‘Waskimo’ winter festival on Wascana Lake resurrected after 14-year hiatus

A man on skates sails through the ice at Waskimo.
A man on skates sails through the ice at Waskimo. File / Global News

Do you remember Waskimo? The popular winter festival on Wascana Lake is coming back.

The festival was around for about 25 years before it was put on hold after 2001, after the dredging of Wascana Lake.

Now, after a 14-year hiatus, organizers said it’s expected to be bigger than ever.

The festival is planned for Family Day 2017, with both indoor and outdoor activities planned for the entire family. This year Family Day falls on February 20.

“There’s just a growing interest. We’re a winter city. We should be celebrating winter at this time. It’s unfortunate that we don’t have some big event that focuses on activities,” Waskimo planning committee Jim Aho said.

“With Waskimo, the magic is you get to be on the lake. On the actual ice surface of the lake, which in itself is a bit of a thrill.”

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Aho said interest in resurrecting the festival just happened organically.

“People have been talking about this and dreaming about it. There was even a Facebook page that popped up… it’s just a grassroots movement of people saying ‘let’s pull this thing back again,’ Aho said.”

He said the committee raised about $25,000 in corporate funds but are anticipating a budget of $50,000 for the entire festival.

Aho and other members are asking residents to chip in where they can. A Gofundme page has been set up. He said they are also in need of volunteers.

He added they’re already planning many events for the day, including an Olympic style race with outhouses, a dress-up for dogs, and many activities.