Community festivals are a great way to promote healthy and safe neighbourhoods in our region. The Ice on Whyte Festival does this by encouraging individuals and families from all walks of life to come together to partake in fun and engaging winter activities.
I was fortunate to have been able to attend the weekend festival for the first time with a few friends. I saw amazing ice sculptures, listened to live music and watched as children and adults alike, played on a 17-foot high ice slide - lamenting that I did not think to wear my snow pants.
The festival offered a little bit of everything and had a warm and welcoming feel. Families gathered in the children's tent, which was full of activities such as face painting and crafts. I reluctantly declined the tiger face paint, a fond memory from my childhood. A second tent was home to the YESSCafe where for a donation to Youth Empowerment Support & Services you received a hot beverage and you could sit and enjoy some live music while you warmed up. Next to the cafe was Ice on Whyte's Celebration of Chinese Culture booth, there you could try fish balls, rice cookies and other cultural dishes.
Ever wonder how the ice sculptures are made, or how they get the ice so clear? Ice on Whyte also offers a great educational component to the festivities. Classrooms were invited to visit the grounds to learn about the ice sculpting process and to try the art form for themselves, in a safe and supervised environment. Aside from the fact that the students had a blast making their own ice creations, we know that involvement in arts education can have positive impacts on school success.
While festivals like Ice on Whyte are fun and engaging, they are also great ways of strengthening our community. They expose us to different cultures, encourage us to explore different areas of the city and meet new people.
I look forward to attending Ice on Whyte again next year for more good times and great music - this time with my snow pants.