Blackfalds cancels Winterfest 2021 due to budget considerations and pandemic restrictions

BLACKFALDS – Due to budget considerations and the current pandemic restrictions affecting all local events, the Town of Blackfalds cancelled this year’s Winterfest.

The average budget for Winterfest is $22,000 annually, which included wagon rides, ice slides, ice sculptures, and workshops, as well as Kidz Zone indoor inflatables.

Winterfest started in 2008, with a few winter activities for families like pond hockey and snowman making contests. The event evolved with the introduction and fan-favourite Penguin Dip in 2014 featuring brave volunteers from around the community raising money for their favourite charity – by jumping into a pool of ice-cold water. From 2014 to 2020, their dippers raised a total of $19,971.25.

The event got bigger and better throughout the years, with last year’s event bringing in hundreds of people despite the chilly weather. It was initially hosted in Centennial Park, then the Multi-Plex, then the Community Centre. For the past six years, it has been held at the Abbey Centre. 

Mayor Poole said that council has supported this event for as long as he can remember.

“I’ll miss the enjoyment this event brings, and I will especially miss watching the brave volunteers as they line up to do their Penguin Dip along with the shocked faces they make as they hit the water. I am looking forward to a future where we all can have community events to bring us together again.”