SASKATOON – Three of the last four days in Saskatoon have seen temperatures above the freezing mark and people aren’t wasting a moment of the above seasonal temperatures. The PotashCorp Wintershines festival at the Farmers’ Market is entering its last weekend and director Kim Ali says the sunny days have made a huge impact.
“The numbers are amazing this year, we’ve doubled almost already from last year. We’re really excited. The weather has been beautiful,” said Ali.
Those at the festival enjoyed ice carvings, a snow park and a petting zoo.
“It’s fun to see them play with the animals and it’s fun to see all of the different ice sculptures. Yeah, it’s just fun to be outside, it’s really nice and warm,” said babysitter Elise Christensen.
But the weather hasn’t had a warm welcome from everyone. Peter Forgarty, an ice carver and director for the Frosted Gardens at the Delta Bessborough says the mild conditions have created a slippery start and major delays.
“A long spell of the warm weather and not only the warm weather, it’s the direct sun. The UV rays just deteriorate the ice very quickly,” said Fogarty.
Seven professional ice carvers from around the world traveled to Saskatoon a week ago to begin building ice sculptures for Wintershines and the Frosted Gardens. However, until Saturday morning their progress had been frozen.
“Unfortunately a couple of the pieces have not survived. The artists that were carving they’re actually in Ottawa competing now so they carved them through the week and then left mid-week. We tried protecting everything as best we can, but the weather just took the better part of it,” says Fogarty.
Now that temperatures are below zero the ice sculptors are working around the clock to create new pieces for the delayed opening of the Frosted Gardens on Monday.