A smashing success, WinterFest had 1,500 people participating in the events.
“We had a phenomenal turn out for Houston,” said Dawn Potvin, Co-chair of the Houston ACT (Action Changes Things) Committee, who oversaw and organized the event.
“The community support was definitely there…They just far surpassed any of my expectations.
“The participant level for every event was outstanding.
“[It was great] to see the number of people who came out, even though it was so cold,” she said.
Temperatures stayed close to -25 degrees Celsius during the whole week of WinterFest, and that was the only major challenge of the event, Potvin said.
Weather caused some venues to change and cancelled the snowmobile rides planned for Saturday afternoon.
“The weather was the only stressful thing and there’s nothing you can do about that, so we just had to stop worrying about it and just roll ahead.
“The cold weather was the only challenge because everybody else just organized the events so well.
“Once things started going, everything just went off perfectly.
“Each organization participated fully and they were just phenomenal, they took care of it and each event went off without a hitch,” Potvin said.
Participation was as follows: 55 people hit the streets Tuesday night for street hockey. The Houston Figure Skating Club’s “Come Skate With Us” had 25 people on the ice Thursday afternoon. On Friday, the WinterFest kick off bonfire and sledding had over 100 people.
The Old Timers Hockey Tournament had 120 players and over 200 fans and the Irrigation Ice Fishing Derby, put on by Calvin and Brenda Glaim had 200 people on Saturday.
The Family Literacy Brunch, put on by Houston Link to Learning, had 190 people, and 130 people hit the bowling lanes at Pleasant Valley Plaza on Saturday.
Houston Curling Club had 21 people at Jan Pail Curling, and 30 people strapped on snowshoes and blazed some trails at Four Seasons Park.
On Family Day Monday, 60 people went for free skiing at the Morice Mountain Ski Trails, 40 people hit 9th Street for street hockey organized by the Houston Dze L K’Ant Friendship Centre.
The Houston Leisure Facility had 245 people packing the pool, and 35 people took to the ice for free public skating at the Claude Parish Memorial Arena.
The Guns and Hoses hockey game, organized by the Houston RCMP and Fire Department, had 40 players and over 387 fans.
Potvin says they were happy to see so many people trying new things at WinterFest.
“We didn’t want it to just be a hockey weekend, we wanted to get as many events as we could so that each person could try something that they’ve never tried before,” she said.
She added that there were new people curling, cross country skiing and snowshoeing, and they really seemed to love it.
One group has already increased registration because of WinterFest and others will likely as well, she said.
Potvin says they are already looking forward to next year.
“We want to involve more people so hopefully throughout the year we’ll get more organizations that are interested in joining us and making it just a bigger and better event every year,” she said.
The Houston ACT committee will be planning next year’s WinterFest throughout the year, so any groups interested in taking part in WinterFest can contact Dawn at 250-845-1291.
ACT Committee will also be planning other events during the next year to promote healthy living, and ‘This is Our Town,’ a local community clean up group, will be starting up again in the spring.
Houston ACT Committee thanks all the volunteers, groups and participants for their involvement.
“It was good to see the community come together like that. It was fabulous,” she said.