Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Winter Ice Festival

Five former city slickers, now turned somewhat country bumpkins, all bundled up to attend the first "Winter Ice Festival" in the east last weekend.

There were so many things to see!

Activities abounded at the frozen lakeshore, and crowds gathered at each one to become winter spectators, participants or admirers of such things.

Dog sled rides reminded me of my friend Denise who would like to experience one of those.

The lines were long for folks wanting a ride this day.
Right after we arrived though, we realized it was just too cold to stand in any lineups, so we opted instead to circulate the area and take note of the activities, search for a hot chocolate stand and bolt just as soon as one of us turned into a popsicle stick.

  • Snowmobile racing across the frozen tundra was interesting.
  • Ice fishing shacks were dotted in the far off distances.
  • The duck pond was frozen over and a curling rink was painted onto the surface with participants in the middle of a game.
  • Horse sleigh rides were present along with pony rides for small children.
  • Dog sledding was available as in the photo above, but there was another dog sledding area for young children using dogs in training for such a purpose.
  • Kites were everywhere, big huge kites in the sky, something weird in the dead of winter!

  • Helicopter rides were available at no charge, a bit crazy if you ask me with all that was already going on, kites and so forth.

  • The challenge of the ice maze; honestly just the thought of entering inside of it made us frigid cold and want to scramble home again. Brrrrr....

Winter Olympics were the theme of the day, plenty of photo ops were available for all around the winter ice festival locations.
After clicking half a dozen photos after i first arrived, my battery signal light came on my camera. Dead.

Growling for a few seconds, I tapped my other frozen coat pocket to find my cell phone (iphone) and decided to complete my photo journal of the day using it instead. Some of my photos don't do the gloriously sunny day any justice, at all, but I have them just the same.

Every once in a while though, I see the photo results from not wanting to take off our gloves for photo shoots as in this one my son took below.

I can't say I blamed him at all as any exposed flesh became frosty frozen instantly once gloves were removed.

We thought at one point we could line up and duck in here to warm up for a bit but it was actually just as cold inside the tent!

It was well worth our efforts to keep warm, jumping up and down in the lineup because these ice carvings were something else! Here are a few of our favorites;

Team Canada player, goalie and net.

Olympic game circles on stand.

Penguins playing a game of curling.

And then, back outside we went...

C-O-L-D! The wind whipped off the icy surface of what once was the lake. I can't express just HOW COLD it was with that added feature, colder than one could dress for in a normal and casual attire.

Even freezing during this moment, he didn't think to put on his hat.
Notice her scarf flapping in the wind? FREEZING!

We thought we would be warm enough, not so. Long john underwear, heated boots and hats, those items may have added a bit of winter warmth to our cold blood.

As you can see though in the photo below, we WERE bundled up in some nordic wear under our jackets, thinking it warm enough at first! We just hadn't counted on the wind factor whipping across that prairie like lake surface.
I laughed at me without a hat (forgot it) and everyone else with one.

My ears took a long while to thaw, silly me for thinking of everything (camera in pocket, cell phone in other pocket, fluffy warm Olympic gloves,) the works but I forgot a hat! And if you notice everyone else surrounding me had one on! Ugh, I paid dearly for this mistake this day.

There were a few times I had to cover my face with my gloves just to walk back to our vehicle a few blocks away.
Needless to say - we were uncomfortable! Very cold. Sunglasses were necessary from the glare the sun provided, however even though they were shielded from the wind - even our eyes were cold!

Several food shacks were located around all of the activity venues, however lines began to cease as each vendor ran out of hot beverages to serve their customers. We were out of luck, not even hot chocolate could be found when we were most frozen cold.

At the end of our time at the ice festival, we concluded we all did in fact enjoy seeing the sights, that's for sure.

People in the eastern parts of the country really know HOW to enjoy a winter playground outdoors. We really need to learn from them after noticing how folks were dressed this day. It's no wonder people here have heated boots, and wear heated pads inside their gloves and boots, even inside of their hats.

I suppose, deep down mentally we are still thinking in terms of the westcoast and must get in the groove on winter life in the east. It is definitely time to invest in even warmer winter gear.