January 13, 2019 8:25 pm
Updated: January 13, 2019 11:11 pm

‘It was the best yet’: Edmonton Deep Freeze benefits from less-than-freezing temps

WATCH: A festival celebrating all things winter will kick off on Alberta Avenue later this week. Margeaux Maron has a preview of Deep Freeze: A Byzantine Winter Festival.


Milder temperatures proved to be beneficial for Edmonton’s annual Deep Freeze Festival this weekend.

Organizers said 38,000 people attended the 12th annual festival on Saturday, and a total of 60,000 to 70,000 people were expected to enjoy the festivities throughout the weekend, which could break an attendance record.

“It was the best yet,” said Christy Morin, the festival’s artistic director.

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“It’s all about people getting cold the week just before, and then, all of a sudden, the weather breaking and having great, great weather.”

READ MORE: Byzantine Winter Festival hopes to break another attendance record

The festival is held every year along Alberta Avenue to celebrate Edmonton’s northern climate with authentic cultural and heritage winter games and family fun. Some of the activities include deep freezer races, ice carvers and live performances.

“It’s just been super good. The kids have smiles, rosy cheeks, runny noses — everything you want in a winter festival,” Morin said.

There was some concern in the days leading up to the event, as the festival was short about 150 volunteers the week prior but, according to Morin, “Edmonton met the call.”

“The last four days, we had 200 volunteers sign up,” she said, adding: “There was nothing that was scarce as far as what we needed so it was great.”

READ MORE: Alberta Avenue embraces winter with annual Deep Freeze Festival

Alberta Avenue lies in a community that continues to face adversity, but the festival is a key component in its ongoing revitalization.

“It really brings us into a place of wholeness,” said Morin.

“This festival brings the excitement of what we’re all about — the arts and the energy of what’s to come.

“The potential is so huge for Alberta Avenue and the neighbours know it, but now we are able to share it with so many more people,” she added.

This year’s event also included a Ukrainian Cultural Day and Francophone Cultural Day as well as Indigenous cultural performances throughout the weekend.

The Deep Freeze Festival is free and funded by donations.

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