Although the thermometer says it’s cold enough and the calendar indicates that this season is indeed “winter,” some who relish the time of year of frosty breezes and drifting powder may be hesitant to celebrate at this point in this somewhat snow-deficit year.
But none of this discourages the organizers and fans of Rossland’s venerable 117 year-old winter celebration. As far as they are concerned, carnival is on.
“There are five keys to a successful Winter Carnival,” said Lisa Wegner, director of media for the Rossland Winter Carnival committee. “Sponsorship, volunteers, participants, spectators, and snow.”
While corporate and community sponsorship for the celebration is at a healthy level and the participants and spectators have never presented a problem, Wegner says the volunteer base is a little thin this year.
“We could really use more help in some areas this year, particularly people with Serving it Right certification for working at the Olaus Ice Palace,” she said. “Even if they can only commit to one or two hours it would really help.”
For the snow requirement of the festival the City of Rossland has stepped up to the plate and is trucking in as much of the white stuff as is necessary to keep the entertainment and competitions going over the four days of the carnival.
“Even with a lack of snow Rossland is pretty resourceful at bringing it in,” Wegner said. “We’re really grateful that the city includes this as part of their budget for the celebration. Some years it’s not as necessary but it’s great that they can help with that.”
Along with many of the annual favourites at the carnival, the Friday night parade at 6:30, Saturday morning bobsled races starting at 9:30 a.m., and the Queen street rail jam all day, there is more live music than has been seen in previous years with entertainment Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at both Rafters lounge at Red Mountain and the Blizzard Music Festival at the Flying Steam Shovel, including a number of recording artists making their debut in the area.
In addition to this, popular Fernie ski-groove folkies, Shred Kelly will be performing at the Olaus Ice Palace Friday evening and the Rossland Skatepark Association are presenting live music at the Miners Hall Saturday night.
An important new addition this year is the free shuttle service that will be running throughout the weekend between the Prestige Hotel and Red Mountain, providing a safe ride for celebrants between the ski hill and town centre.
For the younger set the world famous Slocan Valley ice sculpture team will be constructing an ice slide in front of the Rossland Library, kids can get free hot dogs and hot chocolate at the Post-Parade Extravaganza Friday evening, GT racing on Spokane street Saturday, and a kids Carnival Sunday at the Lions campground presented by the West Kootenay Snogoers.
“We’re trying to step it up a bit this year and there’s been great buy-in by many of the sponsors and participants,” said Wegner. “We hope everybody comes out and joins us for the fun.”
For a look at the full schedule of activities or to volunteer to help out with the carnival go to www.rosslandwintercarnival.com.