by Nicole Starker Campbell
For The Pipestone Flyer
The 4th annual Wetaskiwin Winter Warm-Up happens the last weekend in November, and this year it will be bigger than ever.
Volunteers with the City of Wetaskiwin Community Engagement Committee (CEC) work with local agencies, organizations, and individuals to put on this event celebrating the spirit of the season.
CEC Chair Roxanne Kasianchuk says the purpose of Winter Warm-Up is to provide some affordable, fun weekend activity options for local families.
The Winter Warm-Up weekend begins the evening of Thurs., Nov. 21 with the Festival of Trees at the Manluk Centre. On Fri., Nov. 22, jolly old Saint Nick will roll down Main Street in the Firefighter’s Santa Claus parade. The parade begins at 6:30 p.m. and ends with the Light Up at City Hall.
Local students received sheets for the Wilbert Colouring Contest that closes on Nov. 15 and features prizes like gift cards and tickets for a ride on the CP Holiday Train. Contest winners will be announced at the City Hall Light Up.
On Sat., Nov. 23 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., the Drill Hall will offer new interactive activities from pony rides and a petting zoo to archery, axe throwing, and traditional indigenous storytelling. “It’s more entertaining and people can be more hands-on,” says Kasianchuk.
Participants will also be treated to a free lunch again this year from the Drill Hall concession. Kasianchuk says the event provided over 1,000 lunches in 2018.
Christmas photos will be available at the Manluk Recreation Area from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the Saturday and the Garland and Grace Christmas Craft Fair will take place at the same time in the Memorial Arts Centre.
Saturday night will feature a Canadian Country Music Legends Concert to raise funds for the Children’s Indoor Play Society (CHIPS). The show begins at 7 p.m. at Memorial Hall and tickets are $30 in advance or $40 at the door.
A free family skate Sun., Nov. 24 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Wetaskiwin Civic Centre will cap off the 2019 Winter Warm-Up weekend.
The annual event is growing in popularity among local families and organizations. “This year has been probably our most successful because we’ve had people and community groups and businesses reaching out to us and asking to be a part of the festival,” Kasianchuk says.
The full Winter Warm-Up schedule is available on the event website at www.wetaskiwincec.ca.