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Fort Winter Festival brings Instagram-worthy fun to Fort Qu’Appelle this weekend

Fort Winter Fest brings Instagrammable family fun to Fort Qu’Appelle this weekend
WATCH: Get your filters ready! This year's Fort Winter Festival features a very Instagrammable new feature in addition to a three-day lineup of new and returning activities.

It’s back for another year of family fun in the great, frosty outdoors.

The Fort Winter Festival returns to Fort Qu’Appelle this weekend and features an event schedule full of new and returning activities.

Returning patrons and newcomers alike will also notice a particularly regal new feature: the massive, sprinkler-grown Aurora Ice Palace (the “Aurora” in the name comes from the colourful LED lights that illuminate the palace at night).

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“We had two gentlemen plan it all out for us, we set up manifolds with a sprinkler system hooked up to it, and just kind of let it grow,” said festival planning committee secretary Kristin Main-Parfitt.

READ MORE: Regina’s Waskimo Winter Festival cancelled this year

Parfitt says the ice palace, which features arched gates, curving pathways and kids slide, took nearly a month and an estimated 500,000 gallons of water to create.

“It’s just something different, it’s not your regular block castle that we’re used to,” she said.

“It’s a lot larger in scale, and it’s just kinda neat to see how things grow.”

READ MORE: Beechy, Sask., moves ahead with fundraiser after Montreal Canadiens alumni game cancelled

The festival, which traces its roots back to the 1950s, is back after a one-year hiatus.

Planning Committee Co-Chair Becky Hill says she’s anticipating big crowds and that this weekend’s warm weather forecast will be a boon for festivities.

“We’re all pushing through the winter blues in many cases and this is just a great opportunity to get people out, to get the community together,” she said.

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“The weather will bring out great crowds. We’ve dealt with this kind of weather in the past.”

Fort Winter Festival
Fort Winter Festival

The festival is on Friday evening to Sunday afternoon.

Here’s a look at events by day:

Friday:

  • Ice palace (4 to 8 pm)
  • Opening Ceremonies (7 pm)
  • Fort Knox vs. Storm – PJHL Playoff Hockey Game (7:30 pm)
  • Turkey Shoot (8 pm)
  • Fireworks (8:20 pm)
  • Cabaret (9:30 pm to 1:30 am)

Saturday:

  • Sunshine Learning Breakfast (9 a.m. to 11 a.m.)
  • Ice Palace (9 a.m. to 8 p.m.)
  • Snowpitch Tournament (10 a.m.)
  • Children’s activities – indoor/outdoor (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.)
  • Horse Drawn Sleigh Rides (10 a.m.to 12:30 p.m.)
  • Colours Tradeshow (10 a.m. to 4 pm)
  • Doddsy’s Donuts
  • Canteen (10 a.m.- 4 p.m.)
  • Pet Show brought to you by Beach’s and Prairie Valley Pet Services (10:30 a.m.)
  • Drift and SxS/ATV Racing (12 p.m. to 5 p.m.)
  • Senior Games (1 p.m. to 4 p.m.)
  • Polar Bear Dip (1 p.m.)
  • Texas Hold’em Tournament (1 p.m.)
  • Henna tattoos, crafts and other kids activities (2 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.)
  • Winter Festival Classic Street Hockey Tournament (2 p.m. to 5 p.m.)
  • Family Glow Skate (4 p.m. to 6 p.m.)
  • Ukrainian Supper (4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.)
  • Uphill Drags (6 p.m.)

Sunday

  • Ice Palace (9 a.m.to 3 p.m.)
  • Colours Tradeshow (10 a.m.to 4 p.m.)
  • Loopy’s Loaves (10 a.m. to 5 p.m.)
  • Drift and SxS/ATV Racing (11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.)
  • Ice Fishing Tournament (1 p.m. to 3 p.m.)
  • Sled Dog Races (1 p.m. to 4 p.m.)