It’s a long, slippery way down the ice slide at the Gary W. Harris Celebration Plaza in downtown Red Deer. (Photo by LANA MICHELIN/Advocate staff).

Red Deerians brave the chill to spend Family Day in the new Celebration Plaza

The 2019 Canada Winter Games hub attracted a lot of parents and kids

Freezing weather tends to bring out the die-hard Canadian spirit in Red Deerians.

Since Family Day only hit -16 C as a daytime high, there was plenty of Canuck vitality to go around in Celebration Plaza. Dozens of parents, grandparents and kids braved the cold to come out to participate in a multitude of activities — from a snow maze to crokicurl.

“I mean, why not come out? It’s sunny and it’s Family Day and it’s the Canada Winter Games… It’s always good to support your community,” said Sandy Vradenburgh, who brought her seven-year-old granddaughter to the former Central Intermediate School yard on Monday afternoon.

Younger kids enjoyed the playground, ice slide and a movie presentation in the Dome. There was also skating, an ice carving demonstration, indoor performance by kids entertainers, Bobs and LoLo, as well as food trucks and an artisan market.

For parents, there was free hot coffee, courtesy of a Tim Horton’s truck — which was much appreciated by Amanda Nichols and her husband Jaymi Nichols.

The couple brought their kids Brooklyn, six, and Ethan nine, down to Celebration Plaza because they thought it was a good way to celebrate Family Day. The family took part in some hockey shooting in the ATCO Gas tent, Brooklyn got her face painted, and a good time was had.

“The crowds here have been pretty steady,” said Amanda, who noted there were heated tents for warming up from the cold.

Although Tuesday’s temperature is expected to rise to a balmy high of -4 C, there aren’t any festival activities planned for Celebration Plaza until Thursday.

But some special events will be happening along Little Gaetz Avenue right to March 2.

Families can watch as the carvers from Chainsaw Spirit turn wood into unique pieces of art every evening at 5 p.m.

There’s craft beverage sampling at the Scott Block from 4-7 p.m. on Feb. 21, 22, 23, 28, March 1 and 2.

Join Eco-Tree every afternoon from 4-5 p.m. for a wood milling demonstration and workshops with Sawing for Schools.

There are also lunch time performances: Live music from 11:30-1 p.m. on Little Gaetz Avenue.

In the evenings there are lights, picnic tables, fire pits and heat lamps on Little Gaetz.

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Cold temperatures on Family Day didn’t prevent kids from enjoying the playground off Celebration Plaza in downtown Red Deer. (photo by LANA MICHELIN/Advocate staff).

Several indoor heated tents were available for various Family Day activities in Celebration Plaza in downtown Red Deer, but a lot of kids were happy to play outdoors despite the cold. (Photo by LANA MICHELIN/Advocate staff).

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