Winterfest in Portage la Prairie is going the extra mile this year by having a six-day event.
Lorna Knight is Community Engagement Coordinator at Portage Community Revitalization Corporation and says it all begins today.
"It is going to be at La Verendrye School (LVS) on 7th Ave. NW," says Knight. "It's running from 12:00 p.m. until 3:00 p.m. We're going to have free hot dogs, free hot chocolate and cookies. There's going to be cedar tea, bannock, bouncy castles, face painting, dog sleds, and snowshoeing. We have a lot of different things that are going on. We're going to be inside in the gym as well as outside at LVS."
Events take place each day as the week continues.
"Instead of just one day, we've actually added enough events to it that it, more or less, runs for six full days, as well as the scavenger hunt that runs through the entire time. Monday night is a cultural tea and refreshments, and a birthday cake event. It is the 116th birthday of Portage la Prairie that day, and so we are going to be serving some cultural coffees, teas and hot chocolates at the library. There is pre-registration required for that one, but it is a free event."
Valentine's Day is in the middle of the festivities, and they've taken that into consideration.
"On Tuesday night, we have a Valentine's Skate which is going to be happening at the Crescent," says Knight. "It is a free event. There's no registration required for that and it is just a drop-in time with cookies and hot chocolate that are provided for free. It runs from 4:30 till 6."
Wednesday brings a time of family bingo.
"It's going to be run out of the Trinity United gym -- the church gym -- and we're doing that with the Family Resource Centre, and the Girl Guides are actually helping us out with that, as well," continues Knight. "That's a free event where we're limited to the first 100 individuals that attend that event. But we're doing a bingo, there's going to be prizes and it'll be a great time."
Knight adds Thursday showcases a free movie that is already sold out.
"All the tickets have already been spoken for, but there is going to be a free movie showing of Ice Age at the Prairie City Cinema," says Knight. "I have a lengthy waitlist. And then Friday, PRRA is having their regular public swim. They are offering special Winterfest pricing for families. So, instead of it being $30.00 for a family of five, it's only $20.00, and that will be during the entire length of the public swim, which I believe is from 4:30 till 8."
She notes this makes one event for each of the six days.
"Individuals who have things that they're doing on a Sunday afternoon, that can't attend the one event, have an opportunity to attend multiple other events as their schedules allow throughout the week," adds Knight. "We tried to mix it up, too, to have some indoor and some outdoor activities because we know not everybody is capable of doing both, and then there are ages of children and families to consider. We definitely are trying to accommodate everyone, so we've tried to mix it up by having the outdoor Winterfest and then the outdoor skating, but balancing it with the indoor Bingo."
Knight says they'll see how things go, to know whether or not they will do the same thing next year, and PortageOnline will share a wrap-up story afterward.
"The goal for us, right now, is to see which events are well-attended and well-received, to make sure we continue to offer those, but leaving it open that if events don't go over as well as we think, that we have an opportunity to bring in other ideas. We may have to fill those evenings with something that's popular for the community."