The weather is no obstacle for a winter festival in Fort Qu’Appelle.
The 2016 Fort Winter Festival kicks off Friday with abnormally warm conditions expected all across southern Saskatchewan.
“(The warm weather) doesn’t really affect us a whole lot,” volunteer Brian Janz told News Talk Radio. “Most of our activities happen on the lake, and usually every year we’re spending days cleaning the snow off the lake, so we definitely don’t have to clean any snow this year at all.”
Janz said there’s no concern about the ice being too thin on Echo Lake.
“The ice is probably a couple feet thick and we have graters and heavy equipment out here even today (Thursday) here just doing some work and stuff.”
Janz added in the four years he has been part of the festival, he’s never seen it this warm. He’s hopeful more people will attend with temperatures expected to be so high.
“I just hope people don’t look at their front yard and think that there’s no snow so there can’t be a winter festival. There is a winter festival and it doesn’t really affect us at all not having snow.”
Regina could even break a record Friday as the temperature is expected to reach 12 degrees. According to Environment Canada’s website, the current record for Feb. 26 is 8.9 degrees set in 1932. The average maximum temperature is -4.4 degrees.
An added attraction to this year’s event might be the presence of Rick Mercer. The host of the Rick Mercer Report will be filming an episode from the festival Saturday and Sunday.
Janz said Mercer will participate in various activities, although which ones were not confirmed as of Thursday.
“It seems to have created quite a bit of excitement, so I’m looking forward to having him coming out and just confirmed a few things today here and he’s excited to come out and try a few activities and stuff and check out the valley,” Janz said.
The festival is a three-day event which includes activities like sleigh rides, snowmobile shootout, motorcycle races, a big air snowboarding competition, a polar bear dip, a fire building contest, an ice fishing tournament, and fireworks. For a full list of events, visit fortwinterfestival.com
The festival begins Friday evening and concludes Sunday.