Regina’s Waskimo Winter Festival returns for 2019 with a rare opportunity

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WATCH: Despite the sub-freezing temperatures, thousands bundled in boots and toques for a rare opportunity at this year's Waskimo Winter Festival. Katelyn Wilson has more – Feb 18, 2019

Despite the sub-zero temperatures, thousands in Regina braved the cold for the third annual Waskimo Winter Festival.

“You can embrace winter in this province, you really can. It’s easy to hide inside, but we build Waskimo to encourage people to embrace winter,” said festival organizer Jim Aho.

READ MORE: Thousands brave the cold for Waskimo Winter Festival 2018

For the first time in 16 years, several people took advantage of a rare opportunity — the chance to skate on Wascana Lake.

“There’s something very magical about being able to skate on our lake, especially when you consider a whole generation of kids have grown up in Regina, never knowing the joys of skating,” Aho said.

From activities on the ice to events off the ice, there was no shortage of things to do to help shake off the frosty temperatures. Events included a bird-watching field trip, cross-country skiing and the “hole-ympics” outhouse races.

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Another highlight of the winter festival was the polar plunge, making a comeback for the first time in many years to raise money for the Special Olympics.

READ MORE: Thousands come out for return of Waskimo in Regina

“In Waskimos of years ago, we used to dig a hole in the ice and actually plunge into the lake water, but we can’t do that anymore,” Aho said. “So we have the big plunge tanks and the hot tubs beside them.”

The Snobears were also new to the festival this year. Described as a motorhome on wheels, the outdoor vehicles provided a refuge for those looking to escape the chilly weather. There was also an indoor carnival at the Conexus Arts Centre including a magic show, an escape room and axe-thowing.

Organizers say the event continues to grow each year and has become a family tradition, no matter how cold it gets.

WATCH: Edmonton’s Silver Skate Festival forges ahead amid cold snap

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Edmonton’s Silver Skate Festival forges ahead amid cold snap – Feb 11, 2019

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