Winterfest gets started today, injecting bit of summer into winter

Eric McCarthy
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WOODSTOCK – Have you had enough of winter yet? Well, the Up West Winterfest has some summer-themed events planned, even if they are played in the snow.

Up West Winterfest volunteer Alfred Pineau lays down a flood on the Mill River Provincial Park's outdoor rink Thursday in anticipation of extensive use during the opening weekend of the 10-day winter festival, which runs January 10 to 17.

Take snow golf, for example. The objective is the same but a different ball, one that’s easier to find in the snow, is used, and the greens are … white.

A nine-hole snow golf tournament will be held in the snow on the Mill River Provincial Golf Course this Saturday and Sunday There will also be a longest drive competition Saturday afternoon.

There’s also a snow pitch – that’s slow pitch but in the snow – ball tournament near the Provincial Parks West office. It starts Sunday morning.

Of course there are lots of events that are all about celebrating winter in the wintertime.

Another special event on the opening weekend of the 10-day (Jan. 10-19) Up West Winterfest, is a resolution run. It will start and end at the Rodd Mill River Resort this Saturday. Runners are welcome to write their New Year’s resolution on their race bib for the 10 a.m. race.

Up West Winterfest is the provincial community events kickoff to PEI2014 celebrations. PEI2014 is a funding partner.

The Rodd Mill River Resort and Mill River Provincial Park play host to several festival events, including the Winter Feast, an evening of culinary and musical delights this Friday, and Winter Blast, an outdoor concert and an indoor after party on Saturday, January 18. Winter Blast features Dennis Ellsworth, Meaghan Blanchard and Whitney Rose and the after party features Dylan Menzie, Robyn McRae and Julie Arsenault.

Ticket sales for the signature events are moving well, reports festival coordinator, Courtney McCue.

The resort complex hosts an outdoor fun center throughout the festival with discounted rental rates. There’s skiing, snowshoeing, skating and sliding. A second sliding hill is being added to accommodate the anticipated crowds.

The municipalities of Alberton, Tignish and O’Leary are also host communities for the festival with many community-based events planned.

There’s a fireworks show at the Mill River Resort following Winter Blast, and the Rodd Resort hosts a Winterfest brunch on the festival’s final day.

Organizations: Mill River Resort, Rodd Resort

Geographic location: Iceland, Mill River

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