INNISFAIL – The third annual Snow & Tumbleweeds festival bravely went ahead last weekend despite dealing with a winter bite hangover from this month’s nasty cold snap.
Even with Mother Nature’s overcast testy frigidness, less than 100 hardy souls still had the fortitude to bundle up and come to the Innisfail and District Historical Village from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Jan. 20 to have a taste of the better side of winter.
This year’s free town-sponsored festival, designed to celebrate winter on the prairies, featured story telling from cowboy poet BJ Smith, musical entertainment in the Tea Room from Friends, horse-drawn carriage rides from Double T Percherons, snowshoeing opportunities from the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame, and of course time-honoured maple syrup treats from Canadian Maple Shack.
There was also a table set aside outdoors for local artist Karen Scarlett to officially launch her Community Heritage Quilt Crochet Balm Project.
And Guns of the Golden West Association was back, but not with the popular live outdoor theatre re-enactment of a wild, wild west gun fight.
This year association representatives set up indoors at the village to host a school program presentation on trade and transportation from its brand new Fur Trade and Explorers Division.
“We're going to show them all the trials and tribulations of being a voyageur,” said the association’s Greg Ingram, who identified himself in character as “postmaster Gregoire.”
“After we've shown them all of the modes of moving a canoe, we're going to take them on an imaginary canoe trip,” he added. “Will it be portage? Will it be shooting rapids? Will it be tracking? We will see if they can figure out what will be the best mode of moving forward with supplies and furs to the trading posts.”
In the meantime, Anna Lenters, president of the Innisfail and District Historical Society, conceded the weather was a factor for the less than stellar number of folks who attended, noting the first two years of Snow & Tumbleweeds each attracted about 400 brave and enthusiastic souls.
“I think this is something we have to sit down and talk about how realistic it is, and decide whether we're going to do it again,” said Lenters, adding the Town of Innisfail finances most of the event’s expenses. “Maybe it should be amalgamated into Family Day or we revisit this.
“We'll have that discussion.”