching the brave volunteers as they line up to do their Penguin Dip along with the shocked faces they make as they hit the water. I am looking forward to a future where we all can have community events to bring us together again,” he said.
Community officials were still encouraging residents to celebrate Family Day activities while following the COVID-19 public health protocols.