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Family activities fill the long weekend in central Alberta

The Polar Bear Dip happens Saturday during Winterfest in Sylvan Lake
The Polar Dip happens Saturday during Sylvan Lake’s Winterfest celebrations. Lots of family activities are available throughout the region on the Family Day long weekend. (Advocate file photo).

Sleigh rides, marshmallow roasts and other fun Family Day activities are being offered this weekend in central Alberta.

Family Day unofficially starts Saturday in Sylvan Lake with Winterfest (some events run Sunday and Monday).

Families are invited to come and have some lakeside fun from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., with sleigh rides, an ice slide, snow maze and ice-carving demos. The winter carnival features a warming igloo, bonfires, crokicurl, lake curling, skating, fireworks and more.

The pinnacle is the Polar Bear Dip, where people jump into the freezing lake for charity. Visit for more details.

On Sunday, the Snowman Festival will be held at Heritage Ranch in Red Deer. The sleigh rides, pony rides and hot chocolate cost $55 for a family of four.

Tickets include a family pass to the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame and Museum. Call 403-347-4977 for more information.

Family Day Monday is Family Snow Day at Sunnybrook Farm. Volunteers will host an afternoon of activities.

Children and adults can enjoy sliding down the hill by the pond, playing fox and geese, and take a sleigh ride with a team of horses.

There’s also a marshmallow roast over a firepit, and hot chocolate and cookies inside the new Calder School community hall.

Admission is by donation.

Parking is available at the new south-gate entrance for Sunnybrook on Botterill Crescent, or on the street.

There’s also a Family Day sleigh ride Monday in McLean Park in Red Deer’s Morrisroe neighbourhood. A barbecue will be held at 1 p.m. at 35 McLean St. Families can bring their skates. Donations are accepted.

The Red Deer Museum and Art Gallery will be hosting a Our Stories event Monday from 1 to 4 p.m.

Family stories will be celebrated through storytelling by Red Deer historian Michael Dawe. There’s a family photo booth, art activities, games and music.

Visitors can leave their mark on a collaborative This is Us family tree and enjoy cake and beverages. The event is free, but donations are welcome.

Family Day Monday will be celebrated with free admission to the YMCA in Red Deer’s Northside Community Centre from noon to 4 p.m.

Fun games and activities for the whole family will be offered at 6391 76th St.

For full details, visit

Outside of Red Deer, Ponoka will hold Family Day celebrations Monday starting at 11:30 a.m. at Lions Centennial Park, off Highway 2A, with skating, face painting, hay rides, hotdogs and hot chocolate.

Admission is by food bank donation. Activities will move indoors to the arena if the weather is too cold.

Also, the Ponoka Aquaplex is offering free swimming from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m.

Monday also means Family Day activities at the Bentley Museum. Old-fashioned sleigh rides, tours of the town and the museum will be offered, as well as hot chocolate, apple cider, cookies, chili and carrot cake. This is a free event.