Wetaskiwin figure skaters honour Canada’s birthday with annual carnival

It is the year of Canada’s 150th anniversary and the Wetaskiwin Figure Skating Club made sure to pay homage and celebrate...

Niya Venardos performs a solo number during the Wetaskiwin Figure Skating Club’s Carnival 2017 Calabrate Canada 150

It is the year of Canada’s 150th anniversary and the Wetaskiwin Figure Skating Club made sure to pay homage and celebrate the nation with its Carnival 2017 Celebrate Canada 150.

Skaters of all levels took to the ice on March 18 to wow the audience with the hard work of the club and help create an atmosphere of celebration in the community.

“I think the carnival was a big success with approximately 171 spectators,” said Cindy Warnke, president of the Wetaskiwin Figure Skating Club.

“Attendance was up a bit from last year and all the kids I spoke with had a great time. Not a lot of people have the opportunity to watch an ice show or figure skating around here. The audience enthusiastically cheered on their skaters, which the kids loved,” she added.

The theme to celebrate Canada’s anniversary was voted on by the club’s executive committee then given to the remainder of the club for further development.

“Our coaches put all their talent into picking songs and choreography for the groups. Next we had a parent volunteer for each group to expand on costume ideas and make them a reality. It was a great group effort,” said Warnke.

“This year Dana Norton volunteered to take on the responsibility to be our carnival committee chair and did an excellent job of organizing and ensuring a smoothly run carnival,” she added.

Warnke says it is the skaters themselves that are her favourite part of the carnival, and the excitement they bring to their performances. “They are so proud of the skills they’ve learned and feel very important to be able to show it off to their friends and family.”

Approximately 40 CanSkate skaters performed during the carnival, along with eight Rising Stars and nine in the Star Skate group.

The Star skaters also performed their solos that they compete with throughout the year. Star Skate is their figure skating program consisting of five levels new for this year requiring testing in ice dance, freeskate and skating skills. Canskate is Skate Canada’s “learn to skate” program that consists of six badges. Each badge requires the skater to earn a ribbon in each of these skills: balance, agility and control. The Rising Star program is an optional program that helps bridge the CanSkate and the Star Skate programs. It branches off from the learn-to-skate and the athletes’ first introduction to the world of figure skating.

“Canada’s 150th birthday is a great reason to celebrate and we wanted to continue the celebration in our carnival. The kids got involved by making posters with a Canada theme that we used to decorate the arena for carnival,” said Warnke.